I met Jonathan Manning, @BladeTheArtist, via Twitter. He immediately embraced the idea of doing an interview. I am excited because Jonathan promotes his art using online video. He is self-described techy and his entire artistic journey is online. Jonathan’s answers reflect a certain playful outlook on life. I hope you enjoy his art as well as finding out more about this artist who has embraced communications technology in such an interesting way.
I use acrylics, watercolors and spray paints in my books and on canvas during my weekly live broadcasts illustrating the creative life.
Tell us something you want to say about yourself, it can be anything. I have a degree in Biology and have been a member of Mensa since I was 13. I have a deep love for all things “techy”.
I have been a closet artist my whole life. I have always kept sketchbooks and journals. However, at a very young age someone dear to me told me that what I was doing wasn’t “pretty” and that I couldn’t really be an artist. I was crushed. I quit openly practicing. It didn’t stop me from trying to do it secretly, though. My secret obsession with blank books and pens has cost me a fortune over the years. When I say it “cost me”, that’s because I never followed through with it. I would buy them and use maybe two or three pages and then they would go into a closet until they were eventually thrown out as part of a cleanup.
In 2007, my grandfather died, and then in 2008 my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It turned out that hers was just a tumor and was completely operable, but the brush with death was all I needed to open my eyes to the fact that I was missing what precious little life I have left. I decided to start keeping a sketchbook again. Interestingly enough, that entire journey is online. I have shared every moment of that at artisticbiker.com.
Describe your ideal day. On my perfect day, I awake to my beautiful wife and we make love. I run two miles, perform 50 sit-ups, 50 pushups, and 20 chin-ups. Then I shower, and do my morning drawing and music exercises. I go downstairs and fix breakfast while she wrangles the kids. After breakfast, I walk to the studio where I prep one canvas, work on the composition of one work, and put the finishing touches on another piece. I take a break and check my email and follow up any phone calls or messages that need tending to. Then it’s back to the works in progress. At lunch, I walk home and eat then take a short nap. I run errands in the afternoon and return to the studio around 5 to prep it for the evening classes. This is also when the rum and coffee starts. I teach until 7 when my wife and family bring me dinner. We eat in the tea garden at the studio and discuss the day’s events. I return to finish up with our studio members and shut everything down by 9. Afterwards, I clean up and walk home, where I read to my children and tuck them in and then go to bed.
What inspires you? Nature, the female form, and other oddities. I truly try to see everything through fresh eyes every day. I’m especially fascinated by extreme close up views.
What kind of music do you like? My MP3 player has everything from The Muppets to Metallica. I like how the art changes when the shuffle brings up Garth Brooks We Shall Be Free right after Pink’s Fun House. Mostly, however, I like music I can sing when the music isn’t there.
If you were an animal, what kind would you be? Are you kidding??? Opposable thumbs, higher brain power, communication, art, tools… Who wouldn’t want to be an otter??
What advice would you give the 12-year-old version of yourself if you were able to do so? The only voices that really matter are the ones in your head. Make them say good things about you.
Describe a way you promote your artwork. Aside from filling out interview forms, I host a u-stream show. I develop works in stages and don’t produce the largest forms unless *I* really like it or there is a HUGE amount of interest in it. That way, when it’s painted it will either sell immediately, or be something that I would want hanging in my house.
What is your medium and why do you use it? Acrylic, watercolor, and spray paint. I like the lack of control and the amount of finesse required. I work in a lot of layers and don’t think I would have the patience to do that with oil, but I might try it again someday.
What is your favorite subject for your art and why? Interesting things from unusual angles. Those kinds of paintings always look abstract unless the viewer is extremely intimate with the subject matter. You also have to be really on your game with colors and composition when you do that because MOST people won’t see it right away.
Or dinosaurs. I love to paint bugs and dinosaurs. Tough call on that.
You can find and follow The Artistic Biker, Jonathan Manning online at
Thank you Jonathan for taking the time to answer my questions.
NOTE: Gyotaku, literally fish rubbing, is an art form attributable to Japanese fishermen, who would apply ink directly to their catch and make a rubbing on paper. –Jake Beckman, Artist, AKAJake.com Come Experience the Art!
The artist obtained permission to use Jonathan Manning’s images in this blog, but that permission does not extend to anyone else. Jonathan Manning retains reproduction and publishing copyrights to his materials. You may not copy, redistribute, imitate, derive OR otherwise use these images in any form without the explicit written permission of Jonathan Manning.