Counterculture artist inspired by the depth and beauty of her environment
By Melissa Braithwaite
Photos by Julian Foglietti
Photography. Painting. Street art. Glassblowing. Building restoration. You can’t put Addison Jones’s work in a box; she will bust right out with something innovative and unexpected.
The multidisciplinary artist, 30, from Delaware, Ohio, had a fruitful creative streak during the beginning of the global pandemic, resulting in her renovating a studio and gallery space, creating enough works of art for an exhibition, and showing them to her hometown fans for the first time. She also documented the journey on social media.
When the owner of Son of Thurman in downtown Delaware was renovating the top two floors of the building, he came to Jones for some advice about what to do with the space.
“I thought, holy shit! I could do a whole gallery here,” Jones said. That’s when she got to work.
The seasoned photographer had worked professionally for years in wedding, travel, and commercial photography. Painting was always more of a hobby, something she said she does “because it’s close to my heart and something that I love personally.” But then the art school dropout started painting pictures of her photographs and she developed the concept for her most recent exhibition. You could say it’s meta.
“There’s so much that goes into it,” she explained. First, she created the studio and gallery space, renovating it to meet her needs and satisfy her vision. Then she created a photoshoot, hand-picking each model.
“I like characters when looking at models,” she said. “You look at them and just know there’s more to them. I want to be able to pull out that depth. To me, adding that depth within the photos adds more to a painting.”
Next she photographed her subjects (in the renovated space), chose the most powerful images, and re-created them into paintings (in the same space). Finally, she exhibited those paintings on the walls of that space, where she conceived all of the work.
She made that space her own during the beginning of the pandemic and subsequent stay-at-home orders and it served as a muse in and of itself. Maybe that’s because Jones’s work has a way of absorbing her environment.
“The place that I lived (when I was learning to paint) had no running water, so I had to learn to paint without much water,” Jones said. “I actually do that with my painting now; I don’t clean my brushes. I’m such a product of my environment.”
The resulting artworks are multi-faceted, layered, and thought-provoking. If you’re wondering what the words mean on her paintings, please do not ask the artist.
“I paint for release. When I am really pent up and processing something, I do it. So it’s essentially my diary. Then I try to hide the words so you can’t see them. I don’t ever read the words ever again. It’s like a time or place in my life when I release, let it go and then don’t ever want to read it again. Who wants to go back and read that?”
Not only do the words add texture, layered meaning, and design elements, but they also showcase Jones’s street art aesthetic.
“I come from a street art background,” she said. “My boyfriend used to be into graffiti and I was really into street art. I would learn the style when I was younger and I got so inspired by the culture of skating and snowboarding and stuff like that.”
She said she was drawn to the edginess of the sub-culture. “They don’t give a fuck and they do what they feel like.”
The street-art inspo is apparent in Jones’s work. Her paintings are often contrasting black and white; and when color is added, it’s typically metallic. But Jones isn’t about to complete a painting until it is filled with complexities.
“All of my paintings are essentially experiments,” Jones said. “Some of them glow in the dark, and some change colors. I created paint that does that. I’m pretty minimal, but my paintings are very complex. They are layer upon layer.”
The artist has developed a new affinity for glassblowing, something that she thinks will take her art in new and exciting directions. Jones is working on a line of glassware to provide clients with functional art at a good price point, she said. She still plans to try new painting techniques and focus on more experiential photography, with the goal of continuing to foster her love of globetrotting and create work that sparks emotion and showcases the places she travels.
“Through my work, I wanted to spark hope and excitement during such a stagnant time.”
See more about Addison Jones’s work at addisongjones.com.