Jesse Edwards- The Thugged Out Bob Ross

Jesse Edwards isa painter from Seattle who’s been living in NYC for nearly two years. I moved to NYC around the same time as he did and he was one of the first artists I met here. Jesse is really funny because he does these really technically amazing paintings with a Monet sensibility but then he acts all ruggish-thuggish. His subject matter is often “real shit” and its even funnier to see him talk about painting. Talking to Jesse about painting is awesome because he instantly kills all pretension. Its really fun to hang around someone who doesn’t give a shit, yet has more cred than someone who gives too much of a shit. Check out some of his paintings and maybe this will start to make more sense..

 

One of the galleries that has worked with Jesse said he’s “like a teddy bear with a police record.” Jesse is the real-deal- a living, breathing painter on his way from ashy to classy. You can see that the dude’s been through some roughness… but you know what they say- a flower has to go through a lot of dirt before it can bloom. Anyhow, here are a bunch more-

Recently I was visiting Jesse’s underground bat-cave studio and he started telling me that he one day wanted to make a show about painting. He told me he wanted to make a ghetto version of Bob Ross‘ show. At one point he looked at me dead serious and said “yeah, but instead of just teaching you how to paint, I’ma put you on how to run some game with the dames!!” This made me LOL and we decided to take on episode one. Its in a sort of studio visit format.. check it out right here! Viewer discretion is advised!!

And here is episode two (but its actually more of a teaser..)

Do us a favor if you like it and subscribe, there will be a bunch more Jesse episodes!!!

The other day I ran into one of my homies at the grocery store- he told me he watched our show and was bummed on it. He said he felt that Jesse’s paintings are disrespecting 500 plus years of painting history and tradition. I didn’t really put up too much of a fight at the time, but I’m going to address that dispute right here:

Jesse’s paintings show a side of our culture that we don’t necessarily want to be seen- what is secretly placed under the table (yet very important) in America. The genre of vanitas painting historically focused on decay, death and morbid themes. Today crack and drug addiction are morbid themes, as are the themes of obesity and being a loser- to some people jerking off is considered morbid. These scenarios are all situations of hedonism- and a hedonistic lifestyle is a lot like walking on a tightrope- it can be a difficult thing to balance. You can fall off if you’re not careful, sometimes to your death.

These hedonistic themes in art have been around forever… check out Hans Holbein’s “The Ambassadors” for example.

This was painted in 1533. This painting is pretty much the 1533 equivalent to a 1990′s era No Limit Records album cover. These dudes are flossing mad gear, holding important high-status items, showcasing confident pimp-like poses… And again, you have a skull secretly reminding you that if you play around too hard you can fall off.

Maybe this shop can better illustrate my point that these themes have been around and are here to stay!!!

Anywayz folks, Jesse is breathing life back into something that many people consider to be dead. He’s painting the genre the way it asks to be painted, and Jesse respects this genre of painting more that anyone I have met.

And on top of that, the dude can really paint.

Chill out… go smoke a joint and eat some Ben and Jerry’s or something.



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  • Julian C. Duron (Artist)

    #DopeArt

  • dale dreiling

    I remember this guy’s paintings from when I lived in Seattle years ago. It’s cool to see he’s still working. I’ll be looking for new episodes.