Jonathan

Paintings

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A few samples of my work:

Pensive.jpg

"Pensive"

Acrylic and Colored Pencil on Art Board

© 1999 Jonathan R. Smith

http://static.flickr...e3730bf5a_o.jpg

Resolve.jpg

"Resolve"

Oil on Board

© 2002 Jonathan R. Smith

http://static.flickr...e8a3750bf_o.jpg

Azaleas.jpg

"Azaleas"

Oil on Board

© 2004 Jonathan R. Smith

http://static.flickr...ec442692f_o.jpg

GT.jpg

"GT"

Oil on Canvas (detail of a portrait in progress)

© 2006 Jonathan R. Smith

http://static.flickr...99af38788_o.jpg

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Oh my god! Those are exquisite. I don't give ecstatic comments easily. Where can I see more of your work? Where can I buy your work?

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Jesus Christ, Johnathan, this is romantic realism in the visual realm…you make me feel like an curmudgeon nihilist. :hmm:

Damn, you are talented.

Edited by Victor Pross

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Wow. Something we can agree on. Great work, I'd like to see more!

Shayne

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Wow.

You've been holding out on us, J. Those are simply gorgeous. Thanks for sharing your paintings.

Kat

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Thank you all for your comments. I deeply appreciate them.

I've very rarely shared my work in Objectivist forums for a variety of reasons -- one of the primary ones being that Objectivist forums are populated with Objectivists, if you know what I mean. ;-) But I feel more at home on OL. Most people here seem to lack the hyper-zealot-Objecti-Nazi attitude toward art. Perhaps it's because there's a higher percentage of serious creative types here than elsewhere, and a deeper understanding and respect for the complexity of the creative process and the diversity of expressions and tastes.

Anyway, thanks again for the positive responses. I'll post more of my work now and then, and at some point I'll provide links for anyone interested in purchasing originals or Giclées .

J

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I'm curious as to what fora you've been in touch with.

(Like your paintings)

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I'm curious as to what fora you've been in touch with.

SOLOYahoo!, SOLOHQ, RoR and a variety of other mostly Yahoo-based groups that have popped up and faded away over the years.

(Like your paintings)

Thank you.

J

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(Note from Administrator: This post has been copied to another thread. It is also now here.)

I've very rarely shared my work in Objectivist forums for a variety of reasons -- one of the primary ones being that Objectivist forums are populated with Objectivists, if you know what I mean. ;-) But I feel more at home on OL. Most people here seem to lack the hyper-zealot-Objecti-Nazi attitude toward art. Perhaps it's because there's a higher percentage of serious creative types here than elsewhere, and a deeper understanding and respect for the complexity of the creative process and the diversity of expressions and tastes.

I can see Victor making such a comment given his art (I think his "curmudgeon nihilist" remark isn't so far off the mark). I have no idea why you'd make it, the stuff you've shown here would fit in well at http://www.cordair.com for instance.

Shayne

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I've very rarely shared my work in Objectivist forums for a variety of reasons -- one of the primary ones being that Objectivist forums are populated with Objectivists, if you know what I mean. ;-) But I feel more at home on OL. Most people here seem to lack the hyper-zealot-Objecti-Nazi attitude toward art. Perhaps it's because there's a higher percentage of serious creative types here than elsewhere, and a deeper understanding and respect for the complexity of the creative process and the diversity of expressions and tastes.

I can see Victor making such a comment given his art (I think his "curmudgeon nihilist" remark isn't so far off the mark). I have no idea why you'd make it, the stuff you've shown here would fit in well at http://www.cordair.com for instance.

Shayne

Well, if you can't think of any unsolicited advice that you might presume to e-mail me on how my work doesn't conform to proper Objectivist aesthetic principles (why you think my work is naturalism, why it expresses a horrible sense of life and muddled epistemology, why it reveals that I'm all sorts of bad things, etc.) then that's probably a good thing. I haven't always been so lucky in the past.

But it's not primarily an issue of how Objectivists have responded to my art, but how many of them approach art in general. If you like art that they don't, it's seen as evidence that there's something seriously philosophically wrong with you. You'll be instructed that you need to raise your standards and stop helping the evil destroyers. You see, the world is going to end if people are inspired by, say, rock music rather than opera. To like rock is to spit on the greatness of opera. If you're uplifted by a painter whom another Objectivist doesn't have much respect for, the important thing is not that you're uplifted, but that you're guilty of trying to tear down greatness by glorifying mediocrity. There's no room for differences of opinion. If an Objectivist Cultural Warrior interprets a painting as having a negative meaning, then you are wrong to interpret it as having a positive meaning. The art is evil, end of story, and it says a lot about you that you defend it.

Most people, including non-Objectivists, have very strong opinions about art. But, in my experience, hardly anyone outside of Objectivist circles believes that they can know a person's philosophy, sense of life, or morality based on the art that he or she creates or enjoys.

Consider this: In the forums that I mentioned in an earlier post, I had pretty much limited myself to discussions on aesthetics and art. I intentionally avoided other aspects of philosophy. People who had no idea about my views on metaphysics, epistemology, ethics or politics nevertheless accused me of believing in all sorts of evil things, of being anti-Objectivist, of being a postmodernist scumbag, etc., simply because I often defended art that they hated (I should add, art that they often hated without having taken the time to actually ponder its possible meanings or its purely aesthetic merits). It's very common for Objectivists to pride themselves on judging others based on the art that they enjoy (or create) while ignoring the reasons given for enjoying it.

J

P.S. Forgive the rambling rant-like nature of this post. I didn't have time to edit it down and give it the tone that I'd prefer it to have.

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Jonathan,

Just a quick comment for now: A lot of Objectivists might think they can determine a person's philosophy from their art but they lack the ability to actually do it right. That's a mistake. It's also a mistake to say that you can't learn something about a person from the art they like or create, including learning something about their philosophy.

There's a lot of Objectivists out there of both the intrinsicist and subjectivist variety, and they definitely set each other off. Then there are the few who really get it, and set both off as well. It's kind of like how conservatives see us as liberals, and liberals see us as conservative. That happens within the movement too. Subjectivist-leaning Objectivists see true Objectivists as intrinsicists, while intrinsicist-leaning Objectivists see true Objectivists as subjectivists.

Shayne

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Jonathan, your work is lovely. Will you show us more?

Ignore the people who judge art they don't understand by philosophical standards they don't understand. Since they can''t do what you can do, they get their kicks by denigrating you; that, presumably, proves their superiority. Let them fuss and criticize; you're not on earth to enlighten them. Your work speaks loudly and clearly, and that's all you need be concerned about.

Barbara

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Objectivism is a series of powerful deductions from one level to the next, which partly verify the philosophy. Objectivist aesthetics are outside that Objectivist progression and are asseverations and evaluations with the "Objectivist" label thrown on for good measure making them ignorant and hypocritical. But take away the label and consider the things Ayn Rand said on their own merits and they are interesting and valuable. "Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand" is not the philosophy of Objectivism in spite of tremendous overlap. The former is self-referential, the latter is reality referential. Jonathan has tremendous technical skills and superb craftmanship and I like the result.

--Brant

Edited by Brant Gaede

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This is wonderful work. I especially like "Pensive."

The reason I did not respond right away is that I suspect a lot of artists whose work looks great at first blush rely heavily on tracings from photos, which they then embellish and stylize so that the source of the basic image is not evident. This has the effect, I think, of inhibiting full stylization or selectivity in the artistic process.

So, to the extent that this is not true of your work, I admire it all the more!

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While I too admire technical savvy work, I don’t care for hyper-photo realism. I don’t like it too much because the artist is drawing attention to technical craftsmanship—deflecting away from the fact that his theme or subject can be rather bland or maudlin. An artsit shouldn't want to hear "Wow, that looks like a photo" above anything else a painting can offer. I like painters who paint in a “painterly” fashion and focus on deeper—even irreverent—and interesting themes. I like paintings that have a lot of….oh, can I say this on an Objectivist forum…EMOTION.

"Resolve" is my fave from J.

Edited by Victor Pross

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Hey, J, I just caught up to your having linked some of your stuff. That brightens a dismally rainy day here. (I often enjoy rainy days, but this has been one of the dismal variety.)

Who's the person in the portrait you're working on? I like the look of him.

E-

___

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(Note from Administrator: This post has been copied to another thread. It is now here also. Some discussion of this post not pertaining to Jonathan's paintings was moved to the other thread.)

Oh My!

Jonathan's got a secret! He is a fabulous artist!

Such a refreshing change around here!

Of course hell has frozen over! I find myself agreeing with sjw!

I find the criticism of prefering the exquisitly photographic-esque renderings of Jon over...say cartoons is nit-picking. Shayne is quite capable of knowing what he likes. As are we all.

Is thar anyone here, who in choosing great art would not choose any of Jon's work over Victors?

Which would you prefer to hang on your walls? (There is no wrong answer)

There is a reason that caricature has its own catagory. It is not great art and will never be.

Great art is in the eye of the audience. Not in the eye of the artist.

If artist's chose greatness then Jackson Pollack would be famous!

Wait a minute..................

Now who's side am I on?

What is art?

Who is good?

I only know what I like. I only know what makes me happy.

Jonathan's work makes me happy!

gw

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Thank you, Barbara, Brant, Rodney, Ellen and Gary. I'm happy that you've found something to enjoy in my work.

E asked,

Who's the person in the portrait you're working on? I like the look of him.

He's a very successful business person from my neck of the woods. I'd been aware of his professional reputation for years, but hadn't had the opportunity to meet him until a few years ago. Despite the fact that he receives a lot of public attention, I found him to be very genuine and down to earth. Very idea-oriented. He radiated a sense of warmth and enthusiasm that made me want to try to capture it in paint.

I'm very short on time right now, but at some point I'd like to addresss the issues of stylization -- "photorealism" vs "painterly" images -- that Rodney and Victor have brought up. I think that could be a very interesting discussion.

Also, I just wanted to quickly mention that I'm not opposed to criticism, just in case anyone reading this thread may have misunderstood me to be too much of a Sensitive Susie. I don't want to discourage anyone from expressing their opinions about art, including mine. And I want to say that I don't think that ~all~ Objectivists I've encountered have been pompous, presumptuous zealots when it comes to art. Perhaps it's just the majority of the loudest of them. When I've shown my work in Objectivist forums in the past, it has received praise as well as what I would call good negative evaluations (which, to me, are when someone openly and honestly explains that they don't like certain works of art, and why, without presuming to give the artist art lessons, without claiming to represent Objectivism, and without implying that anyone who disagrees with them is irrational, immoral, mentally ill or anything like that).

J

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