About

IMAG3543-1 I’m an artist. Mainly a painter, sometimes a filmmaker, often a performance artist, but really I’ll experiment with almost any form of expression.  First, above all though, I am a painter. I started this website in 2012, a year that really was, in many ways, the end of the world for me. I began it with these words, scrawled down right after my lover, muse, and partner-in-crime had died of cancer and the bank had taken our only home while he was dying in the hospital:

Out beyond the rubble and debris of industrialized civilization, past glorious splashes of graffiti strewn across the concrete landscape, out on the other side of the tracks… This is where I have come now, a refugee searching for meaning. I’m here because I have nowhere else to go. I do this. And God help me, I can do no other.

I was homeless when I wrote that, hiding out in a warehouse out by the railroad tracks, underneath the Serpentine…. Since then, some things have changed and other things haven’t. But a lot of people have asked for information, bios, artists statements, and whatnot. So I’ll add a little more.

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Extreme performance art

I move around a lot, so I’m not sure where to say I’m from. Originally the San Francisco bay area, but I left there early and lived for many years in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve moved across the country and back several times, mainly between New York and the Northwest but I also did everyone’s obligatory 2 years in Las Vegas, and for a year I lived at Beck Haus, just outside of Cleveland.

Most recently, I’m living along the Hudson River in New York, where the skies really do look just like they do in the paintings of Thomas Cole and Frederic Church.

IMAG3550-1I’ve studied many different styles and movements, but in the end I prefer to forego pedantic and limiting references to art-school jargon to explain my work, and instead just tell you that I paint what seems to need painting, in the style that it wants to be painted in. I am influenced by all painters and artists, especially those whom I have lived with and painted beside. My grandfather was a painter from the Bay Area who was known for his modernist work in the 1950s and 1960s, and later for his realism. (I always liked his modernist work the best.) He taught me how to paint almost before I learned to walk, so I will give him credit for a lot of what I do. My work, both my films and my paintings, has shown all over the world.

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“Terror” 24″ x 36″ Oil on Canvas

 My art is heavily influenced by both the internal conflicts I struggle with and by events in the world around me.  Because I came of age in the Pacific Northwest during a time of upheaval, when we were struggling to save the last remaining North American old growth forests from the saws of capitalism, and when we were finally fighting effectively for the rights of non human animals, my art became very political for a long while. The life or death struggle for the earth and the heroic awakening of compassion for the non humans have been major themes.

But my work has undergone a shift in recent years, toward a more abstract, and perhaps less hopeful exploration of alienation and destruction. When my lover died, I saw his illness as an inevitable symptom of the destruction of our own environment, a consequence of the toxic landscapes that capitalism created. Since then, my canvases have held a lot of grief, a lot of confusion, and a lot of tangled fractals eeking out the thin strands of connection – sometimes severed – between what is within and what is without. I became interested, for awhile, in painting figures in gas masks as metaphor for the ways in which we are forced to survive in a world we have made toxic, the ways in which those of us who survive are alienated from each other and the world by our fears and our technologies, and the ways in which we are trying desperately to adjust to the new dystopia.20130226_211604

So things got gloomy for awhile. But by the end of 2015, I began climbing back up into the world again. I started spending a lot of time in New York City and her beautiful tangle of order and chaos became enthralling to me. Suddenly, I find myself painting rectangles over rectangles over rectangles, trying to absorb and process the shape of of this city as it reflects itself over my own inner landscapes. I am captivated by the filtered light and ominous geometry at the bottoms of her concrete canyons, by the splashes of light against her mysterious nightscapes, and by the jumbled pedestrians and incongruous, spider-webbing trees and chaotic bits of exposed infrastructure that interrupt the straight lines and give meaning to the flat surfaces constantly threatening to engulf the unwary. So it’s cities for awhile.

Art is like this. It’s the soup we drink in and piss out and swim in. It’s the endless interplay between ourselves and the world; it’s the ways we pull things apart and put them together; the means by which we process and interact with and understand the pieces of the puzzle of the Universe. So our expressions of it are always changing. Thus, I have to just go back to what I said in the first place… I paint  what seems to need painting, in the style that it wants to be painted in.

– Cat Jones

Cat smiling on dark day

To contact me, just leave a comment. As comments are moderated, it won’t even appear on this site unless you want it to.

4 thoughts on “About

  1. Pingback: Artificial Life Support | The Art of Cat Jones

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  3. Wow

    Just read your story about L .
    Heart breaking especially given you were grieving the loss of your lover .
    I congratulate you on your strength.
    I hope that you are living more comfortably now .

    I found your site when i was looking for BPD information. I have just been diagnosed. I live in Australia & we are not as well supported here .

    I am happy to say that in reading your words i did not recognise some of L’s behaviours in myself . I am too reactive to manipulate. Other behaviours i did recognise in myself & seeing it written from the point of view of the person without BPD made me realise that theres a lot to change about my behaviours. I have a lot of work to do & a lot of self awareness to find so that i can break my current cycles .

    I do hope that you are able to work towards forgiveness as that is really the ultimate revenge . (Not that you are wishing to be vengeful ) . Forgiveness will offer you freedom .

    You have showed much understanding & compassion towards this person considering his almost unforgivable behaviour . In reading your words i do see that he did have a sense of calculation about him & that is what is sickening about his behaviour toward you . He knew in many circumstances what he was up to .
    He has choices & lets hope that he one day chooses to get help & to change those behaviours for one day he may really physically hurt someone.

    My best wishes to you for some beautiful, happy healthy positive years to come .
    Stay supported & keep smiling

    Warm regards
    Jodee

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. Yes, I’m doing much better now. Thank you for sharing your story as well! Your gift of self awareness and desire to heal will take you where you want to be. BPD is very amenable to treatment, I’m told. You have already overcome the biggest obstacle, which is that a lot of people with BPD disorder do not seek out treatment.

      A lot of people with BPD find that piece, as a couple of sites for people with the disorder have linked to it. So I want to be clear about this: L. was what he was, not only because he suffered from BPD, but because he was just, intrinsically, a self centered person who did not care how his actions impacted others so long as he could maniplate and control them. He could not help having mental illness, but he could have helped the ways he treated others. There’s a big difference between being mentally ill and being a shitty person. L just happened to be both. You do not sound anything like that.

      I know it’s a painful disorder, and I congratulate you on getting diagnosed, as the first step toward healing. The beautiful thing about almost every mental illness is that they all come with gifts as well as plagues, and the gifts persist even after the plagues subside. With BPD, for example, you are probably very creative and capable of deep and passionate emotions. After successful treatment for the disorder, I think you will find that those gifts will persist, and you’ll be able to harness them in beautiful new ways.

      For myself, yes, I work on forgiveness every day. Not just for the person in that piece who preyed on me so, but for anyone I feel slighted by. You’re right that forgiveness brings freedom. It also helps me to recognize the Oneness that I believe we’re all part of. When I remember that we’re all really One, I am able to see other’s foibles as simply reflections of facets of myself, and I see that vengeance is just prolonging the disturbance to the fabric of the universe. Thus, hurting my enemy hurts me too. So I no longer want revenge, as I once did, though I do confess that forgiveness is easier some days than others. The person in that story will never be welcome anywhere near me again, but mercifully, I’ve mostly just forgotten him. Sometimes, that’s all the forgiveness one can offer. The long and short of that awful episode is that I will never allow myself to be treated like that by anyone ever again. I learned a lot and forgot the rest.

      It helps that I’m now in a loving and meaningful relationship where I am supported and treated with the love and respect that were so glaringly missing for so long. I think anger and hatred are mostly fear-based, and I had a lot of fear that I was broken in ways that might never heal. But with healing comes true love, and with love comes the freedom you spoke of.

      Anyway, thanks again for writing. It was lovely to hear from you.

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