John Andrew Perello, aka JonOne, Jonone or Jon156, is an American artist, most famous for his Graffiti-influenced art.
John “JonOne” Perello was born in New York, Harlem where elaborate and colorful Graffiti Art thrived. His parents wer from the Dominican Republic. Growing up in Harlem, his introduction to street art began at an early age, when he would see graffiti and tags on subway cars and city walls. Adopting these modes of expression, JonOne used the energy he felt from the city to find freedom in painting his urban landscape. While he has evolved from his early tagging days, his art continues to be inspired by the “Urban Jungle” from his youth.
“When you walk around, you see the names everywhere. Instead of reading newspapers like everybody else, I’d read graffiti on the streets every morning. I was curious about who was responsible and wanted to do it myself."
Juggling between failing at school and family troubles at home meant that this young man could not avoid the everyday life of endangered teenagers and could only embrace the education the streets themselves offered. He began tagging his name in graffiti at the age of 17, with a childhood friend. In 1984, he founded the Graffiti 156 All Starz, to bring together the passion of Graffiti artists. During those early years, he met his French counterpart, Bando, who invited him instantly to Paris. John browsed the Parisian sidewalk, accompanied by the pioneers of French Hip-Hop, and started to produce paintings in the heart of an open-aired workshop at the Éphémère hospital. Magda Danysz, Marcel Strouk and even David Pluskwa have exhibited his work. His pieces were priviliged enough to be displayed in Tokyo, Monaco, New York and Hong Kong.
After moving to Paris, he began his work as a painter on canvas in a workshop. Soon he made his name in Parisian artistic circles, through his works on canvas, and was exhibited in 1990 at Gallery 45 in Berlin, and took part in the exhibition Graffiti Paris, where his work is constantly exposed to the world. His work is among those that achieve the highest bids for Graffiti Art in the world.
JonOne’s paintings defy the “rules” of graffiti. With a tremendous sense of movement and color, his compositions combine freestyle, hand-painted aesthetics with a sense of repetition akin to textile patterns. His work has often been compared to that of abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock and French artist Jean Dubuffet. By layering precise strokes and vibrant color, he creates a uniquely balanced yet dynamic visual experience.
JonOne lives and works in Paris.
Images courtesy of the artist, Galerie David Pluskwa - Marseille and New Square Gallery - Lille
Photo Credits: Gwen Le Bras