Featured Artist Video: Jonathan Massullo
Sitting down to chat with one of our featured muralists, I had the pleasure of getting to know more about Jonathan Massullo’s art. Describing himself as someone who works in “lots of styles,” Jonathan has a graphic, almost illustrative, technique featuring substantial detail with street art influences. He chooses not to pigeonhole himself into one particular type of art though and says a lot of his work comes from “whatever he’s feeling that weekend,” which can range between graffiti, realism, and portraits. Typically working in pen due to his love of detail, Jonathan sees spray paint as one of his favorite mediums because it allows him to get outside and actively participate in his artistic process.
Jonathan is a middle school art teacher who was born in West Virginia and moved around a lot, so his artistic influences come from a variety of surroundings including nature and big cities. He says his biggest inspiration as an artist is “nature and it’s intertwinement of life and death,” which can be seen in a lot of Jonathan’s work as they feature meticulously detailed animals and plants. Although he grew up enjoying the illustrations in graphic novels and on punk rock albums, Jonathan says he was never completely inspired by another artist until he saw a Chuck Close painting in D.C. when he was seventeen. This experience completely “blew his mind,” and he still regards Chuck Close as one of his biggest artistic influences to this day. Jonathan is
also heavily inspired by American comic book creator, Sean Murphy, and ancient Japanese landscape scenes.
His mural at Imurj focuses on the “permanence of impermanence,” and he hopes the viewers are able to pick up on the graphic illustration and graffiti influences. Being in Raleigh has helped Jonathan surround himself with like minded individuals, and he loves how the street art and murals in downtown Raleigh help the city feel like a community, as if the “citizens have ownership over the community rather than having plain buildings everywhere.” Through his depictions of nature with street art and graphic influences, Jonathan brings something new to the art scene and he says “I just really hope people like it. I hope people enjoy seeing something different.” Be sure to check out the time-lapse video of Jonathan’s Raleigh mural art on Imurj’s building, and follow him on Instagram to keep up with his future work!
WRITER: TORIE TRACY