In the current state of Reality TV and backstage blogs, we as a world have lost our sense of wonder. And it’s because of one brave artist, Jon Bernad, that we will get it back. He was part of the Venice Art Walk AUCTION, not just as himself, but as an offer for an experiential possibility that attendees could bid on for a good cause, since the money would go directly to The Venice Family Clinic. What that means was that he fearlessly walked up to strangers with a bid sheet around his neck, as opposed to on a table or wall like the other artworks in the auction, and pitched to each new person a different adventure he felt they would want to go on. Everything from skydiving to dinner came up and during his time there he was offered to join unfamiliar faces on white water rafting trips and treks in the Amazonian Rain Forest. I like to say that Jon takes people on Art Adventures, but it’s really so much more than that. He is the only artist that embodies the ultimate truth. For he is only but himself, but his self is great.
I first met Jon at the end of last year via a mutual friend. She told me to put his number in my phone without telling me what Jon did exactly. Was he an artist, a curator, or what? And as soon as I was about to ask him, they both walked off and away into the distance. Months went by and I would see Jon at various art openings, where I’d say ‘Hey Jon! So great to see you, but I’m curious as to what you do?’ And as soon as I would ask him this, he would simply turn and walk away. But it wasn’t in a rude manner. It was rather one of mystery. So, eventually I had a friend text him from their own phone and say ‘I am more mysterious than you’. To which he responded with a confident poem about winning staring contests.
After 4 months of having similar occurrences with Jon, he took out two white business cards from his pocket and said ‘Daniel, pick one’. I did. And when I flipped it over it said on the other side “A Life Without Mystery Is Not Worth Living.” I realized at that point I had been part of an artwork. And then of course Jon looked at me and said “I bet you want to know what’s on the other card” and then yes, walked away.
Since then, Jon and I have become friends, and I’ve still only heard a sliver of his wealth of projects that include going on a cross-country road trip with a stranger he flew out from South Africa, putting positive parking tickets on people’s windshields that have lotto scratchers and scarves instead of fines, and his stories of the Wonder Wars.