My dearest Bookworms! Today I’m ‘DIS’ close to swooning! And here’s why. No doubt one time or another, you’ve bought a book only because of its cover, and I can guarantee that somewhere on your keeper shelf, one of those is probably painted by my guest today. His talent is unique, awe-inspiring and just amazing. It is an honor and a pleasure to welcome the artist that makes all those heroes and heroines come to life and the man who’s behind many beautiful historical covers and step backs, Jon Paul Ferrara.
Jon Paul, just in case some of our bookworms are not familiar with you, please tell us a bit about yourself. You know, the usual…your humble beginning, your inspiration and why art and not architecture. Or maybe even a musician?
JPF: I’ve been involved with my art as far back as I could remember… I always loved creating… When I was in High School, my senior year, under my picture I put I wanted to be an artist… There was no second guessing of what I wanted to be… I went to college and at the time, most college art courses were dealing with abstract art and not realism. So I decided to find my schooling elsewhere and basically ended up ‘self taught’ to a degree.
Years later I had a one man show in an art gallery in NJ when I was still in my early 20’s… A young man walked into the gallery and took an interest in my work and asked me if I wanted to do book covers. At first I was very reluctant to enter the commercial paperback field… The man asked me, that before I make a judgment, to let him take me over to his friend’s house… We ended up, of all people, at the house of one of the greatest romance illustrators of all time, Pino Daeni. When I walked into his house, I was just in awe of his spectacular art and I realized right then and there, that the best art work in the world wasn’t just in galleries, it was also on paperbacks…. From then on, I was hooked on being a Romance Illustrator…By the way, I do like music and architecture also, though out of the three, being an artist (painter) was number one.
Where do you do all your work? Do you have a studio at home? Can you describe it to us?
JPF: I had a studio built-in my house years ago and I love it… I do my photography as well as my other work in the studio… The studio is beautiful; I have skylights that are electrically operated to let the sun in at different times of the day… I have cathedral ceilings and huge windows in the studio which were all built to my specifications. Being an artist, I knew exactly how I wanted my studio to be… and I guess I got my wish :)
JPF: I usually start my day around 8:00 AM and I work very long hours… Sometimes when I am really into a piece, I stay up all night and work until the sun comes up :)
Reason being, I don’t want to stop the creative flow so to speak… I love what I do, so it really doesn’t seem like work … The hours really fly by as if I am in a trance. While I work, I usually listen to Classical Rock, and at other times Classical Music.
B2b: And that sounds like pure and unadulterated PASSION! To ask you if you have a favorite cover or a model to work with is like asking me which one of my cats I would prefer to cuddle with, so I’m going to pass on that, BUT… I would love to know which period, flower and season as a background, you enjoy to paint the most.
JPF: As far as cover models, I enjoy working with them all… The period I am most drawn to without question is the late Victorian Period. Anywhere from 1880’s up to World War I…The period was called “La Belle Époque” referred to as “The Beautiful Era”…
Seasons, I like them all. Love to do snow scenes, though on the flip side of the coin I love summer scenes and the Victorian Ladies strolling with their parasols… Flowers… You will see many red roses in lot of my work.
B2b: By the way, I have decided to share some of those snow scenes with our Bookworms, so I hope you don’t mind that I snagged some pics from your Facebook :)
Can you share with us some upcoming Romance Covers? Tell us more about them…
JPF: Upcoming Novels… I usually work on several covers at a time… Lately I’ve done more single women on covers… The trend always changes… Back ten years ago you would see most covers with just the Hero on the cover. Most of my covers are for NY Time Best Selling Authors…Elizabeth Boyle, Karen Hawkins, Stephanie Laurens, and Sylvia Day just to name a few…
I actually just finished an Elizabeth Boyle Front and Step back Cover… I really enjoyed doing it; for it reminded me of the covers we used to do in the nineties… Much more brushwork and passion, then just photographic in style.
As an artist I lean-to a looser style if they allow me so I could get more creative and expressive and not stay so tight and photographic.
B2b: I tend to agree with you on the style. I did notice that more and more the covers are leaning toward the photographic…
How about we get personal? I have no doubt that you’re a romantic (your work is an awesome proof of that), but would you consider yourself a Renaissance man too?
When a woman picks up a novel and reads it, she imagines herself as the heroine… well, when I create a cover I have to picture myself as the hero in that scene for the reader to feel the emotions I am trying to get across… Anything I create, I have to feel it or it will lack its believability.
That is just speaking from an artist point of view. Am I a Renaissance man??? (LOL)
I don’t know, I guess you would have to get to know me and determine that for yourself … (LOL)
B2b: Oh do not dare this Serbian woman, Jon! I think without a doubt that you are a Renaissance man…Oh, and the passion and sincerity are certainly shining through everything I’ve seen so far!
Who’s your favorite author, movie? What kind of music does Jon Paul listens to? For that matter, do you play an instrument and what is it? Your favorite season is…? Are you a dog or a cat person? Do you have any pets and what are they? Do you like to read and what genre are you into? Would you take the closest book to you right now and go to page 59 and give us the first three sentences from it?
My musical taste is Classic Rock, The Beatles, The Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, and The Kinks. The list goes on and on…I do listen to classical music once in a while…I enjoy it… Mozart.
No, I really don’t play an instrument… years ago fooled around a little with a bass guitar…
Favorite season… would be summer… I wish I could go off to a secluded island and paint the rest of my life (LOL) like Paul Gauguin did…
At the moment I have no pets… I love animals and had them around me allmy life… I lost my pet cat “Valentino” to an illness not too long ago… He was a pure breed Maine Coon. Gorgeous animal, I also did a painting of him. I seem to prefer cats as pets, though that doesn’t rule out getting a dog…
The book I am reading right now is “A Parisienne in Chicago”. This is a true story and not fiction about a woman from France who came to America in 1893 to see the Columbian Exposition held in Chicago. She kept a diary and through it she tells in detail of what American Society was like in the 1890’s in comparison to the European Society. The book definitely has my interest.
Page 59… “Once married, he works incessantly to improve the situation of his growing family. He takes care of all the business difficulties but never brings the bustle of business into the home where his wife enjoys sweet comfort. His choice of a wife is motivated by love, not money.”
The reason I am reading this book is to get a feel of a firsthand account of what life really was like back then. As I mentioned earlier, I like to get involved in the paintings I do, just like an actor studies a character he is going to portray, I have to study the period I am depicting in a work of art to make it believable…
B2b: Jon Paul, you are one special Dude! Thank you so much for finding the time to stop by and make my day, week, month and a whole YEAR! This is one Blogoversary I’ll never forget!
JPF: Hey, no problem! Let’s have some fun, shall we? I’ll be giving away a signed 17″x 22″ giclee fine art paper print of one of my covers to one lucky commenter who answers a question I posed on Facebook recently… Oh and there’s no right or wrong…Just curious to know…
Here are some famous works of art that I love and have studied… for composition, color, etc…I love them all… I’m curious, even from my student days, why certain rooms would be more crowded in the museums then others…
If you had to pick one of the groups 1, 2 or 3 which one would appeal to you first and peak your curiosity to go into the room?