John JonOne Andrew Perello / 1963 / New York / Usa
JonOne started writing in the late 70’s after being witness to the painted subways cars he saw everyday. Feeling his neighborhood was not culturally inspired, he began by writing his name around town and on subway cars before expressing himself at the end of the 80’s on canvas. What sets Jonone apart is his focus on the excitement and movement of color instead of character drawings.
"I did not receive an artistic culture. When I was tagging the trains in New York, I couldn't imagine that one day, I would express myself on a canvas"
What really brought me to tag was to watch the guys painting graffitis all over the place. The school that I went to was very strict. It was so annoying! And I used to think that the guys on the streets had the freedom.I didn't want what the American system proposed to me: a job, a fancy suit, a nice house. Reagan/Bush: same shit! I met A-one. He used to hang out with Jean-Michel Basquiat, the first black that succeeded as a painter. A-one was the connection between the street and the art world. He used to go to Europe and then came back with lots of money just because of his art. I listened to his travel stories and my eyes would shine… At that time in New York I was just like the guys today hanging in front of their building ; Me too I didn't go out of my neighborhood by these days. Thanks to A-one, I began to visit art shows, to feed my vision of stuff going on in this world. I began to take my work seriously, not to consider it as vandalism but as simply as art.
© A.Galois / Tyler Magazine / Speerstra Gallery