An Interview With Artist Jordan Domont

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Jordan Domont is a Portland artist who paints stunning and colorful portraits which seem to melt off the canvas, if “canvas” is even applicable. I’ve yet to see one his paintings in person, but even as digitized, shrunken heads his portraits of friends and celebrities are compelling. He was kind enough to answer a few questions.

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First things first. How did you come to paint a picture of former Congressman and current Libertarian Party presidential candidate Bob Barr?

It was commissioned by Atlanta Magazine.

I first saw your paintings on Myspace. They appeared among a small network of Portland friends as their default photos. How often do you get to paint pictures of your friends and acquaintances?

Not at all anymore. Last year I was given a solo show at Local 35 on Hawthorne, with only a couple months to prepare and no real body of work. Justin the owner and curator saw a couple of portraits I had done in school and wanted a body of work in that particular style. So that is when a painter’s friends have to step up to the plate and pose. I did something like 12 busts of all of my interesting looking friends.

I’ve searched around the web seeing if I could find what media you use in your paintings and it’s been a little confusing. I’ve seen reports of glass, Dacron, drawing ink, acrylic. Care to explain?

I use water-based drawing ink on mylar.

Did your aesthetic evolve slowly or did you arrive at this method suddenly?

I think everyone’s particular “style” or technique constantly evolves with each new piece. I have been using this medium for a couple of years now and am always trying new things with it as my confidence grows. But it is a very unpredictable medium and that’s what is so exciting about it.

Your style is incredibly singular, yet when I first saw the paintings I felt an anxious suspicion that they might have been generated by software processing digitized photographs. I was excited to find out they weren’t when someone on Myspace wrote me back. Do you use a computer at all in your work?

I have to use a computer to find reference material. The illustrations themselves are done entirely by hand, but I do have to scan them when finished. Then I use photoshop to clean the image up and resize it in order to send it off to the art director.

Do you reside and work in Portland?

I live and work out of my apartment that is basically a studio, in South East Portland. I work twice a week at the Aalto Lounge on Belmont, in order to pay for my 8 alimony checks that I write every month.

Do you feel you are part of a community of artists?

I really don’t feel part of any kind of club or community as an artist in Portland. I just feel normal. It is a beautiful thing to be completely surrounded by creatives at all hours of the day. I feel like it is the only place in the country I could possibly live. It is at least the only place I could afford to live.

Are you showing your work anywhere right now in Portland or abroad?

Not showing work at all, I have just been focusing on freelance illustration work.

Any exciting new projects you’d care to hype?

Right now I have the awesome opportunity to do two different portraits of Stan Lee, for the cover and interview in Virgin/Atlantic’s magazine “Roger” in London. It is going to be a blast painting a man who’s work pretty much got me interested in art itself. Comic book characters were the first things I remember drawing as a kid.

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See more of Domont’s work at Jordandomont.com

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