THE ART PLUG EDITORIAL: JONATHAN RYAN HARVEY
Meet the Artist: Jonathan Ryan Harvey
By John Oldani
Jonathan Ryan Harvey is a self-taught contemporary artist that effortlessly portrays moods through a visual language of colors, shapes, and form. While Harvey has always been inspired by famed artists like Jean Michel Basquiat and Cy Twombly, his relationships and surroundings are his biggest inspirations. Harvey grew up in the Arizona desert and lived in both New York City and Southern California where he often soaked up the dynamic cultures around him.
“My living environments always impact my artwork,” he said. “I pull from the beauty and brutality of these environments to create. My work often references my love of graffiti, ambient music, and the wild colors of desert sunsets.”
Harvey’s goal is to create alluring artwork that provokes intricate feelings within the viewer. He achieves this through experimentation, often letting the exciting blend of mediums or the unfamiliarity of new materials fuel his creativity. His authentic spirit and expressive determination sets him apart in a crowded industry. Harvey doesn’t specialize in one channel; his work spans the realms of painting, surrealism, graffiti art, and sculptures.
“My creative process is all about experimentation,” he said. “I like to surprise myself and avoid repetition so I am always pushing to get uncomfortable, inventive, and not be boring. Whether it's using multiple mediums together or trying out new materials and tools, I am most happy when I realize my vision through paths I've not taken before.”
While Harvey deviates from a conventional creative process, he developed a signature style that intuitively pushed the envelope. He has been perfecting his craft since he was a child; gathering inspiration and insight along his journey.
“I've been obsessed with making art as far back as I can remember. I would redraw from Ninja Turtle graphic novels, (the ones where they are cussing and smoking cigarettes), and 80’s Japanese Anime. In my adolescence I gravitated towards hip-hop which spawned a love for graffiti. Then my first real job was at the MOCA San Diego which was a powerful introduction into the world of contemporary art. It really elevated my ambition to be an artist,” Harvey said.
One of Harvey’s proudest moments so far as an artist was curating a show called, “Mella Pillar Silcox” in 1998. It was there he sold his first piece next to an impressive lineup of influential artists including, Shepard Fairey, Dave Kinsey, and Tony Fitzpatrick.
“My biggest accomplishment is that I'm still passionate about my creativity,” Harvey said. “Considering what life can throw at you, it's easy to give up or change direction. I think my most important accomplishments are still to come.”