Jonathan Villoch is a New York City artist that likes to spread his patterns around town. You'll see him working with kids on a school project or creating his own work on the side of a wall. His works are colorful, repetitive, and abstract, but say more than meets the eye. See Jonathan in action in this video.
JH: What do you do for a day job?
JV: I was working with Middle and High School kids with autism in Brooklyn for a year. We completed a mural that was around 125 feet long in five sections. That is one of the places where I've developed new ideas about how my work is seen either by a public or private audience. The kids really altered my perception and I became the assistant to them working as the artists. It was an amazing process.
I am currently completing my student teaching with elementary school children in District 75, part of the Department of Education Special Education program in the Bronx. I am also very fortunate to be working again with brilliant kids who also happen to have autism.
JH: What's your education?
JV: I am expected to graduate in January 2014 with a M.S.E. in Childhood Special Education. My undergraduate work was a B.A. in Studio Art/Painting with a minor in Art Education.
JH: How did you first get interested in art?
JV: Finger-painting in my Abuela's kitchen is one of my earliest memories. As a child, I often used clay and did a lot of drawing. As I grew a little (about 10 or 11), spray-paint became my medium of choice. At that point, I really gave up making any other art unless it was done with spray. I used it off and on into my early 20s and started playing with video cameras to capture the work I was doing on the street then. It was really the only way I knew how to show my work at the time because I had never painted a canvas but had completed some very large walls around different parts of the city in Miami.
JH: How did your art develop as you got older?
JV: When I was 26 I moved to New York and landed a job downtown at a large gallery that showed a lot of graffiti artists. The place seemed like a natural fit and the artists all took me under their wing. This was my crash-course in the art world and where I began to develop my own style. After completing some of my first paintings on wood, canvas and glass, I took a class in silk-screen at SVA because a friend encouraged me to do so. I continued taking night classes at SVA in color etching and letter-press. Currently I work with wood to build my own panels and small sculptures and have welded cooper rods to build simple shapes like pyramids. I am mainly interested in many printing mediums because they so closely resemble painting or drawing and hope to use lithography one day. I will always be impartial to the traditional mechanics of a copy machine.
JH: Why do you create street art?
JV: Before it was really a sort of selfish act one could say. A total disregard for authority, an act of rebellion, defiance, frustration. The fact that we were kids and had nothing else. It was also a lot of fun on top of everything else. The smell and sound of the paint when it marks a metal surface. It was just so natural, probably because I was already an artist at a young age. The work is usually hidden and tucked away from view in abandoned places or desolate rail-yards. At some point, since a wall outside stands alone, my sense of ownership changes once I leave the site. On another note, when the public becomes engaged with a project either during it's creation or afterwards, there is a set of feelings that develop about the new painting in their neighborhood that is their own.