Upon being granted the title of Living Master by the International Art Renewal Center in 2008, Joel Carson Jones wrote: "I am profoundly grateful for this honor and recognition. I have the deepest thankfulness for the dedicated, brave, and meticulous artists throughout history, who have struggled with themselves, the daunting greatness of previous masters, and with poverty, fear, and isolation. I am thankful for the artists who have remained true to and refined the classical process in the face of popular trends, financial temptation, and passing movements--artists who have elevated us to the Renaissance after centuries of darkness and to our modern Renaissance where artists are revering, meditating on, and giving credence to specific everyday objects and ways of life, representing our reality for the betterment, enjoyment, and understanding of others."
Joel Carson Jones lives, teaches, and paints in Northeastern Pennsylvania, where he was born in 1975. The pride and work-ethic of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre region, the ever-present fight to rise above its mining and industrial past, and the families dedicated to education, good work, and better futures have instilled in him a humble appreciation of simplicity, nature, and the friendships his life-long discipline has fostered.
Joel left the world of degree-art education after completing his undergraduate work at Marywood University, Scranton, Pennsylvania, and one year at another highly accredited masters program, because of frustration with the emphasis on progressive training. His sensibilities have always been aligned with the work of the High Renaissance, its history, the atelier and fundamental training, the almost impossible undertaking of infusing connotation beyond an object's actual form-after reaching master craftsmanship, conveying content that seduces audiences back to paintings beyond technical skill.
He ended up in Europe, painting along plein air artists, learning to respect their boldness, their looseness and symbiotic interaction with the landscape, and how they could capture the pure, raw beauty with minimal brushwork. Joel, however, needed to pursue his love of Realism, still-life, and trompe l'oeil. He believes that Realism, more than any other aesthetic or movement, is his realm to stand up to and face fundamental questions, fears, paradoxes, and beauty. It is his place to synthesize, contrast, fuse, and juxtapose all aspects of life, childhood innocence, the metaphysical, death, emotion, nature, and the mundane.
Joel has stated, "We all learn from those who have come before us-artists are no exception. The process of building on tradition had been a constant for centuries. Perhaps we have exhausted the experiments of impressionism, expressionism, modernism, etc., perhaps the utter rejection of subject matter and form in the last hundred years has been exhausted-and perhaps we're reaching an answer from the totality of the last century-to return to the place of divergence, the Renaissance, realism."
He began working with his contemporary Anthony Waichulis
, a fellow Living Master, as one of the first students of Waichulis' atelier in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Their work has put them at the center of today's spreading movement-Contemporary Renaissance in Classical atelier work and training, utilizing time-tested methods to examine, capture, and investigate the chaotic, extreme objects and conditions of the modern world. Joel's reputation, expertise, and, of course, work, is sought worldwide. In his own atelier, TruForm Studio, he teaches his students discipline, form, drafting, and composition, but most of all how to see, stressing that perception is the key not only to self-understanding but to artistic success.
He has written about his own development: "I strived, as a younger painter to create compositions of technical finesse to produce illusion, to pay homage to the tradition of the Trompe L'oeil masters. Through years of daily work with seemingly ordinary objects-toys, ripening fruit, figurines, playing cards, I've begun to feel a deeper connection with what I used to take for granted, almost a symbolism, or a place for what is easily discarded. I have been tricked by what could be called my development or even my obsession. I have noticed a subtle change, a new illusion, tricking our eyes into the emotional depth of objects that are daily fixtures around us. "
Joel is currently represented by Cavalier Galleries, Greenwich, Connecticut and Nantucket, Massachusetts, www.cavaliergalleries.com