• Forgotten Valor or All that prep and you get shit

    (Ink and Gold Leaf on Paper)
    12'x18' in  |  2017

  • I don't think I'm getting up from this one or downtrodden

    (Ink on Paper)
    5.5' x 8.5'in  |  2017

  • Politics

    (Ink and Gold Leaf on Paper)
    11' x 17'in  |  2016

  • Sloth

    (Ink, Watercolor, and Gold Leaf on Paper)
    22'x30'in  |  2017

  • Something greater than me

    (Ink and Gold Acrylic on Paper)
    11'in17'in  |  2017

  • The Error in Eras Created Cinema or Fluid Memory

    (Ink and Gold Leaf on Paper)
    137' x 42.6' in  |  2016

  • Demonization

    (Ink on Paper)
    30' x 22'in  |  2016

  • I'm not going to lose this time, I can't

    (Ink and Gold Leaf on Paper)
    12'x 18' in  |  2017

  • Glorious failure... but I had to try

    (Ink on Paper)
    5.5'x8.5' in  |  2017


Tri-cities, TN | Drawing

Born in Bristol, TN, Jonathan Adams received his BFA from East Tennessee State University in 2016. He explores aspects of perceived identity using scenarios of the human condition and history. Ink and paper mimic life as the ink can be fluid, expressive yet delicate and creates lasting impressions. The paper is life, clean at conception and unique through mark making. He uses gold leaf as well to create importance among the composition. Jonathan loves noodles and day naps.

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I create energetic surreal ink drawings and paintings that explore aspects of perceived identity using scenarios of the human condition and history. I use photos, still life and memory to create my compositions. By using delicate and primitive mark making I can further accentuate a range of emotions and perceptions through the piece.

Subject matter varies, but has recurring usage of mythology and symbolism. Each piece explores a facet of an identity- characteristics, key events, and situations which compose the essentials of human existence, such as birth, growth, emotionality, aspiration, conflict, and mortality. 

I approach my work using Phenomenology. Phenomenology is a science that studies stimuli or phenomenon from a distinct perspective. By applying this to my work, I work towards giving a direct visual manifestation of my experience as a black male of Generation Y (1977-1994). Perceiving third party perceptions is essentially the same. After careful study, I stream my thoughts onto paper to find recurring thoughts or imagery. I curate the findings until I have what I believe is communicable for the final piece. Due to this, the pieces tend to be decadent in imagery and theatricality of subject.

I use three mediums; ink, metal leaf, and paper. Ink is very versatile and can be used for fine, expressive marks or slow build of washes; the metal leaf establishes value to the content matter of the piece. The gold and silver leaf also creates dimensional space by its reflective properties which creates a duality against the flatness of the brush strokes. Paper as a medium is a great surface that works great with ink and allows for absorption of subtle washes or heavy marks that rest on top. Ending on a poetic note; I try to represent perceptions in life, I feel paper is a the closest to a physical likeness of life. Paper is fragile, pristine each part similar but unique. After impressions (Or histories of brush strokes) the paper is changed permanently for better or worse. Artist influence are Michael Reedy, Kim Jung Gi, Gustav Klimt, James Jean, Raymond Pettibon and Ciro Quintana.

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