Jonathan H. Green

President at Jonathan Green Studios Inc

Location:
164 Market Street Ste 385, Charleston, South Carolina, United States
Company:
Jonathan Green Studios Inc
HQ Phone:
(843) 410-1383
Wrong Jonathan Green?

Last Updated 10/27/2017

General Information

Employment History

Jonathan H. Green & Associates P.A

U.S. Air Force

Education

Beaufort High School

textile design and construction , East Grand Forks Technical Institute

Bachelor of Fine Arts  - Art Institute of Chicago

honorary doctorate  - University of South Carolina

Affiliations

Member of Board of Visitors of the College of Arts and Sciences  - Howard University

Honorary Chair  - School of the Art Institute Bare Walls

Member of the Board of Directors of Share Our Strength Vice President  - United Arts Council of Collier County

Board Member  - International African American Museum

Board Member  - Share Our Strength

Board Member  - The Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts

Resident Advisor  - UC Santa Cruz

Artist, Activist, Historian  - TME Media Group LLC

Founder  - Creative Spark

Board Member  - Chicago Academy for the Arts

Founder  - Tabernacle Church

Web References  

Gaillard Performance Hall Foundation - Project Team

Jonathan Green
Born in Gardens Corner, SC, Mr. Green attended the Art Institute of Chicago, receiving a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in 1982. He is Artist and President of Jonathan Green Studios, Inc. since 1985. The first individual of Gullah ancestry to train at a professional art school, he has created an acclaimed body of work that documents this rural culture, which emerged among West African slaves who lived on the Sea Islands or along the adjacent coast of South Carolina and Georgia. Green's work has been widely exhibited in the United States and has been placed in the permanent collections of several museums, including the Morris Museum in Augusta, Georgia; the Afro-American Museum of Philadelphia; the Naples Museum of Art in Naples, Florida and the IFCC Cultural Center in Portland, Oregon. In 1996 Green received an honorary doctorate of fine arts degree from the University of South Carolina. He has received numerous other awards, including the Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award from the City of Beaufort, South Carolina, in 1993; the Clemente C. Pickney Award from the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1997; the Order of the Palmetto Award in 2002; and the Century of Achievement Award from the Museum of the Americas in 2003. Green also served as honorary chair of the School of the Art Institute Bare Walls in 2003. He is a member of Howard University's Board of Visitors of the College of Arts and Sciences; African American Research Library and Cultural Center National Advisory Council.

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Gaillard Performance Hall Foundation - Project Team

Jonathan Green
Born in Gardens Corner, SC, Mr. Green attended the Art Institute of Chicago, receiving a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in 1982. He is Artist and President of Jonathan Green Studios, Inc. since 1985. The first individual of Gullah ancestry to train at a professional art school, he has created an acclaimed body of work that documents this rural culture, which emerged among West African slaves who lived on the Sea Islands or along the adjacent coast of South Carolina and Georgia. Green's work has been widely exhibited in the United States and has been placed in the permanent collections of several museums, including the Morris Museum in Augusta, Georgia; the Afro-American Museum of Philadelphia; the Naples Museum of Art in Naples, Florida and the IFCC Cultural Center in Portland, Oregon. In 1996 Green received an honorary doctorate of fine arts degree from the University of South Carolina. He has received numerous other awards, including the Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award from the City of Beaufort, South Carolina, in 1993; the Clemente C. Pickney Award from the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1997; the Order of the Palmetto Award in 2002; and the Century of Achievement Award from the Museum of the Americas in 2003. Green also served as honorary chair of the School of the Art Institute Bare Walls in 2003. He is a member of Howard University's Board of Visitors of the College of Arts and Sciences; African American Research Library and Cultural Center National Advisory Council.

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Bessie_Mae_Framed

Jonathan Green | John W. Jones | Leroy Campbell | Carol A.Simmons | James Denmark
Artist: Jonathan Green After 10 years living in Chicago and more than two decades in Naples, Fla., painter Jonathan Green is coming home to the Lowcountry. The artist, widely known for his use of intense colors and emotional explorations of Gullah culture, will take up residence on Daniel Island by the end of July, he said. The move is partly a consequence of a restless artistic temperament, he said. Green, whose work has been featured at the Gibbes Museum and other institutions, is an art activist, promoting the idea that art education should be an intrinsic component of any school curriculum. "People just don't understand the importance of the arts," Green said. Black culture in particular is poorly represented in the world of visual arts, yet exposure to painting, a universal language everyone can understand, is a critical way to learn about identity, faith, history and contributions to society, he said. "We focus strongly on everybody else's culture," he said, adding that it's time to do a better job presenting black culture. Green, 53, said his passion is informed by his childhood, growing up in rural South Carolina and New York City and reared by his mother and grandmother. In those years, he did not see his own culture repre-sented in major U.S. institutions despite the significant contributions of black people, he said. Black culture still is woefully underrepresented, he said. He is involved in the development of an arts-infused curriculum for the new Sanders-Clyde Elementary School scheduled to open in January. He has designed a mural for one of the school's outer walls. Born and raised in Gardens Corner, a rural community not far from Beaufort, Green attended Huspah Baptist Church, a reincarnation of the Tabernacle Church founded by Robert Smalls. "No mother would not want her child to have human rights," Green said. Any mother who fails to stand up for her children white, black, straight, gay has abdicated her responsibilities, he said. The Gibbes long has provided Green with a forum for his art and ideas. The latest show dedicated to his work was the 2004 exhibition "Rhythms of Life: The Art of Jonathan Green." He has worked extensively in the Charleston area, creating a Spoleto Festival poster, joining panel discussions, producing his famous painting, "Seeking," which hangs in the library at Mepkin Abbey, and promoting the arts in the community. Jonathan Green Photo Essay For many people discovering the art of Jonathan Green for the first time, it's usually a case of surprised delight. Many people ask, "why have I missed knowing about such beautiful works". In fact those who profess to be expert collectors and upto date on all the popular artists are almost annoyed they have not discovered the art of Jonathan Green until now. Painter and Printmaker Jonathan Green was born and raised in the small Gullah community of Gardens Corner, located near the Sea Islands of South Carolina. From the moment of his birth, Jonathan Green was special child. He was born with a caul-an inner fetal membrane covering the head at birth-that some believe is a sign "that the child is touched by uncommonness and magic that will bring inordinate grace to the community". Jonathan Green was raised by his grandmother in a matriarchal society that relied heavily on oral traditions. As a special child, he was deferred to and taught many things about his people, their traditions and their beliefs. " I was always interested in things, in how crafts were done, who everyone's relatives were and the religious functions of the community," says Jonathan Green "I had all these stuff in my head but I didn't have a place for it until I started painting." The following article by Carroll Greene Jr. best describes the art of Jonathan Green. COMING HONE AGAIN ARTIST JONATHAN GREEN "My culture is in me, Jonathan Green says. "And my art is connected to the spiritual, mental and social concerns of the global environment. He seeks to recall the feel, texture and color of a way of life he knows is rapidly disappearing. And quite literally on some of the islands near his mother's home, a way of life is being bulldozed out of existence in the name of progress: condos, highways, fast-food chains and displacement of people. "I know I can't save a whole culture," laments Jonathan Green, "but as an artist I can help create greater awareness perhaps. Jonathan Green learned the Gullah dialect and culture as a child growing up in the home of his maternal grandmother. After leaving the area to study art, he has now returned to give the Gullah life he recalls his own aesthetic vision. Jonathan Green's most vivid memories of Gullah life are culled from the 160s. "My grandmother was a quitter.'' Jonathan Green recalls. One must bear in mind that the first bridge connecting one of the Sea Islands to the U.S. mainland was constructed only after World War II. Indeed, many of the island residents had never been on the mainland before that time. Jonathan Green, who was born in 1955, grew up in Gardens Corner, a farming community on the mainland near the South Carolina coastal town of Beaufort, where the Gullahs also live in large numbers. He is the first known artist of Gullah heritage to receive formal training at a professional art school, the Art Institute of Chicago, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in 1982. Jonathan Green readily admits that he did not always have much appreciation for his Gullah heritage. Like many others, he had to leave home and journey to faraway places to comprehend the value of his Gullah roots. Prior to living in Chicago, he served in the Air Force, which took him to North Dakota, Colorado and Texas. He also traveled through Europe and Mexico. After all of this, he reminisces, "I wanted to go back to my roots. The older people were dying, and I began to see people (the Gullahs) differently. I saw them as a people with a strong link probably the strongest link with Africa of any of the black American people. I had studied African Art, and I began to appreciate a certain uniqueness." Jonathan Green's background provides him with an insider's understanding of the Gullah people and their traditions. For instance, in Tales, the artist shows a group of men at the end of the day gathered under a huge live oak listening in varying degrees to the yarns of a storyteller. The scene is a continuation of the strong African oral tradition transplanted to America. Another painting, Banking Yams, illustrates an unusual method of storing yams by putting them in little huts made of dried cornstalks and straw. Through art, at least, such traditions will be preserved. Jonathan Green's Gullah art is a testimonial to harmony of style and content. Human figures, which have always been the artist's favorite subject, are rendered featureless in the Gullah paintings. Jonathan Green's earlier works showed considerable cubist influence, perhaps Picasso, Cezanne or others, though his strong interest in the human figures is evident. As Green matured, he shifted to figures on flat planes or solid color. Jonathan Green, whose preferred medium is oil, sometimes applied with a palette knife but more recently a brush, delights in the juxtaposition of one flat color field to another. His masterful combination of pattern and abstract color spaces are the stylistic basis of the Gullah series created between 1985 and 1988. "I enjoy what can be done by abstracting the figures to express subjective emotion through an understandable form," Jonathan Green said of his work. Observed Norman Pendergraft, director of the Art Museum of North Carolina Central University in Durham: "Jonathan Green's vivid effects of brilliant and warm color and his coordination of the abstracted human and abstract flat patterns meld into balanced and pleasing art." The hat is in the style of Gullah Basketry frequently used in daily life and scattered throughout Jonathan Green's paintings. A large sweet grass basket is a dominant image in the boat in The Escorting of Ruth. This painting, like Boat Men, reminds one of the distinctiveness of Jonathan Green's Low Country: You are almost always near the water. Jonathan Green recalls." Jonathan Green's use of color has influenced other artists. " I think it's wonderful to have another artist inspired by my work and taking his art to yet another step," Green says. Whether Jonathan Green will continue painting in a conscious Gullah tradition remains to be seen, he says. Right now the Gullah culture has a pull on him. "The sense of my art is in my culture," he said. "Penn Center Heritage Celebrations Resolution" to Jonathan Green for artistic rendition of Gullah life styles and artistic contributions Saint Helena Island, SC "Recognition of Outstanding Contributions To The Arts," Beaufort County Council Beaufort, SC JONATHAN GREEN A mature artist in his forties, Jonathan Green's art is noted in hundreds of reviews, and publications, the most noteworthy being Gullah Images: The Art of Jonathan Green by the University of South Carolina Press. Jonathan Green first found support for his interest in the arts at Beaufort High School near Gardens Corner, South Carolina where he was born and raised. When he left the state in the early 1970s to study at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, his acute historical awareness and propensity for documentiation were already inherently germinated. Since earning the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1982, Jonathan Green's work has progressed, integrated, and recorded essential elements of American culture comparable to that of other master artists such as Edward Hopper, Elizabeth Catlett, Romare Bearden, and Jacob Lawrence. The multicultural uniqueness and historical authenticity of Jonathan Green's paintings, prints, and constructions are skillfully extracted from his recollections of life among grandparents who raised him and other proud descendents of the rural African American community in South Carolina where he grew up. Collectively these works chronicle the vibrant lives of his extended family and neighbors who elected to live harmoniously with the land and each other. They affirm how nurturing and cohesive are the relationships and communities of the southern culture. The tales, stories, and rituals passed down for generations through oral traditions have been further authenticated and visually immortalized by Jonathan Green's interpretive, colorful adaptions in his paintings. A monograph published by the McKissick Museum in Columbia, South Carolina declares that "Jonathan Green's work comes from the Southern experience. In spite of the detailed contents of his elected subject matter, Jonathan Green's work evidences mastery of southern history and documentation, imbued with simplicity and integrity that refrain the contributions his immediate and extended family made to advance their community traditions, replete with refinement of purpose and resoluteness of spirit. Jonathan Green's art is grounded in his real life experiences with a profound respect for the sacredness of heritage. Strong compositional skills, brilliant expressions of color and innovative use of materials reflect his mastery of modernist techniques. Love for the human figure and the placement of his subjects in harmony with their community and environment are among many of his universal strengths as an artist Jonathan Green's work reflects the everyday life of African-Americans in the South Carolina Lowcountry. Born in 1955, he was raised in Gardens Corner where he learned to speak the Gullah dialect and developed a strong feeling for his cultural heritage. As a child, he lived with his grandparents and visited his mother in New York during his vacations. She had moved there seeking better opportunities. He lived with her for several years during his preteen years before returning to South Carolina. Like many young people, Jonathan Green had no specific career plans after completing school. College was not a possibility. Jonathan Green liked to draw, but was sure he could not support himself as an artist. His experience living out of state had given him a taste of what the world outside South Carolina was like. So Jonathan Green joined the military in order to obtain an education and to have the opportunity to travel. The military recruiter had told him he would be able to attend illustration school while in service. However, despite his artistic ability, Jonathan Green was assigned the job of cook and sent off to North Dakota. In an interview he recounted his depression over what seemed a hopeless situation. But he discovered a technical college nearby in Minnesota where he was able to study illustration. His teachers encouraged him to visit Chicago with its art museums and to consider a career in art. After completing military service, he attended the Art Institute of Chicago and earned a bachelor's degree in 1982. While enrolled in school, he worked part-time as a security guard at the museum. This enabled him to study great art at the job he needed to support himself. Learning about great art, he first imitated others and then found his own direction, painting the world of his youth. By the time he graduated, he was becoming known as an artist and became able to support himself with his painting since that time. Jonathan Green paints the scenes and the people he knew as a child, pictures of what may be a vanishing way of life. His colorful paintings in acrylic and oil have helped to preserve the Gullah culture. His work ranges from scenes of everyday life, such as a girl walking a dog, a woman hanging out laundry, and men picking oysters, to special occasions such as a wedding or a christening. While Jonathan Green paints the world in which he lived as a youth, his work also focuses on the problems of living in a multi-racial society today. Jonathan Green has had many shows and exhibits, including one at the McKissick Museum in Columbia in 1993 that traveled to a number of states. He has co-authored a successful children's book. His work has also appeared on calendars, posters, and on the cover of a cookbook. His paintings can be found in the permanent collections of a number of museums, including the Greenville County Museum of Art in Greenville, S.C., the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, Ga., the Norton Gallery Museum in West Palm Beach, Fl., the McKissick Museum in Columbia, S.C., and the Philharmonic Center for the Arts in Naples, Fl. He has received a number of awards recognizing his work and his civic contributions. He received six awards for contributions to the arts from civic and other organizations, was a nominee for the NAACP's National Image Award, received the Alberta Peacock Award in 1996, and was the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Fine Art from the University of South Carolina in 1996. He was listed in Who's Who in American Art in 1995-96. Jonathan Green has also been a contributing member of the community. He was a member of the Board of Directors of Share Our Strength, a community organization that helps to combat hunger, Vice-President of the Collier County United Arts Council in Naples, Fl., and a board member of the Chicago Academy for the Arts. A new book that reproduces a number of his most beautiful paintings showcases his work. Gullah Images: The Art of Jonathan Green demonstrates how Jonathan Green's work has grown and changed over the years. Green now lives in Naples, Florida, in an area that he says is very similar to the South Carolina Lowcountry. When Jonathan Green came into the world, he brought with him an inescapable sign of his specialness. He was born wearing a caul, an inner fetal membrane that covered his head at birth. In some societies, this is interpreted as a token of great luck or that this child will never know death by drowning. But in the Gullah society along the South Carolina coast, it insures that the child is touched by an uncommonness and magic that will bring inordinate grace to the community. From the beginning, Jonathan Green was marked and grew up known as "the child of the veil." Jonathan Green, an artist indigenous to Beaufort County, South Carolina, is in the middle of a career that finds him painting the autobiography of his childhood. Jonathan Green paints what made him, the source he issued out of, the forms that inspired his rare sensibility. It is this singular, unshakable vision that gives his work its aura of astonishing originality. Each one of Jonathan Green paintings looks as though it were a commemorative stamp imagined out of the backcountry of Jonathan Green's unconscious. Jonathan Green is the immaculate, real thing, and his art is a cry of pure love for his community, his family, and the geography of the Carolina Sea Islands. In his art, Jonathan Green is that rarest of twentieth-century painters in that he dares to tell a story. There is a strong narrative flow that binds his work to a central theme. By capturing the essence of the Gullah culture that raised him, there is a sense of both celebration and rediscovery to all his work. His paintings contain some of the primitive, raw beauty I once saw when I visited the cave paintings of our Cro-Magnon ancestors in the Dordogne Valley of France. They possess that kind of mythic grace and nameless grandeur that I observed in those thrilling, ill-lit French caves filled with fabulous images over ten thousand years old. Like those anonymous cave painters, Jonathan Green paints what he considers sacred and essential and mysterious in his own life. It remains a primitive urge for the artist to search for a definition of self that he can live by, and Jonathan Green chose to illuminate the life of his community along Highway 21 from Gardens Corner to Yemassee. By narrowing his vision so finely, he discovered himself as an artist and made his works both magisterial and universal. By returning to the source, he discovered the inexhaustible mainstream of his life's work. Because he so fully understands what he is doing and why, there is never a false note registered on his canvases. Few painters can match Jonathan Green's shining authenticity. If you study his work carefully, you can detect the peacock-tail love of color found among Haitian painters, then on a much deeper level, you begin to sense the timelessness of Africa. The influence of African culture is still found today in Beaufort County in rich and delightful ways and the imprint of the lost and scattered tribes is still written on the faces of the Gullah people. Jonathan Green himself possesses a face of exceptional beauty that makes you think of exiled princes. When he speaks of his dreams, you know that he sometimes paints from images stolen from his sleeping life. You also know that he dreams in fabulous colors. His use of bright colors is reckless enough that he could easily land a job painting new species of parrots and songbirds in some undiscovered rain forest. The Gullah people depicted in Jonathan Green's world look like they got dressed while staring at rainbows. His art is a love song to his past. You imagine him singing as he paints, an ode to joy and the bright astonishment of memory. In the South where Jonathan Green and I were born, we could not have sat together on the same bus, drunk from the same water fountain, attended the same school, sat in the same waiting room at a doctor's office, worshiped the same God together, or voted in the same election. Jonathan Green's art took me directly back to that time when I steered a boat out across the marshes of Beaufort County to teach everyday. Here were the oystermen I passed in the river, the baptisms in the small creeks, the yards full of children and chickens and dogs, the companionship of women, the wisdom of old men, the dignity of cattle and hogs-all of it coming out in a great tide of artistic labor. He was painting the life that he had led and the one I had been allowed to visit for a single year of my life, and like a fine novelist, Jonathan Green was getting all the details right. One Saturday in March of 1996, I drove Jonathan Green through the lowcountry that we both cherish and both use as the basis for our art. I wanted to see his Beaufort and he showed it to me as we rode out toward Yemassee to his father's trailer and an amazing yard filled with derelict cars and bizarre, oddball collections of castaway fencing and building supplies, as hunting beagles barked at us from homemade pens. His grandmother's trailer was nearby and she welcomed us inside and instantly we were engulfed in color as though we had entered into a Byzantine tent in a story of the Arabian nights. An artist was destined to come from a family with such passion for color and sense of form. Then we drove among his mother's people and I learned where Jonathan came by his extraordinary gentleness, his all-encompassing serenity. Many were farmers and they lived in simple but lovely houses off the main highway with wood-burning stoves and pictures of Jesus on the wall. I sat with his mother and aunt in Burton, South Carolina, and they talked about the early signs of Jonathan's artistry surfacing throughout the long, growing seasons of his childhood. In many of the houses we entered, there was an original oil painting that Jonathan had given to some of his favorite relatives as a gift. We paid a special visit to his maternal grandmother's grave near the church of his childhood and he showed me the remnants of that church that had been destroyed during Hurricane Gracie. Jonathan described the rituals of total immersion in the saltwater creek near the church and the fasting for seven days and nights in the lowcountry woods that his congregation required of any candidate for baptism. He was telling me that his art had a spiritual origin intimately related to his mission as an artist to preserve the Gullah culture that had nurtured and cherished and brought him into manhood. No one we met that day, as we went from house to house along the country road off Highway 21, had any doubts about the great talent of Jonathan Green. Most had been there or close by on the day of his birth and knew that his gift had come preordained, that his artistry was written into the symbols and myths surrounding his birth, and that extraordinary things were expected of the "child of the veil" by the Gullah people who knew how to read the secret signs of the lowcountry.

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