Joey Monsoon’s statement regarding “The Boy and the Birds”:
“Upon first learning that my painting had been prohibited from hanging in the exhibition due to its content, I was completely surprised. But less concerned that the painting would not be seen, and more concerned that my expression of unity had been interpreted as confrontational. Ultimately the situation served as a real reminder that the magic of art is its ability to give the viewer the freedom to interpret its meaning for themselves. And once we as artists share our work we must accept the viewer's freedom to see it as they will.
To me the painting expresses the hope for a future connection (the boy) between my home (the cardinal) and Cuba (the trogon). During my visits to Cuba, seeing school children, dressed as the boy in the painting reminded me of my own young son back in America. My wish is that the next generations of our two nations can find a way to share our experiences and our gifts.”
Joey Monsoon is a self-taught figurative artist from Columbus, Ohio. The characters in his paintings show weariness from the toil of life, yet a will to endure the struggle. The narrow structures of flesh and bone seem fragile, but the eyes reveal an inner strength. It’s rare to see a self-taught artist so interested in the anatomy of his people; how muscles and sinew animate bodies that have felt the weight of the world. Their thin wrists demand thick skin… life may have beaten them up, but they can take it. Monsoon’s work finds a mythic heroism in our common journey through our personal Underworlds. Joey Monsoon knows these people, and he respects them.
Monsoon fell in love with drawing heroes and characters as a child… he drew obsessively and has never stopped. He was later drawn to the expressionist portraits of Egon Schiele, the energy of graffiti and the underground art of Robert Williams.
In his own words:
“My figures and portraits hover somewhere between reality and myth. Their worldly weariness is revealed through a dream-like lens. They are not so much portraits of people as they are portraits of emotional triumphs and failures. We don’t always know their stories, yet in our gut we know how they feel.”
ConnectArt in Cuba