My artwork deals with mythology, dreams and fantasy using a tableaux style to present quasi-historical and quasi autobiographical narratives. I approach these topics as a way of addressing forces that are out of my control.
I use a diorama approach to my paintings, referencing both altars and shrines as well as toy displays found in department store catalogs. The figures, objects and settings are all movable and invade the viewer's space. The work has a colorful humorist cartoon aesthetic, to both disarm the viewer and deal with the darker content.
I am a world building artist, creating serial narratives using a cast of invented characters comprising of apocalyptic warriors, angels, demons, monsters and superheroes as well as the realms or environments they occupy. The escapism of toys and religious cosmology have always beckoned me. Both rely on rejection of reality, accepted insanity, constant reinvention and rampant consumerism.
My influences range from visionary artist Henry Darger and Hieronymus Bosch to comic book artists such as the troubled Wallace Wood as well as modern Jehovah's Witness illustrations.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Jon Read graduated with a BFA in Painting from Kent State University in 2000 and His MFA at the University of Houston in 2018. Read’s experience ranges from formal training in religious art working as a production artist for the Catholic Church where he made large scale statues, icons, and shrines, to working as a concept artist for various TV and film projects. On the performance stage, Read is known as The Wiggins, a one man band crafting music that has been described as having and “end of times” sound, fusing rockabilly guitar riffs, punk rock overdrive, and heavy hip-hop beats.