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Jon Windham | Scratchboard Artist

If you ask Jon Windham how he discovered his passion for art, you might be entertained with a story of a little boy plopping down on a sofa, feeling something lumpy and squishy, lifting the sofa cushion only to find this passion staring back at him. He continues to have a short, and very animated conversation with his passion for art. “I’ll be following you around for a little while, say, for the rest of your life or so”, the passion tells him. “Don’t worry though”, the passion continues, “I mostly keep to myself, showing up when the light bulb turns on, unless I become necessary or your feelings get too big, or you’re going through something painful, or wonderful, or both.” Jonathan’s brilliant imagination is as unique as his works of art.

Growing up, Jon practiced different art techniques, including drawing, painting, stitching, and many others, but also dabbled in snow-sculpting and film animating. His first film, at age 9, called “The Dead Cat” won him the Most Creative in Utah, in 1984. He took every art available in Junior High and High School. Jon says he was “surrounded by really cool, creative friends and his brother”. After graduating from the Colorado Institute of Art, in Denver, in 1995, Jon spent time learning and regaining his focus. In 2007, Jon self-published a illustrated book called “Schism”. There are “a couple of copies probably still lingering on shelves in Book People, in Austin, Texas”. Presently, Jon is “finally pursuing the dream of making a living in art and illustration”.

Jon says his motivation for his work is simply: storytelling. “It always comes back to wanting to tell a story of some kind. Or better yet, cause a story to happen in the head of the person who is looking at my work.” To him, stories are one of the most graceful and crucial ways we have of talking to one another, “the best way to learn and to teach and to be close to other people”. His goal is to make images that you experience by “listening with your eyes”. “With the Eyes that are featured here on, my goal is to tell the story of creatures that are in horrible trouble, while simultaneously telling the story of how incredibly beautiful they are.”

Jon is inspired by many different artists, and especially his friends! “Jana Swec and Shea Little, Meg Mascarenas, Steven Garcia, Amarin Enyart, Jeremy Robards, and my brother Dave in particular.” Also inspiring are “people at restaurants that make amazing meals, people that make really great films, scientists discovering beautiful things, along with arborists rescuing plants, lucky photographers, and sincere musicians”. Some of his favorites in the “proper” art world, he says, are “Andy Goldsworthy, Andrew Wyeth, René Magritte, Chuck Close, Toulouse Lautrec, and Leonardo Da Vinci”.

Currently, Jon is working on finishing up the Eyes collection. His technique with scratcboard is impeccable and detailed. “My goal was to do around 25 of them, and once they’re all scratched I’d like to make a little book and keep generating money for the non-profits.” He loves books, or books as art, he says. He has several ideas for graphic novels, or picture books.

Jon has an eclectic art collection, “just a couple of pieces from close friends and my brother, and a few things that my parents acquired over the years”. He loves “anything that’s beautiful and weird and book-shaped”. To him, it is very important that his art is affordable, “I like to have things that my friends and family and people can pick up and enjoy without having to spend a lot of money. It’s really good to be able to share with people in a way that’s proportionate to their means.” Jon obviously lives by his own motto: “Love. Be good. Be human. Make. Share.”

written by Jennifer Shaver

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