Written By Zach Champ
Featuring Jonathan Iredell
Hoodie Goodies recently had a chance to sit down and speak with Jon Iredell, also known as Jon Eye, who is a local artist, poet, educator, and teacher, as well as music producer from Alexandria Virginia. We interviewed him about his artistic story and journey, and how he first began his creative ventures, as well as asked him some questions about the themes and meaning behind most of his work.
You can read what he had to say below!
WHO IS JON EYE ART?
Johnathan Iredell, a.k.a Jon Eye, is a local artist, poet, educator, teacher, and music producer from Northern Virginia. Jon was born and raised in Alexandria, where his upbringing and background helped influence and shape the path he has taken as a creative artist. Jon Eye is a man with many talents and many ideas, trying to make a positive influence and impact on the world around us.
Jon Eye went to college at James Madison University (JMU) where he received their Bachelors of the Science in Physics with a Minor in Mathematics and Material Science. He originally had wanted to go to school so he could hopefully work one day for NASA and help design spaceships.
“I always have been fascinated by different materials like metal, wood, plaster, rock, whatever."
Jon Eye has a distinctive artistic style that is often very colorful and imaginative. Much of Jon’s art features fantastic scenes of space as well as curious characters that captivate the viewer. When asking him about the development of his artistic style and techniques, he replied:
“I had wanted to combine space paintings I was doing with the acrylic figures that were based on characters I used to draw and paint.”
Jon Eye has always had an interest in and fascination with space and the cosmos ever since they were a kid, which is why these topics play such integral parts of their art. Jon started doing his space paintings when he was in college at JMU studying astronomy in 2010. He had seen how on YouTube there were trending videos of people making space paintings in a fast and quick process using spray paint. Jon Eye thought this was a cool creative exercise, and so he started painting and perfecting his own.
Throughout their life, Jon was always into cartoon and animation style drawing. They would easily spend countless hours on a lazy day doodling figures and characters. While drawing Jon would use their imagination to come up with incredible stories and dramas that fed into the background narrative of the depicted art. This story-telling aspect of their art always led Jon to want to pursue writing as an additional form of creative expression. This especially became dominant when Jon Eye began reading into Zen philosophy and poetry.
Jon Eye performing on the mic at SPACEY CLOUD LOUNGE, one of his favorite regular performance venues!
Jon started his free-styling during this time in college while getting involved with the local music scene and attending house shows. During this time Jon was known for being a staple at local JMU house parties, free-styling while he did his paintings as a form of public performance art. The inspiration for his rhymes would come from the stories they were painting in the moment.
A lot of Jon’s family members are scientists, engineers, and writers. Jon’s mom was a math teacher and his dad had studied Earth Sciences and Environmental Science in school. When Jon was growing up, he was always taught by his father to be aware of issues relating to the environment. Not only that, but his family’s influence helped drive him towards being interested in art as well as observing nature and studying science. As Jon says himself, “I was raised green!”
His upbringing made him passionate about saving the Earth.
“Anyone who spends time outside as a kid appreciates the outdoors. I was the same way… I love to mountain bike, skateboard, and snowboard. I love being active and outside, and always have.”
Jon eventually followed in the steps of his mother by becoming an educator himself! Jon’s creative endeavors in addition to his daily work as an educator demonstrate how enthusiastic about communication and knowledge they are. Jon Eye has led meditation classes as well as poetry workshops where he tries to encourage people to find and express themselves creatively. Besides art and poetry, Jon is a writer who is working on several short stories as well as a novel.
Psychedelic culture is definitely an inspiration in Jon Eye’s art. When we asked Jon Eye about some of the surreal and out of this world motifs present in his works he explained how he wants to invoke the interconnection of life and the universe to demonstrate how we are related as one.
“The greatest impact you can have is one person at a time, so I try to help as many people as I can whether it is through music, education, or art. My goal is to help people see more clearly and broaden their mind and have a wider perspective of the world around them and to see the world in a right way which will encourage them to be more productive.”
Jon Eye’s ultimate goal with their art is to use communication and writing as a means of inspiring people, and to get them to get engaged in art, poetry, and the sciences. Jon Eye views their life as being part of a community, and being part of a community means reaching out to help and teach people. This is why we at Hoodie Goodies loved working with Jon because he truly gets and understands our community-oriented vision. Not only that, but Jon Eye sees the urgency in today’s times in regard to our environment and politics. As Jon says,
“Nature is a huge topic of my art and writing! A lot of my poetry and music references saving the Earth, and I think this is the most important task facing our generation today.”
Jon Eye has some great performances planned for the Fall that you definitely won't want to miss! Jon is also are working on completing creative projects that he hopes to premiere in the upcoming year.
Show your support for Jon Eye and other local artists who are out here working hard in the community to foster creativity, culture, and fraternity amongst the people!
You can check out more Jon Eye art by visiting their website and subscribing to their YouTube channel listed below!
Don’t forget to visit the Hoodie Goodies store to check out custom Jon Eye t-shirts and apparel based on some of his more colorful and enchanting paintings!