After receiving his first award in kindergarten for his stellar art work “Boy”, conceptual artist and designer, JonMarc Edwards, had found his calling. From there he went on to re-design the Batman logo at age seven, create the packaging/advertising for ‘Hector’s Hash’ in the eighth grade and had his first one-man show in high school. His father’s job forced his family to move around a lot and as a result his artwork became the one consistent element in his life.
Upon finishing high school Edwards chose to study art at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. There his forays into “punk excesses” were complemented by a very stoic adherence to semiotics — the study of symbols and what they mean. This eventually led him to travel to Japan to seek a “Zen experience” that would offer balance to his divergent interests. Instead he found himself totally immersed and overwhelmed by the confounding language and the information saturation of the urban environment. “Japan’s fusion of language and information, the ‘Character’ as text and image… it made a big impression on me. I wanted to bring that awareness and excitement back home,” Edwards recalls.
Having returned to the U.S., Edwards was caught between life as a gallery director in Minneapolis and his desire to be a bohemian artist in New York City. His artwork began to evolve from collages of mural sized proportions to compact pictographic forms (Neo-Geo-Emo) with self-revealing content. Moving to Los Angeles in 1990, it was here that he codified his personal language into “Merge” a universal system of compressing text into visual Characters.
Edwards has received numerous grants, awards and commissions including the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation in New York City, the Bush Foundation Artist Fellowship in Minneapolis, MN, the Jerome Foundation in St. Paul, MN and the Neiman-Marcus Memorial Commission in Dallas, Texas. His work has been individually exhibited in the United States and abroad at gallery’s that include the Carl Berg Gallery in Los Angeles, Art Affairs Gallery, Amsterdam, Netherlands and the Deborah Colton Gallery in Houston, Texas where he was part of a large exhibition of language and art, curated by L. Brandon Krall. Edwards has also created costumes and sets, most recently for the performance pieces of “Looming Bias” and “Bias 2, Intelligent Living” performed at Art Center, Pasadena, CA.
He has also been instrumental in organizing and producing many exhibitions for other artists including Steven Baker’s “Drawings + Objects + Instruments” at Captivity, Los Angeles. Edwards has also produced and presented performances of music and dance such as an evening of improvised and experimental music by Mark Deutsch called “Reverberations + Butoh” and “Improvisations” by Thollem McDonas. Where the written word is concerned he has contributed to a screenplay for Erik Wesselo’s book “56 Beaver Street” that was published by Episode Publishers, Rotterdam, Netherland.
JonMarc is also involved in a traveling exhibition, “The Debriti Show!” (a compound word of debris + graffiti) Debriti is a textual substance made from organic, recyclable and 100% natural laser cut chipboard. The Debriti Show! is an immersive installation modeled after a medical marijuana dispensary or herbal apothecary but rather than dispensing herbs, spices or drugs, the exhibition imparts text, words and poetry. Debriti comes in Helvetica, Futura or Typewriter typefaces (to name a few) and sold by the word, phrase or by weight. Attendees at the Debriti Show! are encouraged to explore their relationship to language by forming a tangible relationship with the text. Fun, engaging and educational. The show has traveled throughout Southern California including the literary arts gallery, Beyond Baroque in Venice, CA and recently the Debriti Show! was on the east coast for a three-week exhibition at A.P.E. Gallery in Northampton, Massachusetts. For more information go to www.debritishow.com.