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Jonathan Green

Painter and printmaker Jonathan Green is considered one of the most important contemporary painters of the Southern experience. Born on August 9, 1955, in Gardens Corner, South Carolina, Green was the second of seven children. He was raised in the home of his maternal grandmother, Eloise Stewart Johnson, where he learned the Gullah dialect and culture of the coastal Southeast.

Green’s interest in the arts was first nurtured as a student at Beaufort High School. After graduation, Green joined the U.S. Air Force in order to travel and obtain an education. He then attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, receiving a B.F.A. degree in 1982, making him the first known artist of Gullah heritage to receive formal artistic training at a professional art school.

The artwork of Green is heavily influenced by his Gullah heritage with vividly colored paintings and prints documenting everyday chores, in addition to celebrating Gullah life’s rites of passage. By returning his art to his childhood upbringing, Green has created an autobiographical body of work in addition to documenting a vanishing way of life.

Since 1982, Green has participated in four traveling exhibitions throughout the United States and forty-eight solo exhibitions. His work is in the permanent collections of numerous museums, including The Morris Museum (Augusta, Georgia), The Afro-American Museum of Philadelphia, The Naples Museum of Art (Naples, Florida) and The IFCC Cultural Center (Portland, Oregon). Green has received awards recognizing both his work and his civic contributions. In 1996, Green received an honorary doctorate from the University of South Carolina, the same year a book, Gullah Images: The Art of Jonathan Green, reproducing a large number of his pieces was published. In 2009, Green received the Key of Life Award for his contributions and achievements in the visual fine arts from the NAACP at the organization’s fortieth Image Awards.

Accession Number

A2002.055

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/16/2002

Last Name

Green

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Beaufort High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Jonathan

Birth City, State, Country

Garden Corners

HM ID

GRE03

Favorite Season

Fall

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

New York, New York

Favorite Quote

Be happy.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

South Carolina

Birth Date

8/9/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Charleston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Sweet Potatoes

Short Description

Painter and printmaker Jonathan Green (1955 - ) is a renowned painter of black Southern life. The artwork of Green is heavily influenced by his Gullah heritage with vividly colored paintings and prints documenting everyday chores, in addition to celebrating Gullah life’s rites of passage. His work is in the permanent collections of numerous museums, including The Morris Museum, The Afro-American Museum of Philadelphia, and The Naples Museum of Art.

Favorite Color

Yellow

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jonathan Green Interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jonathan Green lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jonathan Green talks about his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jonathan Green talks about his father

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jonathan Green discusses his grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jonathan Green expresses his opinion about the notion of himself as caulbearer versus innate human intuition and creativity

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jonathan Green talks about his limited exposure to the influence of his grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jonathan Green recounts his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jonathan Green lists his six siblings in birth order

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Jonathan Green relates details of his childhood in.Gardens Corner, South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Jonathan Green talks about his childhood perspective on adult life

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jonathan Green examines how his early feelings of homosexuality impacted his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jonathan Green reflects on the impact of race and sexual identity further impacted his art

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jonathan Green describes how his grandmother and others helped him come to terms with his homosexuality

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jonathan Green describes his hometown, Gardens Corner South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jonathan Green describes his home church, Huspah Baptist

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jonathan Green discusses his family history

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jonathan Green details the origins of his ancestors, the Gullah people

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jonathan Green explains the difference between the Geechie and the Gullah

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Jonathan Green examines the relationship between Gullah and African culture

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Jonathan Green discusses the linguistic inner workings of the Gullah language

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Jonathan Green details of his secondary education in New YOrk and South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jonathan Green recalls his first impressions of New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jonathan Green describes his experiences at Beaufort High School in Beaufort, South Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jonathan Green details his his demoralizing stint in the Air Force

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jonathan Green describes his life and education at the Art Institute in Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jonathan Green discusses his early exposure in the art world

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jonathan Green finds his voice as an artist

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jonathan Green creates bridges within Chicago's arts community

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jonathan Green accepts a complement for his 'Three Sisters' painting

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jonathan Green reveals the inspiration for his bright palette choices

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jonathan Green notes the lack of coursework in African American drwaing at the SAIC

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jonathan Green describes his relationship with Richard Weedman

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jonathan Green discusses Gullah influence behind 'Three Sisters' and other works

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jonathan Green flirts with different painting styles and subject matter

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jonathan Green reveals the inspiration behind several series of paintings

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Jonathan Green shares his working style on commissioned pieces fro collectors

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Jonathan Green details his daily schedule and development of his art studio

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Jonathan Green describes how he manages his art business

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Jonathan Green discusses the market value of his work

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Jonathan Green shares other passions outside of his art

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jonathan Green talks about the appeal of African American art

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jonathan Green responds to the interviewer's query on his use of the term Afro-American

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jonathan Green wants to be remembered for his work as an artist