Jonone’s first monograph (English version), 1 000 copies published. 352 pages to discover the evolution of the man and the artist, from the streets to the galleries, from New-York to Paris, from graffiti to the abstract... Testimonies from the main actors in John Perello AKA, JonOne’s career (Shoe, Jay, Yoshi Omori, Agnès B, Magda Danysz, Willem Speerstra, etc.)... A voyage from lilac-lined Harlem passing through the Dominican Republic and beyond.
Evoking his early years, JonOne likes to invoke this legendary image, this original and founding memory: the dazzling stream of colour and speed left by a passing tagged metro car... Like a revelation. So it's going to be the street. Graffiti. Tunnels.
Victim of economic persecution, dominated by events and an environment that despised his African-American and Hispanic roots, a young John embraced subversion as he entered into resistance: he instinctively rebelled, rejecting as a whole a life that would never have been his, a life that would have symbolically killed him...
While he is currently devouring his second half-century with a great appetite, JonOne keeps this timeline alive with intact vivacity. “The streets overpowered everything. The street excited me” he recalls. John found his happiness and his encounters in the nooks and crannies of New York. In the excess, the noise, the fury, the halls of buildings and stairwells. Lucid, he quickly mourns his American dream: So John created a community and a new gesture: graffiti. “What can you do when every day you are banging into a wall? Hit your head, punch it with your fists, demolish it, blow it up? I chose to make my own, to appropriate the walls of the city.”
He was driven by an adolescent and incandescent energy. Technically, he was a self-taught boy in every way: “I never received an artistic education. At the time, when I was tagging trains in New York, I would never have imagined that I could express myself with the same intensity on canvas. The graffiti artists self-generate and it was by contagion that I arrived on the Tag scene. Since the school I attended was strict, and quite boring. I only remember one thing from that time. Only those on the streets were free. I wasn’t interested in what American institutions had to offer me: a nice suit, a nice house, an alienating job.”
Some meetings would prove to have more of an impact on the young man’s life than any kind of social determinism: “When my path crossed that of A-One, my path began to become more clear. He travelled a lot, especially in Europe. A-One also spent a lot of time with Jean-Michel Basquiat. A-One was the link between the street and the world of contemporary art. I listened to his travel stories and my eyes lit up with envy. At that time in New York, I was like many young people today. Jaded and aimless, I spent my time zoning out in front of my building. At that time, I also never left my neighbourhood. It was under the tutelage of A-One that a began to go to galleries and museums. To visit exhibitions, to feed and sharpen a certain vision of the society in which I was evolving, of the world around me. It was then that I started to value my acts of creativity, to take my work seriously. Not to classify it merely as vandalism but to elevate it to the rank of a movement.”
Weight: 4.6 kg.
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