I didn't find Jonathan looking for the artists that studied at the most prestigious schools. I could care less whether he has the most prestigious mentor or not, and nobody really looks at an artist's resume seriously. When I was creeping for artists like Ilichna Morasky that could create accompanying art for something as wild as Beyond Measure, Jono's work stood out. His work is gritty and refined, and yet entirely his own.

I'm a picky guy. After asking Jonathan to get on board, we got to sketching (he got to sketching) and for every ask I had, he had no problem following through. He didn't have the usual snooty attitude of some creatives. Here's some of the progressions we went through.


When it was all said and done, I found out that unlike the folks that have the luxury of going to school to hone their craft, Jonathan learned on his own, with clients like me.


We asked him about his collaboration with Culture Toronto, and pretty much everything else.

How do you rate classically trained artists vs non classically trained?

There’s a lot to be said about classically trained artists, and I would be glad to tell you all about it had I been trained in that manner.  In all seriousness, I feel that non-classically trained artists work very hard to hone their crafts , be it online tutorials, books and weekend classes, in a relentless effort to achieve or maybe even surpass the skills and knowledge of the classically trained artists.  Being one myself, I tend to favour toward the  NCTs.  Maybe the best way to settle this  is to  lock them both in a Thunderdome of Art and have them duke it out in a sketch-off.  The winner gets to leave and the loser gets eaten by a Rancor.


What did you bring to this picture that's distinctly you?

I painted this with my feet.


Is this the wierdest commission you've ever received?

Yes it is. This project really forced me to be more imaginative with the choices I made in the painting, in order to keep up with the source material.  I remember reading the description of the scene and go, “I hope I could do this justice”.   


Why this particular style for this scene?

It seems to suit the picture at the time.  Knowing what I know now, I would make a few different compositional choices for the picture.   


Thanks for giving Culture Toronto this gift! What was in it for you?

What do you mean “gift”? I thought I was getting paid for this. My agent is so fired. Lol

This project helped me rekindle with my imaginative side, and reminded me the value of good picture making.  Although, I’m not quite there yet but I’m leveling up.  


What are you great at and how can people reach you?

I am great at drawing and painting portraits, sketching people on the street, procrastinating on youtube, watch Netflix, and building Lego models  

People can reach me via my facebook page:


Deviantart: Jonomus.deviantart.com

CGHUB: jonomus-c-gray.cghub.com

Instagram: Jonomusgray


Anything awesome on the horizon?

Yes! But I’ll only tell you the ones that I’m allow to talk about. I’m doing a promotional watercolour sketch for a Vegan restaurant, and a oil-painting portrait. Check out my Sherlock!

Check mate.

Check mate.