Saturday, December 16, 2017

'Parade of Imbeciles' - final reveal!

'Parade of Imbeciles', acrylic on wood panel, 36"x24" (40"x28" including the frame)


Unlike real life Homers such as NASA engineer, Homer Hickam, activist, Homer Plessy, or much further back, Homer, the great Greek author and poet of The Illiad; the fictional cartoon character, Homer Simpson, is not readily associated with wisdom. His mental alertness is quite the opposite. (Attributing that, along with his massive pop culture notoriety, it is no wonder there have been few males born named 'Homer' since the animated family's 1987 television debut.)

However, there is a moment where he spouted something quite profound on an episode of THE SIMPSON'S I will always remember. It is an episode in season 2 called 'Dead Putting Society'. To feel better than his well liked neighbor and rival, Ned Flanders,  Homer trains his son, Bart, to win a mini golf tournament against Ned's son, Todd, to so he can feel superior than Ned. When prompted by his wife, Marge, about how serious he's taking Bart's training, he proclaims:

"Because sometimes  the only way you can feel good about yourself is by making someone else look bad. And I'm tired of making other people feel good about themselves."




In his moment of fleeting wisdom, he unearthed something fundamentally human: it is empowering to feel better than others. This mindset is still adopted by many today when we disparage someone widely known to behave stupidly in an effort to feel superior and bond with others over the fact that we're not stupid.

Thus, the primary function of cartoon characters is to make us feel better about ourselves. Since cartoon characters don't actually exist, they are permissible and ideal targets of ridicule. This is a form of vicarious living. Seeing characters perform unintelligent acts that would be fun to participate in, without us having to live with compromised egos. (Albeit, if you do take things to the extreme, you can always posthumously earn yourself a Darwin award. An esteem for individuals who inadvertently lose their lives from acts of stupidity.) A cartoon characters actions, however outlandish, are inspired by reality. A reality inhabited by people. People do stupid things, but it's inaccurate to call someone stupid because nobody is stupid 100% of the time. Yet, everyone is inept at something. The idea of combining so many cartoon characters designed for stupor into a united visual felt like something I needed to tackle. In the world we reside in today, the theme seems increasingly relevant.



The word imbecile belongs to a classification system of grading intelligence. On the scale, the word ranks second last. 'Idiot' being the lowest possible entry. A new born baby, with it's insufficient comprehension, is technically an idiot by this measure. These classifications have become derogatory over time. The offense occurs when you feel authorized to treat people immorally who fit into lower cognitive levels than you. I remember having a conversation with my Mother, who works with special needs children, if she thought the Disney Dwarf, Dopey, was an exploitation on the mentally challenged community. (His very name - the only one he's ever referred to - is pejorative.)  Individuals in this demographic certainly do not exist for the objective as comedic marks, but such an idea would have been more permissible during the film's contemporary release.

As we can see in the image, the characters are marching along towards an unknown mecca. In the distance looms a great storm that is making contact with a satellite dish on a perilous hilltop. The satellite dish represents the global reach of the internet and how frequently, the most widely shared content is delegated to the realm of stupor.  Solemn empathy does not enjoy the same scalable growth on the internet the way trivial videos of dancing cats do. Is that stupidity, displaced priorities, or both?



 A cartoon character's itinerary offer us instant gratification because their actions don't require explaining. We have the ability to think and exist in a world of increasing complexity. Perhaps we're searching for things to be simpler so we don't exhaust ourselves. Our cognitive energy is finite and must be recovered. Enjoying "stupid" material allows us to not expend so much of it and feel superior in the process.

A 'messiah' of sorts accompanies this cartoon formation via a parade balloon modeled after the mascot from the popular 'FOR DUMMIES' book series which simplify innumerable topics. Each character has also brought along an object with them on this trek to serve their disposition. (Some notable props include a hydrogen bomb, an old television, a protest sign forbidding thinking and a whoopee cushion.) As they march en masse, I'm reminded of a quote by mastermind comedian, George Carlin:

"Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups."  



The distant storm and eerie green atmosphere underscores this foreboding danger. What may seem innocent and harmless singularly, becomes collectively dangerous.  

I am a painter and what that means is I create images predominantly using the medium of paint. The objective of an image is to make you remember that you have seen it. If this image has communicated with another human, that is a success. I spend a large portion of my time trying to comprehend human nature. There is lots I still don't understand, but my bewilderment in the matter has provided me with an endless stream of ideas for paintings. Either way, the march continues. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a parade to attend to.

-Jono Doiron

Montreal, October 2017


Like this?? STILL want to know more??

Why not pick up one of the few remaining copies of the book to see the entire process of the painting from start to finish?

Pick up your signed copy here!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Chaotic Utopia Magazine


Online art publication, Chaotic Utopian Mag published an interview with me about the themes and influence of my art. Thanks for the kind words! You can read the interview here: 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Tex Avery tribute


Animation director, Tex Avery (1901-1980), is, has been, and always will be one of my strongest influences. His contribution to the animation art form is undeniable and he is credited as the second most influential animation director, after of course Walt Disney.  His cartoons present a level of hysteria greatly imitated, but yet to be paralleled (in my opinion). Two notable feature films that pay tribute to his legacy are 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' (1988) and 'The Mask' (1994). 


After infusing his brand of humor into the Looney Tunes lexicon at Warner Brothers, he relocated to MGM where he really let loose.  This painting is influenced by some of his cartoons from this period (such as the Wolf & Red cartoons, 'Red Hot Riding Hood' (1943), 'Swing Shift Cinderella' (1945), 'Little Rural Riding Hood' (1949) and also features the characters Droopy and the Cop from 'Who Killed Who?' (1943)).


The Wolf (Avery never gave him an official name) and his lustful, ogling, chasing, harassing, kidnapping and overall violations of consent ways, are behavioral traits that will get you arrested in the real world pretty quickly. In the cartoons, the Wolf is the personification of unrestrained lust and here he has met his due consequences. (Sobering, isn't it?*)      

To be honest, there was some ambivalence on my end if I should paint this image. I comprehend some women experience harassment on a frequent basis and I'm not insinuating their unwanted receptions are comedic. There are also places in the world where variations of abuse are still not met with any lawful intervention. Yet, I'm compelled to share images that highlight my influences and that doesn't always involve generic paintings locked in an unobtrusive realm. With serious topics, my concern is always the line between addressing and exploiting. How did I do? You tell me.


For one week every September, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, becomes the center of the animation world with the Ottawa InternationalAnimation Festival (this year, September 20-24). The painting is for an art show unofficially aligned with the festival, celebrating Saturday morning cartoons and animation love! Big thanks to Joel MacKenzie and the team at JamFilled for putting the exhibition together! You can see all the works in person at Oz Kafe starting TONIGHT, Wednesday, September 20th. The show will remain up for a month. Click here for the facebook event info.

'Taming The Wolf'
acrylic on wood panel
10"x8" (image)
11.75"x9.75" (including frame)
$ Look, you work hard and you deserve to celebrate your life with original art that speaks to you. If this painting appeals to your tastes, contact me, and we'll bring it into alignment for you. Acquiring art doesn't have to be complicated.

*Also an Avery reference. In many of his cartoons, he would embed signs that spoke directly to the audience such as: 'Spooky, isn't it?', 'Noisy, isn't it?', 'Exciting, isn't it?'...


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Animation art show in Ottawa next week


If you live in or will be visiting Ottawa next week, join us for Cerealism - The Saturday Morning Cartoon Art Show! Featuring original works for sale by top animation artists! The event is organized by Jam Filled animation studio and will serve as the unofficial kick off party to the Ottawa International Animation Festival. The opening fun is happening next Wednesday September 20th at Oz Kafe

Thursday, July 20, 2017

What do you call it?

Ever wonder how I come up with titles for my paintings? This is a method I use when I am stuck that may help you as well.


Do you like to read outside this time of year? I do. (In fact I went to the park, and did some reading today.)

It got me thinking: what's in a title?

Saturday, May 13, 2017

detailed new painting + exclusive art book + exhibition


My Indiegogo campaign is NOW LIVE! Click here for more info!

Want to get involved in my painting process and see my new large detailed painting get created from start to finish? Want an exclusive copy of a new book that will show all the states of the process? Want to attend an exhibit where you can see all the work in person?

Click here to find out all the details!


Monday, March 20, 2017

Till The End - the reveal

So here at last - in it's entirety - is the final acrylic painting 'Till The End'. If you made it to The Artist Project art fair in Toronto, you would have gotten to see this piece in person. Of all the original works in my booth - this one was by far the most popular painting.



THE STORY: 

The idea for this painting was inspired by a documentary I saw about the ecosystem Big Cypress National Preserve ('Big Cypress Swamp: The Western Everglades', 2009, directed by Elam Stolzfus). Though I have yet to visit in person, it's visuals lingered in my mind as such a mystical place. I wanted to convey that mood as well as nod to the documentary's conservation efforts (it has been declared as a National Preserve since 1974). The painting serves as a cumulative environmental parable.



The central figure is Kermit the frog, (who most closely resembles a Green Tree Frog, a native species of the swamp) is depicted as a sage in the image who has sworn to protect his habitat. I chose a frog because according to National Park Service: "Amphibians tend to be highly sensitive to environmental changes, for that reason scientists often use them to determine the overall health of an area." He holds a book labeled 'nisi' - the Latin word for 'unless'. It is a reference to my favorite Dr. Seuss book, 'The Lorax' (the celestial character appearing in the smoke) and law. In law, a decree nisi, a ruling that will become absolute unless evidence is presented as to why it should not pass prior to a certain date. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decree_nisi

The title is borrowed from the Yann Tiersen song of the same name from his 2010 'Dust Lane' album (listen to it while looking at the painting for best impact). 

Amazingly, the original painting is still available! Contact me if you're interested.

'Till The End'
acrylic on masonite
22.25"x19.25" (including frame)
$ for sale

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

In need of a Crazy Minute? I am.

So how are you feeling today? Superb? Or just a shade above normal? Perhaps what you need is a crazy minute! 

'Awaiting Crazy Minute', acylic on masonite, 13"x14.5" (including frame)

An aid to getting through the lesser fun parts of life is spending time being silly.

Years ago, I created such a silly break with my youngest sister (who was much younger at the time) called 'crazy minute'. Crazy minute is the last minute of every hour (9:59, 10:59, 11:59, etc...). At every crazy minute, you would do a dance, wave your arms up, do gymnastics, or some enthusiastic variation over the next 60 seconds to recuperate your energy. 

Visually, the panting is made to look tranquil with lighting based on the late afternoon sun beaming in. Typically, it is a lazy time of the day when there's still work to be done and less interesting things seem to happen. Cuckoo clocks are quiet until every minute of the new hour when the silence is abruptly broken. And that is the whole point of crazy minute - it's meant to disrupt stagnancy.


Have tickets to the art fair yet?? If not, click here or the image above to receive a discount on regular admission tickets.  


See you in  just over 2 weeks! Stay creative,
 
-Jono





Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Huckleberries

Wow! The Artist Project art fair I've been preparing for in Toronto is now less than a month away! I hope you are planning to come. (If you still don't have tickets yet, click the header image above for a discount on regular admission tickets.) 

I want to share another painting I did for the upcoming event with you:


                                           Huckleberries, acrylic on masonite,
                                    8"x10" (image) 13.5"x15.5" (including frame) 



There is a George Carlin routine where he talks about how there is no blue food that isn't naturally occurring. (And YES, he mentions blueberries aren't actually blue. Well, yes & no: they appear blue before consumption, but once you put them in a recipe they turn a distinct purple or a lavender color.) Huckleberry Hound is blue (cyan if you want to be specific), and not actually the same color as huckleberries. I think of blue food as some sort of mythical treat said to exist, but no-one has ever seen or tasted... 




You probably wouldn't have believed me, but the customized ornate frame came after I already completed the painting! 

The frame directly above was the first frame I put it in. I customized it and it did suit the job, but later on I came across the other frame with the berry motif. It was PERFECT - as if it was made for that painting! 

I removed it from the previous frame - after it had already been mounted and everything. I thought it would be cool to show you the difference. Can't wait to show you the painting in person!  


See you next month! Stay creative,

-Jono

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Taking responsibility

Here is the final painting of 'Responsibility'. (I finished it up before the end of the year, but had to wait after the holiday to get it scanned.) 

'Responsibility'acrylic on wood panel, 12"x16" (framed)


The subject matter of this painting was inspired by a quote from neurologist and psychiatrist, Dr. Viktor Frankl: 


"Freedom, however, is not the last word. Freedom is only part of the story and half of the truth. Freedom is but the negative aspect of the whole phenomenon whose positive aspect is responsibleness. In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness. That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast." 

Viktor Frankl was also the founder of logotherapy - a theory holding the belief that human nature is motivated by the search for a life purpose. -

The Peter Pan statue in the painting (which mirrors the poise of the Statue of Liberty) holds a story book (instead of a tablet) that reads 'PUER AETERNUS' - Latin for 'Eternal Boy'. This is also a term in psychology to describe an individual (mostly attributed to adult males, but not necessarily gender specific) who has remained socially immature. -

The more we age, the more responsibilities we inherit. When I think about the fictional character, Peter Pan, I see him as synonymous with irresponsibly in his efforts to protest adulthood due to his residence in a fantasy land where he never ages. This disdain would also counter Frankl's logotherapy theory as one can not learn what our purpose is if we do not give ourselves an opportunity to discover what we can become. The spiraling galleon on the right has sailed from Neverland only to go out of control with the crew's inability to navigate in a world with accountability. 

The painting will be for sale next month at Toronto's 2017
The Artist Project art fair

















Sunday, January 01, 2017

Happy New Year!


Happy 2017! I hope you and your friends had a wonderful holiday.


I've had a very productive year (2016) and have made what I feel are some of my best paintings to date. (All the images above are new paintings that were made this year. Since it's 2016, I thought I'd do a recap of the best 16 images.) While I do receive a lot of enjoyment in creating art, I retain equal enjoyment in seeing the response my work has on others. Making images is a way I've chosen to communicate with individuals and I'm honored that you're one of them. 


I look forward to sharing more new art with you this year and hope you will join me in February for the 2017 The Artist Project in Toronto.

-Jono