Thousand Oaks, USA. 1986
Jonni Cheatwood is a Brazilian-American visual artist working across many different disciplines including painting, photography, graphic design and textile art. Cheatwood’s work describes the broad visual ideas stemming from still life, abstraction and minimalism, but his approach is a wonderful amalgam of his artistic disciplines in which veritable scraps of canvas are hand-sewn together before his idiosyncratic mark-making is thereafter applied to the newly created surface. Denim, mesh, burlap sacks, t-shirts, blankets, t-shirts, screen-prints, and even his father’s worn leather satchel have all made their way into his work at one time or another. The graffiti-like scribbles, scratches and primitive colours of Cheatwood’s work is the controlled chaotic work of an erudite expressionist brought up on Saturday morning cartoons; suggesting deconstructed contour lines and bright, unforgiving primary colours often applied directly from the tube or oversize pastel. Beginning with direct marks, squiggles and doodles, Cheatwood reacts and builds up his compositions over time, working with the studio detritus that can build up as a result of working on the floor and from the physical nature of his process – allowing this to become part of his formation of the work. The many references housed in his work – whether intentional or unintentional – seem like a patchwork of Cheatwood’s own autobiography – and the works come across like humorous albeit highly personalized recollections of his life at various times.