Johnathan Ball (Canada Dec. 17 19 - Not dead Alive)


I have been painting and drawing my whole life. I started, according to my mother, at age 4. She still has a great little ship drawing I did at that age. Drawing came easy to me but I had to work hard to be a good painter - I’m still working. Painting for me is a process of meditation, it’s a constant pursuit to describe the mental landscape as influenced by its surroundings.
As well as painting, I work as a photographer, shooting everything from events, editorials, and sometimes celebrities. My grandfather was an avid amateur photographer and gave me my first camera at a young age. Photography and painting have always gone hand in hand for me. One feeds the other. Photography as a tool has been employed by painters and artists since its invention. One could make a strong case that the advent of photography could not have been achieved without the help of painting and classical tools such as the camera obscura to help painters recreate scenes. I use photography in this way, creating images from reference subjects I capture.
My work is an ongoing process. I try not to just do one thing, I don’t think standing still and producing one product time and time again is a good thing. An artist has to be careful to not let their work become stale.
1950s abstract expressionism is my jam. The New York school was a big influence on me as a young artist, but also the Montreal scene. The artist Jean-Paul Riopelle and Paul Emile Borduas were heroes of mine. Leader of the Automatistes and main author of the manifesto Refus Global, Borduas broke from all convention. I remember vividly seeing L’étoile Noir in person when I was young and being blown away by its bold simplicity. The surrealists also had a profound impact on my practice - specifically Dali for his character and brashness. His ambitious paintings and tight style always impressed and humbled me. H.R. Giger and Francis Bacon are also worth mentioning. Both artists’ approaches to painting were violent, sexual, and graphic. Food for the young artist.
The world is too interesting to not reflect on. The sublime and terrifying are always in front of us and we often have to ignore them to get on with our day. I like to allow my paintings to shape themselves in my mind. The painting comes to life on its own, almost independently of the creator. That’s often where the satisfaction comes from - surpassing your expectations and vision. The opposite is also true, and depressing. The failed painting can often take weeks or months to get over.

- Johnathan Ball

Exhibited by

Work Selection

Johnathan Ball - Strix Aluco

Strix Aluco

Johnathan Ball - Platalea