Interview Series: Jules Arthur

Discover the exceptional draftsmanship of promising young artist Jules Arthur and take a peek into the beautiful mind of a fascinating New York man! 5 favorite paintings and Q&A!

“Chain Gang” Charcoal on paper, 2000.

For the first time I felt I had reached a level of draftsmanship that expressed a professional level I had not achieved before. Elements of gesture and refinement came together in this piece. It received a glorious review in the NY Times.

“Jack Johnson,” 2004.

Not so much for the image as for the overall execution of the piece. First of its approach I combined authentic textural elements into the painting to emotionally connect the viewer to the piece and the respective era I intended to transport the viewer to. In this case Vintage 1910. Distressed leather, canvas, wood, metal paper, typography. It sold to my first client of a certain echelon which spring boarded an incredible domino effect of collectors. Thanks Mr. Carter.

“Muhammad Ali,”  2007.

I was invited by David Wirtschafter to participate in Ali’s annual Celebrity Fight Night gala evening and auction. An auction to raise awareness and funds for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute in Scottsdale Arizona. Creating a  six foot piece that captured the spirit and exuberance of the young champ the painting was autographed by Ali and raised $30,000 for this special cause. A definite highlight in my career.

“Muhammad Ali,” 2006.

For this painting I was approached by Keep A Child Alive Alicia Keys’ organization that provides treatment, love and support to families affected by HIV/AIDS. I painted a dynamic image of Ali that raised $11,000 for Keep A Child Alive. It was an honor to work with Alicia and this cause as she showcased the painting on Good Morning America and spoke of the importance of the auction.

“Strange Fruit”  2007.

Music plays one of the biggest roles in regards to the subject matter and vibes of my work. Strange Fruit is the title of one of Billie Holiday’s most famous haunting bluesy tracks that describes an atrocity occurring in the mists of an American society. The painting being the first of it’s kind I was able to combine two passions of mine (music and art) into one painting that had the ability to visually speak the music’s lyrics in a pictorial sense. It captured the energy and sentiments of what Billie was singing about in such an intoxicating way.

Q&A

LF: What channels the emotion to drive you to paint?
JA: It’s an innate sense that generates my burning desire to create. Born with a certain eye / hand coordination I naturally took to painting and drawing since day one. With the love, nurturing and exposure to the arts from my parents my interests and abilities flourished in regards to arts. Coming from this foundation the emotion and drive to paint pours out of me regardless if I make a living off of it or not. As an adult my strong interests in music, history, cultural society and the human condition I find purpose in my doing. Like seasoning over beef stew it only makes it more savory.

LF: How to you plan for your subjects?
JA: It’s funny because I feel my subjects have planned for me. They are sitting there poised, observing me ,waiting for the perfect moment when their existence is revealed. Through the lyrics of a song, a passage in a book, a scenario in a film, a faded image in a photograph I meet my subjects with great anticipation. Sad thing about it is I wont be able to get to all the great subjects that could be translated into my work. Life is but a moment.

LF: How does music influence your art?
JA: Music is one of the most historically rich mediums in which expression in all of its glory is intertwined into the fabric of society.  It is where one can draw upon for communication, healing, debauchery, awareness, guidance, get lost because of, reminisce, find ones self, etc… It is all encompassing. How can one not be influenced from this bottomless well. The way in which I like to apply the concept of music to my work is to translate the lyrics, mood and message into a pictorial sense. To paint the lyrics of a song.  Literal or abstractly.

LF: How many hours a day do you work on your paintings?
JA: To be prolific I treat it with the diligence of a 9 to 5. But on occasions I paint into the early night hours. When I am in a zone, the music is hypnotic and the moon is set low there is no stopping.

LF: What do you have to say about humanity?
JA: At times you would think it is completely lost then some amazing happening transforms before your eyes on the train, the health club, grocery store or on a street corner and restores your faith in it. We are in strange times as view points between factions become increasingly more polarized. Ideological misguidance, fear mongering, and skulduggery of the day erodes the natural processes of humanity. Without humanity we are completely lost and domed as humans. I do believe humanity wins at the end of the day but it is scary to witness the dark layers people expose on the way to the humanity within.

LF: If you could give men one piece of dating advice, it would be:
JA: Men when dating you are to treat her as you expect to be treated.  You don’t need or think you have to have all of the answers but have a great sense of who you are.  Be open, confident and honest with your intentions. Have a respectful out look when newly entering someones life. The “all about me me me” attitude reeks of selfishness. No double standards. If you think you are “the shit”  hen be “the shit” for the right reasons not the games. If you operate in a foul manner then you deserve a foul woman. No shortage of foul folks so when you go looking into the abyss don’t go whining when she acts or treats you in that manner.  You get back what you put into it. Healthy dating prevails when two people have the same intentions so whether its short term casual or an authentic commitment a clear mutual understanding yields the most fulfillment in both individuals. Unfortunately you can subscribe to these beliefs 100% and still fall victim to the ugly side of dating. In some cases becoming the individual you set out to avoid. Do not indulge in the games, do not put your stock in “the battle of the sexes.” Just be true to yourself first then to other individuals. If the other person is not on the level you require move on and wash your hands of it. Quality of life demands it.

LF: What about for women?
JA: Switching gender within the above text I would not change a single word of advise to women. We are all humans capable of the same wonderful gifts or simplistic bullshit.

LF: What are you working on, either a finished work or in development that we can look forward to?
JA: Like any good chef I have a few things cooking. Working on a few projects simultaneously allows me to put one to the side and come back to it with fresh eyes. “Chocolate & Strawberries” is my latest completed work. One of the projects I am working on now is a piece that will help launch Craig William’s book “The Olympian.” The painting will be the center piece of the gala night’s event in Philadelphia this November. The muse is the book itself and the incredible story of John Baxter Taylor.

“Chocolate & Strawberries” 20″ x 30″  Conti drawing on Mylar. Completed two weeks ago.
It is elegantly framed and is available for sale. It was created for an Arterotic show @ Madame X in Soho.
The price tag reads $1500
.

LF: What do you want to be when you grow up?
JA: A person who contributes to life.

LF: How do you live FAST?
JA: Actually I try not to live fast. I am trying to slow the motor scooter down!  Gosh, who do I need to talk to?

LF: Fashion Talk? What’s your style?
JA: My style is to be uniquely stylish without the look of spending to much time on it. “Wow, that unexpectedly rocks. I’ll go with it.” I must admit I am a total hater when it comes to trends. When you walk down the street and see 10 people in your line of vision with the same trend on I just throw my hands up and shout “come on now.” The all dreaded band wagon.

LF: Art talk: what inspires you? Favorite artist or piece of art
JA: Life itself inspires me the most. The complex social fabric that makes us up as humans. The ups the downs the smiles the frowns. Favorite artists: Edgar Degas, Jenny Saville, Jim Jarmusch, Gordon Parks.

LF: Sex talk: what gets you off? Literally or figuratively.
JA: A look behind the eyes. To be completely lost in the moment. Wildly and passionately creative. Highly responsive.

LF: Travel talk: favorite destination(s) or stories you want to share?
JA: South East Asia was my favorite destination thus far. As magical as post cards convey and as stunning as the scenes are in the movie “The Beach” only the lens of one’s eyes can fully capture the magnificence of Thailand. Above and below the water line. Thailand’s spectrum of colors in only one square inch makes other places look like they only exists in black & white.


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