Senclaire has been idle lately when it comes to interviewing artists who draw, paint, or involve themselves in any form of traditional art. And you’re probably awestruck with the fact that I’m finally back with another interview for y’all. Jonathan Pinto (like the bean) is an upcoming painter straight out of Texas who decided to take time out of his overloaded schedule to speak with us about himself and the growth behind his work.
Who are you?
My name is Jonathan Pinto, I’m 20 years old, and I grew up in Saginaw, Texas, just north of Fort Worth.
Are you currently attending college? Thoughts about the experience?
I currently go to the University of North Texas, I currently study Communication Design and I think it’s been a really great experience. I know a lot of artists like to think you don’t learn anything in art class, but this semester I really felt myself grow. I love being around a community of people determined to improve themselves, no matter what they study at university. Growth is incredibly important to me, and university has really granted it to me.
When did you first start painting?
I first started painting about a year and a half ago during my senior year of high school. I’ve been making art for as long as I can remember, and to me painting seemed like the logical conclusion. I had used markers, colored pencils, and other media, but I always thought that paint was the ultimate. When I go to museums I see paintings, and I want to see myself in a museum one day.
Any influences you look up to?
I’m incredibly ignorant to older artists actually. I think I’m more influenced by the art I see on my timeline everyday and the colors I see in the world. If I had to say, I would go with Edvard Munch (left & right), his style of painting and subject matter really says something to me. I want to be able to express myself as well as he does. But really what influences me the most is my life experiences and the feelings that come with them.
What piece of yours would you say is your favorite?
That would either have to be “Girls Own the Void”, or “Fidelity”. Those are pieces I did purely for myself, no rappers, no commissions, just me and how I felt. Not only do I love the color schemes, but I really appreciate what these pieces mean to me, but more importantly what they could possibly mean to others.
What’s your interpretation behind “Fidelity”?
It’s about being with someone, yet thinking about everyone else you could be with. Different girls, girls I don’t know, girls I want to know. As an artist it’s hard to not see the beauty in every girl I see, which makes it hard to love just one person without looking around. Thus, fidelity. But really, it’s about whatever the viewer thinks it’s about. That’s why I make art, because every piece will mean something different to everyone. It’s not about why I made it, to me it’s about how it influences the audience.
What do you spend your free time doing besides painting?
I spend a lot of time doing class work and running my website, but I’m probably mentally planning a new piece at all times. Friends and girls also take up a big chunk of my days, I’m very personable.
Where do you see yourself after college?
I’m not really sure yet. I can’t see myself just working a job, I’d love to be doing bigger things by then. The dream is to get out of school and not have the need to use my degree, I know it’s a pipe dream but I’d love to make art my career in all forms. One day I want to make films, maybe even music. I love every form of media, and I’d like to contribute to all of them.
How personal is painting to you?
Incredibly personal! I think something I really value in my paintings is my large brush strokes, because you can see them. Each individual stroke is from me, a movement of my hand, a personal signature across every inch of canvas. They remind me of the process, the hours I spend turning white canvas into something beautiful. It’s very personal in that sense, because it’s all me even at the smallest level.
What’s a guesstimate amount of time it takes you to complete a painting?
My paintings usually take a day to three days. I know that sounds pretty quick but I promise you it’s grueling haha. I like to spend all day on paintings because I’m impatient and can’t wait to see it done, so I’ll just wake up and know that I’m painting that day. I’ll probably do an eye, a mouth, or fill in some color, then step away for a couple of minutes to look at it, decide where to go next, and take a quick break. It’s incredibly mentally taxing honestly, mixing colors, making sure I’m achieving what I want. That requires frequent breaks. I don’t have any unfinished paintings for that reason, I just focus in and finish on every one. Once the idea hits and I’m confident in it, it will probably be on canvas by the end of the week.
You mind sharing any upcoming projects you have cooking up?
I would if I had any! Like I said, once I get the composition together I just go and do it so I don’t have anything in progress right now. But I have some models lined up that I’m really looking forward to working with, so stay tuned.
Where do you find your references for your paintings?
I usually stumble upon pictures I want to use on twitter or the internet, and try to reach out to the photographer to let them know. I used to work from my own photos mostly, but it’s been a while and I’m excited to get back to that. Usually I ask girls I know to model for me, friends or soon to be friends whose face I like or think would fit the mood or aesthetic of the piece. It’s really great being an artist because of that, I get to meet a lot of cool people!
Advice to all artists?
Remember that this takes time. I didn’t wake up one day and paint this well, I’ve been growing as an artist for years. Find the medium that suits you and practice and one day you’ll master it. It’s easy to think your as good as you’ll ever get, but I promise you there’s always room for improvement. I’m still getting better, trying to make every piece better than the last. Keep progressing. Oh, and for the love of god do your background.