What doesn't Jon Aley do?
Just click through his expansive website to see what I mean.
The guy even acts and creates his own show!
1. Name, Astrology sign, and location please.
Jon Aley, Pisces, currently KC after 8 years LA/NYC (5 LA/1Berkeley/2 NYC)
2. What are you currently working on?
A new series of drawings and paintings.. (the drawings can be found under drawings on the site, digital ones too, paintings I haven’t photo’d the new ones yet.. but oddly, the bulk of my times goes into comedy characters/performance and writing—via improv, film, twitter, venues)
3. Who are your favorite artists?
A lot of my faves right now are literary.. specifically comedy writers.. David Sedaris of course, Jim Gaffagin, Chris Elliot, Demetri Martin.. painters.. our classmate James Perrin’s work is amazing to me, I don’t feel that amazement nearly enough, often in museums, especially after 8 plus years of working in them, I feel the emotion of “why is that here, at this level, and worth 2 million, when there is some good work out there.” Not a fan of feeling that, but I do.. so, artists.. another one that hit me recently is a KC girl named Emily Connell (sp).. she transforms actual books into porcelain objects through this intense process.. that in itself is beautiful as is, but then she slices the pieces and somehow they become very organ-like, they remind me a lot of seeing the Body Worlds show when I was in Mexico City recently.. actual bodies with the skin removed in all kinds of life positions.. astounding.. another couple are Do Ho Suh… specifically Fallen Star, if you look it up, make sure to see the inside and realize the utter insanity of the details included and the scale.. also Cai Guo-Qiang’s drawings with gunpowder/fireworks in the sky,.. musically, Tom Waits was always the guy I would want to be if.. growing up a lot of my favorite people were in the comics, and they still are, Dave McKean and Bill Sienkiwicz (sp) were my favorite for how they juggled mediums, but lately, simplicity rules in my love for comics (the art and stories of the current runs of Daredevil (Marvel) and Wonder Woman (DC) are simple and potent and combine with some of the best storytelling I have seen in the two big companies in a while. Our friend Matt Fraction from school has also been hitting it out of the park with a Hawkeye series with lovely art and story, I am so jealous of that guy. My goal is to have a similar role in comedy as the Conchords or Peter Sellars, but writing comics would be bomb.
4. What's the best advice you ever received about your career choice?
Get back up, persist, stay focused on what you are really after and be open to learning things that help strengthen the artists mind (like reading a lot of books about money, marketing, refinement.. it all adds up into forward movement rather than being frustrated about not getting anywhere due to a lack of understanding the simplicity of the bigger process).. I have been fortunate to have some big name mentors who cut through the bs and said clearly, this is why you aren’t moving forward.. if you have the courage to set this part aside (which is partly ego) and simplify, more doors will open and you won’t lose anything.. your audience really does grow and your voice does become clearer by tightening focus on occaision.. you have your whole life to do that same painting no one else understands over and over again, but if you can bring it in for a bit, expand your audience, then slowly show them this other depth, then you change lives.. I had more lucky breaks in my career than anyone should have had, I went from a small museum in Chicago to handler at LACMA in a blink of an eye, then became mountmaker for some amazing museums and then spent the last three years as curator and collection manager for a private collection of textiles in the bay (considered one of the best collections worldwide..) all that, with no education in that arena, becoming a curator was a shock and honor, but the biggest reason that happened, was my willingness to let go and move on, each time I did, I was terrified, but something better kept coming up when I let go and reached out..
5. Favorite place(s) in your city?
My favorite geographically are along the coast of California.. such as Point Dume (tons of starfish, amazing sunsets, serene hikes) and up into the Berkeley Hills.. climb far enough and you realize your vision may only be limited due to what gets in its way.
6. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
And while we're at it, what about a different era?
Hmm… I have lived a lot of amazing places, from LA to NYC to Berkeley and Chicago, I would probably have to choose to have the world be my home so I could access all the things in each of those places that don’t exist in the others.. living in each challenges a different aspect of our psyches and how we grow.. (oddly, LA taught me to fight for myself, NYC taught me to refine and connect, Berkeley taught me to eat/nourish..) different era? Maybe the far future, just to see what is going on then..but this age we live in right now is amazing, to have grown up without computers, to have religion questioned, to see so easily through gov’t and be able to make a difference globally now.. this is a pretty amazing time.. so many things we saw or dreamed of when we were kids has come to fruition..
7. What do you usually mindlessly doodle? (do you have a picture of this?)
incoherent lines, words, they end up building little stories.. best example of this is “The Braille Project” on my site
Honestly.. http://www.comicbookmovie.com/ I love all comic related news and costumes, but the best part of that site is how the comic nerd wars rage after each article, there is some brilliant humor going on there combined with some genuinely rude/biased/ignorant sorts, it really does make for some hysterics.. they post photos, gifs and throw insults back and forth like nobody’s business.. an example was one time I remember when a comic cover featuring Wolverine and Cyclops fighting.. two guys went back and forth telling the other how stupid he was and why Cyclops’s lasers would just rip wolvie’s head off.. but it would grow back.. they get so invested in it like it is all very real..
This is too difficult a question for me.. I love a lot of bad movies.. I worked in an elitist video store when I was young, and so I have seen a lot of bad stuff that I love, I eat up a lot of bad sci-fi.. but.. I will admit to having seen Hot Tub Time Machine a few times too many..
10. Any pets? Any kids?
No pets.. no kids that I am aware of but you just never know..
Gorgeous work, Jon.
(PS, is that first painting for sale?)