100 Creatives 2012: Johnathan Felton
What He Does: Johnathan Felton specializes in sketches, paintings and drawings, mostly stunning nudes using loosely defined scribbles. His images are dreamlike, monochromatic studies of the human form, though he is planning on branching out into more color work in the future. For the last ten years he's maintained a studio in the Eado district, reveling in the easy access to venues like Notsuoh and other places to showcase his work.
He has been a passionate artist since youth, having grown up with an artistic mother and her circle of creative people. He won ribbons for art at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo before moving on to group showings with Art Crawl and Art Climb, and has done some theatrical production design work with FrenetiCore and the local Rocky Horror Picture Show cast. In 2010 he had a painting in the Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art in Osaka, Japan, and has been asked to contribute to them in the future. His art is mostly for sale at Shape of Things, and hangs on the walls of Paris art patrons.
Why he Likes It: "I like learning new things about art. I like sharing what I know with other artists, and learning from them. It's something you spend a lifetime studying. It's fun, and almost like meditation on good days. On bad days there are challenges, and some creative problem solving. I like the satisfaction derived from completing a project.
"There's the joy of creating something, a piece of art, out of apparently nothing, like paper, or raw canvas. I like the enduring friendships I've made with the many creative people I've met over the years. The community, companionship, collaborations and inspirations -- I enjoy those sorts of things the most. I enjoy making other people happy through my art."
What Inspires Him: As Felton's usual artistic goal is abstractly capturing his models' features and emotions accurately, he draws most of his inspiration from the models themselves. He knows he's succeeded when people can be recognized by their faces, or by the state of mind the model was in. Though eroticism plays a fair role in his sketches, he has also used his work to portray sadness and human frailty. In his occasional landscapes, Felton draws on Houston itself as his muse.
If Not This, Then What: "It's hard to imagine what I would want to be otherwise. It would involve the arts in some way. Maybe I'd be an actor, musician or writer. I've thought about writing novels or researching something and writing about it. Sometimes I'm not an artist -- I have to have that regular job where I cook, clean or do customer service to pay the bills. My father was an electrician -- so I could have ended up doing that. Though there can be good money in it, I don't like the idea of climbing poles or antenna towers -- and possibly being electrocuted. I'll stick with making pictures -- thank you."
If Not Here, Then Where: Like most artists, Felton wants to see the grand artistic cities such as New York, Paris and Vienna and soak up the famous museums and environments that inspired masters. For now, Houston is his home and he has no plans to move on. The online world allows him to ply his trade internationally. All he needs is a place with a decent, supportive art community, and Houston certainly has that in spades.
What's Next: "To spend the rest of my life making art. My focus is on paintings, portraits and drawing whenever I can. I want what most artists want. Hopefully I will achieve a measure of success and recognition before I die. I've been active in Houston as an artist for some time now -- and cool things continue to happen -- so I've seen some of this happen for me already. It'd be nice to become a full-time artist and not have the need of a day job.
"I'd like to illustrate some poetry or children's books given the right project. Maybe I can explore doing comics or animation given time. I plan to keep doing art in some capacity for as long as I can regardless of money. Making art keeps me happy. I plan to always have a studio, if it's in a big industrial warehouse, or a corner of a small apartment. My plan for the future is to keep doing the thing I am the best at, and enjoy most."
More Creatives for 2012
(In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).
Nicoletta Maranos, cosplayer
Carol Simmons, hair stylist
Joseph "JoeP" Palmore, actor, poet
Greg Carter, director
Kenn McLaughlin, theater director
Justin Whitney, musician
Antone Pham, tattoo artist
Susie Silbert, crafts
Lauralee Capelo, hair designer
Marisol Monasterio, flamenco dancer
Carmina Bell, promoter and DJ
ReShonda Tate Billingsley, writer
Kiki Lucas, choreographer and director
J.J. Johnston, theater director
Mary Margaret Hansen, artist
Richard Tallent, photographer
Viswa Subbaraman, opera director
Emily Sloan, sculptor and performance artist
Sonja Roesch, gallery owner
Enrique Carreón-Robledo, conductor
Sandy Ewen, musician
Camella Clements, puppeteer
Wade Wilson, gallery owner
Magid Salmi, photographer
Carl Williams, playwright