Ventura RAWards 2012

Once again, Bombay’s Bar and Grill turned hip underground art scene for one night only to host the annual RAW: Natural Born Artist competition, touted as the biggest indie art show in the world and by far one of our favorite events of the year. Nine winners represent Ventura County and the surrounding areas in the Visual Art, Photography, Accessories, Fashion, Music, Film, Hair, Make-up and Performing Arts categories. We interviewed some of the winners...

Winner/Visual Arts: Jonathan Blackburn

Jonathan combines a variety of mediums
to create images that are wildly vivid

Blackburn_FashionistaYour designs combine photography, custom photo shop brush design, traditional and contemporary pop-art and street-art mediums, How would you best describe your style?

JB- It’s a mixture and blend of the all the mediums that I love. It’s blending the traditional technique where I’m mixing my own colors combining airbrushing and paint strokes capturing them digitally. Sometimes I will take a print and put that on canvas and layer it with random brushstrokes then reuse that random style in a digital medium. It’s a back and forth process and interesting things come out because the layering process. This makes for some really neat mixtures and compositions. The coolest things come out that even I didn’t expect. It's the random errors that are truly unique and one of a kind.

You mentioned you’ve always had a love for art. Is there any particular events that led you where you are today?

JB- I was around art and technology at a young age. My grandfather was a technical genius and he’d let me play with the paint program on his computer. He Jonathan Blackburnwas opposite of the guy that would say “oh don’t touch my computer.” He got a kick out of me doing things and he encouraged me to explore and he mixed that with a history of art. I guess it all translates to all these things. I’m open to and exploring many different art styles and applications. In my experiments down the years, my wife Brianna really pushed me and supported my creative bones to enter my work in the Ventura County Fair's pro arts competition in 2011 she said, “You have some wild and amazing stuff, people would really enjoy it, you should do this.” I sort of got a kick and a push and it all took off from there.

Who or what has been most influential to you artistically?

JB- Definitely, turn of the century artist, Kandinsky, Picasso who did some pretty abstract and wild stuff and Frank Lloyd Wright who's works were geometric and architectural in design. Also, contemporary Barcelonian street artist like Miss Van because here style is unique and it uses the medium of urban visibility. Alongside Miss Van, there is Blek Le Rat who takes graffiti and turns it into something really cool, pushing ideology and political boundaries.

What are your own favorite pieces from your collection?

JB- I think the themed stuff that I create is pretty wild and the most satisfying, like The Fashionista piece (2nd place winner at the Ventura County Fair Pro Arts Exhibit 2011) or The Ringmaster. That kind of style got me into that theme and I found my home. It’s my element: Pieces that are a colorful explosion of styles past and present coming together.

What brought you to Ventura?

JB- I was born and raised in this town. I graduated from Buena High School and Ventura is home for me. I’ve met so many great people and friends here. There’s an amazing and communal art thing going on too. Ventura is where I built my start with my grandfather, my wife and my family. I’m glad to call Ventura home and you can’t beat the weather either.

What's next? Where do you see yourself in the next few years?

JB- I’d love to continue to get exposure and get my work in galleries. This RAW competition is a blessing. I want to continue having a chance to compete and show my work. It’s neat not to just compete or get recognition but where you can have a forum among other artists and network and see how they do things from a different approach. It moves you forward.

Where can we see your art now?

JB-Right now there’s a piece hanging at the VC Buzz local office on Chestnut St. in Downtown Ventura, and local print shop "The Image Source" and on my personal portfolio at and

What do you want FIV readers to know most about you?

JB- I just want to continue to enjoy what I do and to get stuff out there and bring a smile to people’s faces. For other artists, I just want to tell them: Don’t compromise. Don’t worry about it or what anyone else thinks. Find your own path and explore. The possibilities are endless.

Here's a video of Jonathan at RAWards night...

  Read about more Ventura Artists