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Jonah Jacobs

Brown and Rust Polyp 1a
CPAC: How would you classify or describe your work? Or what would you say is your discipline?
Jonah: I create organic looking structures using up-cycled, recycled, and household items which are altered using paint, dyes, and salts, then rearranged to create sculptural pieces. My art work tends to span several different genres, sometimes many different genres are mixed in a single piece. Mainly though I tend to work on installation pieces which use unique materials and various types of fiber. Other works tend to be more sculptural.

CPAC: How did you get introduced to your craft?
Jonah: I used to do a lot of writing, at the time art work was a perfect way for me to relax. Especially since back then my art work involved making a mess. During this period I also had a stressful job at a psychiatric hospital. While writing I used to struggle over editing. I hated cutting out entire paragraphs of work, especially when those paragraphs took hours to write and were beloved by me. So instead I would print out the soon to be lost snippets of my work, and use them in collage type art pieces. From there I became more and more interested in art work, one discovery led to another, and ten years later I am creating complex sculptural pieces.

CPAC: What or who has influenced you?
Jonah: Two things have influenced my art work the most. One is the structural elements in nature. Instead of painting a bush in a landscape, I want to build one using interesting materials. Nature is defined by simple shapes endlessly repeated to create complex systems. The beauty and the comingling of simplicity and complexity are an endless sense of wonder to me. The other influence is my philosophy degree. Philosophy gave me the analytical skills and sense of wonder which is necessary for sustained inspection of the natural world.

CPAC: What is your favorite local place or event? Any hidden gems?
Jonah: One of my favorite local places is the Mentor Marina Park. It’s not my favorite park per se, but it’s one of the best places for me to set up some of the temporary install pieces I do. One of my favorite galleries is Survival Kit gallery. A favorite hidden gem is the contraceptive museum [Case Western Reserve University Percy Skuy Collection], and my favorite festival would be Parade the Circle or the Ingenuity fest.

CPAC: Could you share a story about how you’ve approached a component of the topics on Creative Compass?
Jonah: The great thing about the Cleveland art scene is that everyone is very approachable, kind, and supportive. When you first start out as an artist, just going to your first group show can be intimidating. I have now been involved in close to forty shows and rarely have I ever gotten anything but appreciation by the wonderful art fans here in Cleveland. If I had any advice to give emerging artists, it would be to get out there and talk to people involved in the art scene. I guarantee you will meet some wonderful and interesting people who are willing to help and who are hungry for new ideas. Cleveland is a can do kind of city where anything is possible.