Today we’d like to introduce you to Jonathan McAfee.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Jonathan. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I grew up in Indianapolis, IN as a child of the 90s. My interest in art began when I was nine years old and my mom enrolled me and my older brother in private art classes. From there it just grew as I took every art class my high school offered. I was even fortunate enough to be a part of an art tour through Italy and France when I was 16. I attended the Herron School of Art & Design which is part of Indiana University where I obtained my BFA in Painting & Drawing along with a minor in Art History in 2006.
I had my ups and downs following college with a drug addiction to heroin that forced me to put my art on hold for a few years. After completing a long-term treatment program in Bloomington, IN, I moved to Flagstaff, AZ in 2010 to start fresh. I met the woman who would later become my wife while walking the downtown streets of Flagstaff after only being there a couple of weeks. Feelings developed quickly and so we decided to move our lives to Indianapolis, back to where I came from.
Being back in my hometown and with a sense of purpose and determination, I began painting and drawing again. Participating in both group and solo exhibitions quickly gave me a network of art buyers and collectors, allowing me to pursue my art full-time.
My wife and I decided that after spending five years in Indianapolis that it was time for a change of scenery and so we packed up our lives and drove west to Denver in the Fall of 2015. I found an art studio in the downstairs of an art gallery off Santa Fe Dr. and began trying to make new connections in my new city.
In the Winter of 2018, we decided that the city wasn’t where we felt called to be and so we moved to Evergreen to be closer to the mountains and further away from city life. My art studio is currently here in Evergreen located within the Evergreen Design Center.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Nothing about being a professional artist is smooth. There are constant obstacles that pop up that need to be figured out. Where in most businesses you have many different employees with many different titles accomplishing a variety of tasks, as an artist it is up to me to handle everything. Fortunately, my wife is very supportive and has a good eye for these types of things and offers her expertise when I am overwhelmed.
The hardest part of what I do is the overall uncertainty of everything. I may have a very successful month where I have sold a lot of original paintings or I may have scheduled new commissions, or there’s a chance that I may not sell anything. The uncertainty is what can keep me awake at night.
We’d love to hear more about your art.
I am a professional artist who specializes in creating colorful, expressive paintings of people and places. I use oil paint along with pastels to make visually stimulating artworks that capture people in their everyday life. I am most proud of the fact that I get to do what I love for a living. Although portraiture and figurative painting is making a huge comeback recently, I believe that I am one of the only artists that is making exciting and vibrant oil portrait paintings in the Denver area. I also take on custom commissioned paintings when my schedule allows it.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I really owe most of the credit to my wife and best friend Sarah. She has always believed in me and accepted me from the start. Without her, I really don’t know where I would be. Next, I just am fortunate to have very encouraging and supportive parents who always allowed me to be who I wanted to be. I was never pushed in any direction when I was young; they always wanted me to explore whatever I was passionate about.
I also owe a lot to a handful of fellow artists in Denver who were instantly supportive and encouraging when I first moved to Colorado and who have become my good friends and peers.
- I have original paintings that range in price from $200-$4,500, so I really have something for everyone.
- Website: http://www.jonathanmcafee.com/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jonathan_mcafee/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jmcafee/
Artist photograph by Chayce Lanphear