Artist Spotlight: Jon Scialabba!
Happy November to you all and to all a Happy November!
First things first because I don't want to detract from this incredible artist and human being we have in the spotlight today, but....I FINALLY FINISHED THE ARTWORK TO CHAPTER 2!! The next book is now firmly in my publisher's hands and will be laid out and shipped hopefully before the Christmas holidays!!! I cannot wait, and I cannot thank you all enough for your endless support of me and my work.
In that same vein, I am excited to introduce you all to a fantastic artist whom I met at a fundraiser and talent show in South Jersey. I was vending at this particular event, and I wanted to check out what my neighbors were up to. I spotted his work first, because it instantly blew me away. The level of detail he achieves with pencil, pen, charcoal, and ink is incredible. His subjects were highly contrasted and meticulously rendered. But most importantly, he's an incredible person. More than anything, I've seen that just being a good person gets you further than talent ever can. I'm excited lease read through his interview below and enjoy the work he's so generously shared with us as well!
1.) How did you get your start with your practice? Tell us a bit about who you are, where you’re from, and what you do!
First, I’d like to say hello Rashad and everyone who is viewing his weekly letters! I am super grateful for this opportunity to share with you guys a paint drop of who Jonathan J. Scialabba is. Well, I am 23 years old and I was raised in Jackson, New Jersey. I’m currently wrapped up in many different things. I take on the role of not only an artist but a Christian youth leader, a business entrepreneur, a financial planner and a sales coordinator for a growing company focused on charity. With all of these plates being spun, I focus on creatively expressing myself through servantship, leadership, learning and trying new things. I also love to build relationships! If we rewind my life though, you’d find a 6 year old Jon with a piece of paper and a pencil drawing intense and ridiculous action scenes. That’s where it all started for me! It was almost as if I was in love with creating, since I was created.
2.) Who or what, if anything, inspires your work the most?
I can’t say that my inspiration for art has been the same since the start. In the beginning, drawing and painting was just something I was naturally good at. It essentially fed a fire inside of me that told me I was good at something. I had fun creating. That something, my art, always put a smile on my face. It was like everytime I stepped back from what I had just created, fireworks went off in my heart. I’d be lying if I said the viewers “wows” didn’t motivate me to keep going as well. As the wrinkles on my forehead developed though, so has my inspiration for creating art. I guess you can say that it was the feeling and the fireworks that inspired me when I was young. Now, it’s who gives me that feeling. That “who,” is the one who created me. You guessed it!
God. He gave me a greater purpose behind the gift. Just as He has opened my eyes to see the world through a different lens, I’d like to do the same for others through my art.
3.) As creatives, we all struggle. What’s been your biggest hurdle to achieving your own personal “greatness”? On the other hand, what’s been your proudest moment or greatest achievement?
The greatest hurdle I’ve faced in achieving greatness or excellence in what I do, has been prioritizing my energy. I have a job that leaves me not necessarily drained, but tired. I’m also handling the other roles that I mentioned earlier. At the end of all that, my energy is definitely affected. I’m learning that I have to say no to more things, in order to have the energy to sit down and create. Some things are worth sacrificing for and one of those things for me is art. However, my proudest moment or moments have been when I have connected with such wonderful people and artists through the gift God has given me. One being, Rashad! I find it as an achievement towards my destiny and purpose when doors like this open, and genuine and helpful relationships push me towards where I’m supposed to be.
4.) What, if anything, do you think your work communicates? What’s the biggest takeaway that you’d like to see for viewers?
Truthfully, for a long time, I created for the fun of it. I didn’t have a clear idea of what kind of story I was drawing or painting. I thought maybe, my work would go around the world and I would become some sort of art star in the land of celebrity status. When I allowed God to enter my life though, everything changed. I now create to make Him famous, not me. Like the great C.S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia, once said, “At first I had very little idea how the story would go. But then suddenly Aslan came bounding into it...once He was there He pulled the whole story together.” That story showed us a depiction of love, sacrifice, courage, good, evil and much more! These are all things that give us a better understanding as to why we are here. I want to help give the same understanding and knowledge of who He is, to the people in our generation and the generations to come. God is innovative, bigger and more beautiful than we can ever imagine but If I can try to inspire and encourage others to be more like Him, I’ll die happily doing just that.
5.) What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a portrait of my girlfriend, Kelsley. Really, this piece started off as a gift for her birthday, but now its a total expression of how I feel about her. I swear, every time my pencil hits the paper, I feel like I’m creating something that’s been in my heart for years. I know that I’m never alone because God is always with me, but even He said, “It’s not good for man to be alone.” It’s like when we’re born, God creates specific people that are destined to come into your path. She feels like one of those people. Every time I sit down to draw her, it's like my heart has known for a long time. I can’t wait for you guys to see it! I’ll be posting it on my instagram very soon.
6.) What’s your next big event, project, or vision that you’re willing to share? Where, when, and how can we experience it?
I’m planning to publish my website before or right in the beginning of the new year as a launch to what I’m going to accomplish. The site will include art that I’d love to share with you guys as well as poems and writings that correlate with the new pieces! If you guys follow me on my instagram, you’ll be in the loop as to when exactly, it is published. I’m so excited to share what I love with you guys!
7.) Where can the good folks at home see more of your work?
For now, I would say follow me on my Instagram to see the latest things I’ve posted. Stay tuned though! I’m going to be creating the website like I mentioned as well as create a separate art account on Instagram. All of this information will be released on my personal account soon enough!
Thank you so much Jon for sharing your time and your talent! Stay tuned next month for more talent and be sure to follow Jon via Instagram!