John Paul O’Grodnick, aka JPO, has put the Bronx on the map for contemporary art making headlines with his recent deal to create one-of-a-kind, limited edition jeans for Gap.
Growing up in an artistic household in Connecticut, JPO says his dad’s music career and his older sister’s interest in New York art, was his early-age inflection point towards becoming an artist.
“It was the only way to express myself and to get what was in my mind, out”, the artist adds.
While barely in elementary school, JPO first picked up a spray can in the 1990’s and still likes to use them today in his mixed media pieces layered with markers, acrylics and other tints.
“I mix a lot of styles, vibes, and a lot of different colors. I am inspired by everything I see, everything I do and everything I hear. It’s just happening faster than I thought it would and it’s just awesome,” John said.
What is “Not Kansas” all about?
As a child growing up in CT and coming to the city frequently with my Dad, I fell in love with the vibe. Then I moved here two years ago and found it was different from all those years ago. Therefore, I started to write NOT KANSAS on the maps down in the subway, meaning Not in Kansas anymore. From there things took off and now I feel like people take something different from it all the time.
You describe your work as “beautiful dirty industrial street art”. Aside from the imagery part of it, what else do you strive to deliver with your art?
My main goal is to deliver my message. Additionally, I strive to create and expose the feelings of others. Lastly, I love stimulating the minds of others.
You recently participated in a solo live painting event at the Gap store. What was the purpose of the event? In addition, what was it like to collaborate with corporate America?
The purpose of the event to me was to broaden my audience commercially and do something a little different then I’m used to. I love a good challenge. The collaboration with the Gap was one of the easiest and most professional experiences I’ve had.
Catch the artist (and others) in his group show opening Tuesday, 06/22 6pm – 10pm at Arlene’s Grocery: 95 Stanton St, new York, NY. For more details click HERE.
1-2 quote credit Eyewitness News 7