The Texas Book Festival is thrilled to announce Jon Flaming as its 2023 Poster Artist. His piece Cowboy Reading in Big Bend was selected as this year’s Festival Poster image.
Born in Wichita, Kansas in 1962, Flaming moved to Texas in 1967. The artist grew up in Dallas/Richardson. His fine art is in the permanent collections of the Tyler Museum of Art, The Grace Museum in Abilene, The Museum of the Southwest, and the San Angelo Museum of Fine Art. His work is also in many private and public collections and has been exhibited in numerous solo and group shows. Jon lives with his wife, Kathy, in Richardson. They have three married children and four grandchildren.
TBF Interim Executive Director Dalia Azim had a chance to ask Jon Flaming some questions about his work, background, and this year’s poster image, Cowboy Reading in Big Bend:
How long have you been in Texas?
I grew up in the Dallas area and have been in Texas for 55 years.
When did you start pursuing a career as an artist?
I started painting at the age of 30 but pursued fine art full-time at 55, after a 30-year career as a designer/illustrator in Dallas.
Which artists did you admire most when you first started out?
Norman Rockwell was the artist I admired most as a kid and young man.
Who are your favorite artists these days?
The designers Saul Bass and Paul Rand.
The painters Marsden Hartley, Stuart Davis, and Edward Hopper.
How did you find your way to your very unique artistic style? Do you ever begin with traditional collage as a prototype for a work of art?
Inspired by designers Paul Rand and Saul Bass and painters Marsden Hartley, Stuart Davis, Picasso, I started to experiment with bold, blocky, graphic shapes to create cowboys and western scenes. I was heavily influenced by my years as a designer/illustrator. I create my “collages” on the computer and then use those as my studies for my paintings.
How do you pick your medium for a particular work of art? Ie. when do you opt to paint a subject versus experimenting with imagery as a print?
My paintings always start out as an idea and then move quickly to rough pencil sketches. I then scan them into my computer and create my color studies in Adobe Illustrator. I often use oil, but also paint with acrylic. Many of my images become prints but they are typically created from the the digital version that I use for my painting studies.
I know you like to spend time out in West Texas? Tell us more about what that part of the state means to you and how it inspires your art?
I love the wide-open desert vistas of Big Bend with all the accompanying elements – cactus, agave, ocotillo, mountains, abandoned buildings, etc. And, I love the sparse, flat country of the panhandle and other parts of west Texas. These places and the people in them often become the subjects of my work.
How does the landscape of Texas influence your graphic style?
The state of Texas is bigger than life and my art reflects that with canvases that are executed on a large scale. My work tends to be big, bold, and colorful—like the Lone Star State.
Who are your favorite writers and what have you been reading lately?
THE WORST HARD TIME by Timothy Egan
AMERICAN BUFFALO by Steven Rinella.
How does it feel to have your work Cowboy Reading in Big Bend represent the 28th annual Texas Book Festival?
Very honored & humbled . . .
Posters and T-shirts featuring Cowboy Reading in Big Bend will be available for purchase at the Texas Book Festival on November 11–12, 2023 in Downtown Austin.