<span>Artist in Residence:</span> Jonathan Kent Adams

Artist in Residence: Jonathan Kent Adams

By Drew McConnell

<span>Artist in Residence:</span> Jonathan Kent Adams
Queer artist, and activist, in the Deep South
Oil on Canvas, Ink on paper
How do you settle on the Fall & Winter Artist in Residence so resolutely? Having a queer Mississippian who creates the most peacefully evocative gay life vignettes and still life florals makes sense-- and he's also a dear friend. 
Jonathan Kent Adams in front of orange wall

 (Photo courtesy @rosscollab)

Jonathan's fine art pieces have been shown across so many different slices of America; from the Deep South to the pages of Brooklyn-based queer food journal, Jarry Mag (@jarrymag). Each work resonates and challenges in subtle and unexpected ways. He has a deep love of that which is present, knowing full well that the beauty depicted in his work, whether flowers, the human body, or a moment in life, will decay and disappear unless they're preserved. As you see his work it becomes most obvious that these moments are loved through oil and ink. 

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Jonathan Kent Adams painting


I used to pressure Jonathan to reproduce his work, to sell numbered prints. He was always adamant not to--he’d rather make a wide variety of work in different mediums and with different time commitments so that they could be accessible to a wider variety of people without forfeiting ownership of an original piece. Everyone who has a Jonathan Kent Adams, has their own. I’ve come to understand how right he is, and how I had been missing that point for so long. 


Jonathan Kent Adams sitting


His process for a work painted in oil is much longer than an ink, they're the opposite of instant. Instead they’re layered and forgiving. He can change an oil painting over time to reflect whatever beauty or light or shadow he wants to capture. There is a relationship that plays over time and when he stops, lets it dry, and offers for someone to purchase that canvas to hang in their home-- they get to be the next part of that long relationship. 


Jonathan Kent Adams art studio


The inks are different, fast, but equally magical—as they are not forgiving at all. They seem to flow from his hand as he imagines them or sees them and then...they simply exist. There is no drying period. There is no changing or correcting. There is, like a live music performance, only what’s erupted forth. That snapshot is then also offered to someone to hang-- a glimmering love affair with a flower, a body, and in some ways: an artist, indelible in ink. 


Jonathan Kent Adams painting on canvas


He captures what is beautiful and good and then surrounds it with time and intention, love and craft, so that it can stay with us for much much longer and our walls, our homes, are better for it. 


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Visit Jonathan's Website