Jonathan Thunder, "Jiibaakwe Giizis: The Cooking Moon Makes Hangover Mac", acrylic on canvas, 40" x 30", 2018
Artist statement on "Jiibaakwe Giizis": "The 13 month calendar of the Ojibwe people sometimes marks a time of year that a certain traditional food will be harvested. Such as the Maple Sap Boiling Moon or the Ricing moon. There are legends and ceremonies that happen during a particular month of the year. Often a certain creation story will tell and teach the traditions and cultural significance surrounding the food and/or ceremony.
My personal work often contains vignettes based on the urban-contemporary traditions I am accustomed to having grown up in Minneapolis during the 80’s and 90’s., Some traditions and practices which are often far removed from the traditional Ojibwe culture that I have been learning more about in the course of my life. The personal tradition I’m referencing in this work is the Sunday pot of hangover mac. A tradition in which I’ve crafted into a creation story of my own making. Jiibaakwe Giizis (cooking moon) creates the stars with hangover mac. The perfect meal after singing and dancing the night away across the neon, milky ave.
Ingredients: Moonlight, tomato soup, elbow macaroni, onions, hamburger, hair of the dog and a little magic."
Jonathan Thunder, "The Doctrine of Rediscovery", acrylic on canvas, 72" x 48", 2019
Artist Statement on "The Doctrine of Rediscovery": "I have taken part of various active movements that are bringing Native peeps back to their roots by removing cultural damage created by the Christian church and government displacement of Indigenous tribes justified by the Doctrine of Discovery, broken treaties and erased history.
Our voyage through this planet makes more sense when we know who we are. I’ve learned that first hand, after a lifetime of learning, what it means to be of Indigenous heritage in a country that is designed around removing me.
The red cloth ties represent path markers to our ancestral ways. The little fellow with the astronaut helmet in the painting is somewhat of a self portrait. He also represents all of those who are finding the way back home, back to Indigenous food, Indigenous language and Indigenous spiritual well being."
Jonathan Thunder is a multi-disciplinary artist currently residing in greater Minnesota, who works in canvas painting, animation, film making and 3D projection mapping. He has attended the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM and studied Visual Effects and Motion Graphics in Minneapolis, MN. His work has been featured in many state, regional, and national exhibitions, as well as in local and international publications. Thunder has won several awards for his art/animation work on multiple projects.
At the core of my work is a story line that reflects my personal lens as a filter to the social, political, environmental and spiritual climate around me. I seek to create imagery that is surreal and imaginative by incorporating influences from the structure of my dreams, the culture around me and the direction my life is headed on any given day. I consider my work “vignettes” or short stories within a larger ongoing narrative that evolves as I evolve.
Canvas painting has been one of my chosen mediums since the beginning of my introduction to art. I believe in the simplicity of a moment captured. I like the viewer to experience a little mystery in viewing the images so they become invited to create a portion of the narrative for themselves. I prefer to work large and this allows me to fully explore the subject or concept in full detail and sometimes in real life scale. I’ve always been attracted to the way a large canvas can fill your peripheral vision while you walk through the details and dialogue.
I am also influenced by the culture of my other practice as an animation artist. I wouldn’t consider myself a cartoonist, I feel like each animation I make is a one time film that exists on its own terms. But I have been inspired by the cartoons of my childhood in the 80’s and 90’s. This influence can be seen in paintings like Supernaut and the Pollinators Return to the Skythat somewhat resembles an animated rabbit that I grew up watching on Saturday mornings. I have been able to use my animation practice to create stories with an intent to speak openly about matters important to me and experimental films represent my journey in the form of surrealism. I enjoy merging my painter self with my film maker self to create art that lives and pushes the boundaries of a space. 3D projection mapping and digital canvases are the result of this process. Paint, pixels, light and space allow me to create in a way that makes sense to me.
Abbreviated CV. Please visit Jonathan's website here for a complete resume and expanded information.
2005 Bachelors in Visual Effects and Motion Graphics, Minneapolis, MN
1999 – 2000 Institute of American Indian Arts – Studio Arts Program, Santa Fe, NM
Suspension of Disbelief, Finlandia University Gallery, Hancock, MI
Manifest’o, Tweed Museum of Art, Duluth, MN
New Heroes from the Old World, MacRostie Art Center, Grand Rapids, MN
Suspension of Disbelief, Duluth Art Institute, Duluth, MN
Peripheral Vignettes, Duluth Art Institute, Duluth, MN
The Politics of Dreams: Defying Dilettantism, Edge Center for the Arts, Bigfork, MN
Underwater Dreaming Bunnies, Zeitgeist Center for the Arts, Duluth, MN
Paintings and Short Films, Trepanier Hall, Duluth, MN
Solo Exhibit, Kruk Gallery, University of Superior Wisconsin, Duluth, MN
Paintings by Jonathan Thunder, Two Rivers Gallery, Minneapolis, MN