JonOne, born John Andrew Perello and of Dominican origin, was born in 1963 in Harlem, a New York neighbourhood concentrated with disadvantaged populations. Affected by hardships both within his family and at school, the young boy was formed in street school, and started a graffiti career in the subway from the age of 17. Surrounded by several other activists, he founded the international collective 156 All Starz in 1984.
His encounter with Bando, the pioneer of graffiti art in France, led JonOne to move to Paris in 1987. In the capital which seduced him and alongside the pioneers of the French Hip-Hop movement, JonOne travelled along the macadam, then, though not abandoning walls, moved to canvas. He worked in a studio belonging to the Hôpital Éphémère, an association aiming to develop the occupation of urban wastelands by artists, which was for a time settled at Hôpital Bretonneau.
This new support led to the formation of the artist’s world-wide reputation. He exhibited throughout the world, starting with the Parisian galleries Agnès b., Magda Danysz, Willem Speerstra, David Pluskwa, and Marcel Strouk, and then in Monaco, Geneva, New York, as well as in Tokyo and Hong Kong.
JonOne sought to impose his work by the total freedom of its style: transcending the standards dictated by the Graffiti of urban cultures, his paintings that have an utter fear of emptiness present composition that are harmonious yet spontaneous, the perfectly mastered line of forms in movement, curved or straight, often repetitive, and a rich, lively, and subtly nuanced colour palette.
These abstract improvisations which breathe ‘joie de vivre’ make JonOne one of the main representatives of Contemporary Abstract Expressionism.
He is not, however, closed to figuration: in homage to the Abbot Pierre, in 2011 he realised on the wall of a square at Deux-Nèthes (18th arrondissement in Paris) a portrait of the celebrated defender of the disadvantaged, the portrait itself composed of the actual text of his radio call of winter 1954.
An undeniable recognition of his work has afforded him the projects of painting a Thalys train and designing perfume bottles for Guerlain.
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Art works from JonOne
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