John Andrew Perrello, aka JonOne, is a street artist and painter of Dominican origin who was actually born in New York in 1963. Having grown up in Harlem, surrounded by the blooming Graffiti scene, JonOne took a shot at graffiti early on. Being a self-taught creator, he did not consider the switch to painting on canvas as a major issue, in fact, most of his works show clear influence of the street life, graffiti, hip hop and modern painting. JonOne nurtures the concept of freedom above everything else, and this notion is reflected in his work where the freedom of movement, interpretation, shapes and colors all clash into a stunning composition. But his street art style goes well beyond mere tagging and expressions of vandalism, it actually elevates it to a full artistic gesture. His paintings effectively defy the “rules” of graffiti, they emanate an abundance of movement and colors, combining freestyle, hand-painted aesthetics with a sense of repetition reminiscent of textile patterns. Some of his paintings even go to a point of abstract expressionism, bringing authors like Jackson Pollock and Jean Dubuffet to mind.
The unique style of JonOne, which is full of overflowing strokes and colors, seems to have brought him worldwide recognition and renown. So much so that supposedly art dealers are even trying to sell fake paintings of JonOne for profit. The number of his sold artworks is just around 200 so far, with the total turnover reaching well over $2,000,000. His paintings are an invitation to a dynamic visual experience, and here we present you the 10 most expensive pieces of JonOne. There will be no blank spaces on the canvases of these paintings, and it might take you a while to soak in all the layers and the myriads of colors clashing and overflowing one another. JonOne’s unique style is so impressive that one of the famous football player/actor stars asked the artist to revamp his expensive car with his work. Chaotic and free, yet balanced and composed, JonOne has developed a distinct and recognizable style that will leave no one indifferent.
And if you think some of his other pieces should be priced higher, check out the full list of JonOne’s artworks here.
Created in 2013, the vibrant piece named Moi Aussi is an acrylic on canvas painting. As most of JonOne’s paintings, Moi Aussi (Me Too) defies the “rules” of graffiti and only displays the mere influences of the graffiti culture in his works. At first glance, the painting may seem like someone just randomly splattered a lot of colors onto a canvas, creating a visual disarray and simply a mess. However, after a while, the image hints away at a pattern which actually seems to be hidden underneath the plethora of layers of different pigments. The painting appears almost as if the entire piece was captured still in a moment of utter chaos and motion.
Another, somewhat chaotic, piece by JonOne displays an array of intertwined moves and crossover strokes. If the name of the piece A Dream: Then I Woke Up is to be taken literally, then this dream was probably some kind of a nightmare. The mayhem of brushstrokes invokes feelings of uneasiness and unrest, as if someone were trying to scratch their way out of a very turbulent dream. The piece doesn’t show JonOne’s usual display of vivid colors, and is instead focused on the white strokes which appear at the top layer of the painting.
Kapouf by JonOne is an interesting piece which displays a convergence of black paint and dark colors at the center of it, while the bright colors and an array of shapes seem to disperse around it. Upon closer examination, one might discern a few hidden faces, distorted and warped into the undistinguishable shapes which dominate the painting. It’s quite difficult to make out whether the blackness is being diffused and trapped by the surrounding colors, or if it’s actually only emerging and breaking out from the center. It almost makes the viewer wish to go deeper into it, to see what’s hiding beyond the plethora of twirling lines.
The amazing technique of the American artist once again shines in this piece named Jose Garcia RIP. There is a sense of liquidity in the glass-like mosaic pieces that constitute this painting. Even though some of the different shapes seem to be just out there for themselves, they actually fit in with each other, perhaps not as perfectly as puzzle pieces, but they make out an intricate composition nonetheless. The piece has so many details and things going on that one might get lost in it for quite some time, or even look back after a while and discover something completely new and unseen before.
As usually, the space in the paintings of JonOne is completely used, the empty or white does not exist. Strictly For Kings Or Better represents a gradual dripping sensation with the green color at the top, slowly transposing into yellow, orange, red and then a variety of blue, black and darker shades. At the bottom, the artist left all the colors to drip in a designed pattern. The oval shapes that seem to be fluctuating in the piece are reminiscent of eyes that are looking in all possible directions. Don’t know if the piece named Strictly For Kings Or Better really did go to a “king or better,” but it was sold well above its high estimate.
This piece dates back to 1994, and it shows a more “positive” explosion of colors in JonOne’s paintings. It is actually done as spray paint on canvas and its dimensions are 295.5 x 610cm, so it might as well literally be a piece of JonOne’s street art transposed onto canvas. The style is clearly fitting his earlier works, when the intricacy of the piece was not so “over-the-top” and over-crowded with strokes and lines, and the colors used are actually quite bright and joyful even.
Opposed to the bright and joyful colors of the previously mentioned piece, this Untitled painting from 2008 relies more on the darker spectrum and shows the dominant black which overflows the lower part of the painting. The details are immense and executed to minute perfection, the colors change in waves as they reach the bottom where the black ink seems to be ending the painting abruptly. The black strokes grow wider as they even cover the colorful dripping underneath it.
Another spray paint on canvas, this one dating back to 1991, actually doesn’t really contain the signature brushstrokes and shapes by JonOne. The 178.1 x 196 cm painting invokes a feeling of abstraction, and as always, emanates a sensation of chaos in the overflow of colors and layers. The final product appears as if it was made in a rush, without much premeditation. However, once you realize the immense amount of different colors, angles and layers used, you quickly come to a conclusion it must have taken the artist some time to compose such a magnificent piece.
Once again, going back to 1991 for the year of creation of this masterpiece by JonOne, named R.I.P. Rest In Peace. The acrylic on canvas is vibrant with scribble-like motions of the artist, oozing a plethora of colors underneath, over and in between all of the layers. In the artist’s signature style, there isn’t a blank space left on canvas as it displays an abundance of strokes and moves of the brush. The intensity of colors may not be as strong as in his later work, but the combination of the color positioning and choices make a perfect balance of a soothing and unresting feeling.
Finally, we reach the undoubtedly most expensive piece created so far by JonOne. Created for the occasion of the auction of Urban Contemporary Art, organized by Artcurial, the already expensive Rolls-Royce automobile was revamped by our chaotic street artist. The owner of the vehicle was the French actor and former international football player, Eric Cantona, and he specifically requested the renowned American street artist to embellish the car with his creative force. Eric Cantona decided to donate the customized 1984 Corniche model to the Abbé Pierre Foundation which campaigns and fights for the homeless. The full amount received from the sale was used to finance particular support projects and actions of the Foundation. The final hammer price reached the astounding $171,000, and definitely blew away all the expectations. If you’re into cars pimped out in street art style, check out our list of 10 best street art cars.
All images used for illustrative purposes only
Read Other Interesting Stories
The upcoming online exhibition brings together over 150 artists to raise funds for Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale's COVID-19 research.