Jon Carling, Pen and Ink

If you are a facebook friend of Jon Carling you know his funny and refreshingly oblique posts: “Bionic Bird.” “A Bird Flies through a cloud and emerges as a bat.” “Feathered Comet.” It is as if Jon is describing the imagery in his work, which is disarming and delightful. I recently visited Jon at his new studio down at FORT. The images below are from his show at FORT where most of the drawings were down on old book covers and priced to sell (most less than $100) it is good to see red stickers everywhere. Go to open studios if you want one, he is not gonna be that reasonably priced for long.

Talking to Jon, it is clear that the place where these images come from is truthful and unlimited, making him an artist to watch in the decades to come.
He will be having open studios friday night and be part of the first show at Sweetart Drawing Gallery. Click here for link. That show reception is August 7th. Put it on your calendar.

Obi: Where do the animals come from? Is there an over-arching fairytale?
Jon: Someplace, it appears to me in the shower with my eyes closed, a dimension that I can peer into. Its either an actual place, that somehow I am able to observe, or, the place is really just a construct of my mind, a mix of elements from childhood dreams and nightmares.Its a wonderful thing, a little addicting, I spend most of my time drawing what I’m seeing,and I am always playing catch up to get it all on paper.

Obi: What is with the old books as surfaces?
Jon: I hate drawing on new paper, its as simple as that. Book covers are particulary nice, and, I’ve had a steady supply from my friend’s bookstore ‘scraps’ (Oakland’s “Book Zoo”)but, I like to draw on old paper in general, it inspires me for some reason…I am always thrilled to look on the back of any antique paper item.

Obi: Are you doing well at FORT?
Jon: I am doing alot. I am trying to do it well. My studio is serving so many purposes right now, a workshop, a gallery, an office…theres so much activity on that block, its been really inspiring.


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  • Moises Aragon

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