Santa Rosa-based artist Jared Powell has been painting since he was 12 years old, in locations ranging from freeway underpasses in Petaluma to rooftops in New York City and many points in between. Having established himself in the graffiti world, his work has been shown in galleries and museums for the past decade. Known primarily for his graffiti and tattoo art, Powell has in recent years gravitated more toward canvases, watercolor, and larger-scale fine art under the banner of ‘Visual Dyslexia.’
Why ‘Visual Dyslexia’? Clinically diagnosed with dyslexia, an obstacle dating back to second grade, Powell was told by doctors that he would never have a future in any visually based trade. Routinely throughout his school career, he was dismissed from art programs by teachers.
At some point, Powell, defiantly passionate about art, said fuck it.
“Visual dyslexia comes from accepting my own disabilities and strange ways of seeing things, and finally getting away from the fear of widespread acceptance, and painting for myself,” says Powell of his new work. “If people understand, it’s an added byproduct. Art is more than just painting for me; it’s a way of life, it’s my meditation, it’s love, it’s hate, it’s the process of it all – working with my disability instead of trying to push it aside.”
In his current show, Powell explores color and shape in new ways, even stretching canvases themselves into unconventional shapes. The process of texture, both thick and thin—with dissipating pigment to near-water form—is experimented with as well. Using acrylic and watercolor, and working from live models and photographs of those close to him, Powell employs his trademark cubism in works both figure-based and abstract.
Homepage photo by Josh Katz.