Nola Porch

Jason Van Pelt is a contemporary artist living in New Orleans, LA, creating illustrative, representational works depicting the people and places that resonate from his surroundings. Jason gravitated toward art early on, attending New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts in high school. He studied Fine Art at LSU before pursuing a career in digital design and web development, which he continues today. This relationship between traditional and digital media permeates his work.

Drawing and painting have always played an integral role in Jason’s life, as a way to explore ideas and philosophies expressed through color, line and shape. Though he grew up surrounded by images by Impressionist and Surrealist masters, Jason found he related to Pop Art’s exploration of beauty and purpose in everyday objects, product design and pop culture. While he spent many years learning and practicing portraiture, it wasn’t until he began experimenting with minimalism — and Adobe Illustrator — that he found an approach that had the impact he envisioned.

Initially Jason struggled with the idea of creating digital art, finally concluding that, for him, there needed to be some point at which the digital process became analog, to crossover from “computer-generated” to hand made. Jason believed the imperfection of lines painted by hand and colors mixed by eye helped to ground his work.

Jason’s subject matter tends to be personal, while striving to tell universal stories. He aspires to find subtleties in his surroundings, accentuating moments in time, removing distractions, focusing only on what is necessary to tell his story. His childhood resonates in his artwork through references to life in New Orleans: philodendrons, Japanese plums picked from neighbors’ trees, a statue commemorating the Pope’s 1987 visit, and colloquial architecture. Jason’s work seeks to find a common ground with the viewer through a shared nostalgia.

Artist Statement

I strive to capture the perfection that is possible in digital design, with smooth curves, sharp lines and opaque colors, while allowing the imperfection inherent in the human hand to remain present and unmistakable. I’m inspired by the simplicity of iconography, and its ability to reduce an idea or subject to its essence. I choose limited color palettes to accentuate the shapes and lines of my compositions and bring emphasis to the colors that remain.

Often I find that it is in nuance that we find real joy and beauty. I see that nuance in colors and their relationships with each other. I see beauty in the shape of a perfectly curved lined that forms just a hint of a mouth or the curl of a leaf. While I strive for simplicity, I always regard my paintings as portraits, regardless of if the subject is a person, a leaf, or a window.

I consider myself a southern artist. Much of my subject matter references New Orleans and my experience growing up here: unique architecture, tropical plant life, and colorful people. I paint to show the world the beauty I see and to challenge the viewer to view their surroundings in a different way. 

Painting Dr. Avery