Jonas Gerard is a mercurial artist and gallerist who has built a reputation as one of the most respected, self-styled abstract expressionist painters of his generation. He owns two art galleries in the Asheville, North Carolina River Arts District. The state-of-the-art galleries measure about 5,000sq ft and feature a visual arts exhibition hall and cultural house among other amenities. Visitors to Jonas Gerard Fine Art galleries are mesmerized by paintings exhibiting a confounding profusion of light, color hues and warmth. The self-educated artist began his craft on the streets of New York City. His paintings are inspired by the light spectrum and rhythmic influence of music.
Jonas Gerard grew up listening to Moroccan tribal music, Afro-Cuban tunes and propulsive jazz. Over the years, Jonas has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions. The group exhibitions have taken him to Blink Artist Exhibition, Cincinnati; Pepco Edison Place Gallery, Washington DC and the ArtiZen Gallery, Dallas. Some of his most famous artistic projects include the 8ft x 30ft mural dubbed “Life, Love and Passion” (2015) and the Surrounded Islands Project in Miami that was completed in 1985. Jonas did the Miami project in collaboration with two distinguished artists, Jeanne Claude and Christo. The artist was born in 1941 of Brazilian and French parents in French Morocco.
What do you do for a living?
I am a natural, abstract expressionist painter with two art galleries in the Rivers Arts District in North Carolina. The skill has seen me partner with various artists and participate in many solo and group exhibitions. I have been to various states, including Florida, Texas and Washington DC.
When did you decide to pursue the career or business?
I started painting at a young age while growing up in French Morocco. The Jonas Gerard Art Galleries have been in operation for over 15 years. The galleries are unique in many ways because they provide core art gallery offerings along with a comfortable, people-friendly atmosphere.
What peculiar challenges do you face in the industry?
Artists all around the world face many challenges. The most poignant in my estimation is censorship and the ethics of funding. Censorship has made it almost unattainable for artists to delve into uncharted waters of political and religious correctness. When it comes to funding, most inexperienced artists have difficulty negotiating their way around funding and sponsorship deals. This is especially true for artists who have been tied down by various interest groups. I have been fortunate to not have had to engage in any sponsorship deals.
Are there specific challenges you’ve had to address?
Copyright infringement, piracy and other violations remain a big threat to all artists. The problem is exasperated by uncontrolled production and circulation of copyrighted visual images using mass mediums like the internet. I have put in check several safeguards to protect my work. These include placing watermarks on visual arts and uploading only low-resolution images on the sales portal.
Is the industry growing, muted or declining?
The industry is definitely growing. Interest in painting is growing as evident in the rising online sales and visitations to art galleries. Artists like me are perpetuating the trade by holding more solo and group exhibitions. More trade and sensitization avenues are presented through conferences and seminars.
How is technology impacting your trade?
Technology has an uncanny way of transforming traditional art into more malleable digital forms. The interaction also provides exciting ways to cobble various Media to create more resolute works of art. The possibilities of what you can achieve with technology are almost endless.
Have you ever visited Miami?
I spent the several years of my career in Miami before moving to New York City and North Carolina.
What part of Miami?
My favorite place is the Miami Design District.
Have you been to any particular places of interest such as public parks and restaurants?
The places that stick most vividly in my memory are in the Miami Design District. I have visited several public art galleries such as the Fly’s Eye Dome and the Institute of Contemporary Art. Such extraordinary places.
Would you come back?
I will certainly come back.
Was it a business or pleasure trip?
Both for travel and pleasure. I have attended several solo and group exhibitions in Greater Miami. The places comprise Miami-Dade Public Library, Diego Victoria Gallery and Joy Moos Gallery.