Fan2Artist Interview with…Jon Paul Ferrara!

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.

B2b: WOW! Now, that I call SERENDIPITY! I swear to you, I have so many questions, but for some reason I’m all tongue-tied! I’m going to be all over the road and you know what?! I don’t care one whit!

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 :)

B2b: I can only imagine it…It sounds so cool! Can you share with us your work day? From the time you get up in the morning ‘till you go to bed…

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?

JPF: I am a romantic at heart, which is why I love doing the Romance Novels :)

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)

As an artist I am very passionate and sincere and I always hope that shows in my work.

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?

JPF: Favorite authors? No one in particular… I used to read a lot of art books (artists lives from the past, especially 19th century). These days I read more books on philosophy than anything else.

My favorite movies are “Somewhere in Time” and “Before Sunrise” and I am looking forward to seeing the new Woody Allen film “Midnight in Paris” when it is released on DVD :)

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…

I have a project now that I am focusing on and it takes place in the 1890′s. I will release more details on my Website and my Facebook Fan Page as I move along with this project.

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?

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54 comments on “Fan2Artist Interview with…Jon Paul Ferrara!

  1. I would be drawn to room one for the appearance of sunshine and warmth illustrated would draw me in. You get the feeling of being swept away to a vacation seaside and who doesn’t want to escape to that? The illustration represents rest and love. The love resonating from the Mother and Child depictions speak to me. The use of “white” represents purity and innocence. Nothing is more pure than the love between a Mother and Child. There is movement and freedom in the first set of pictures, whereas, the preceding ones seem to “appear posed”. The others share a dark sense to me.

    Thank you for the interview.

  2. I would say the first group of pictures. They seem like a happy family group. I have 2 kids and all about family and would feel like I had something in common with them.
    Jon’s pictures are great. I love the Marilyn picture. I also love the picture of the man and the woman on the floor and how he changed it to red sheets. That one is beautiful.
    Great artist interview. I loved it.

  3. Such stunning work. A true artist. I love the brushwork, the interpretation which is truly more romantic than much of what we see today on covers. They tend to exude more sex than romantic illusion. Good for sales, I would say, but then if the mood is not portrayed appropriately, we lose the essence of the work.
    Thank you for the lovely examples!

  4. Jon, your work is stunningly gorgeous. I know the old addage, don’t judge a book by its cover, but a book with a beautiful and accurate cover can certainly help attract more readers and make a great story even better looking. Aside from the beauty of the work, the artist definitely needs to create a cover that evokes the right emotion and accurately reflect a story, whether it is historical, contemporary or paranormal. Covers are the first thing I notice :) I love covers that are sensual yet subtle and has a “tone”. I’m happy to say many of your work is on my book shelves. Keep up the wonderful work.

  5. Hey Jon Paul!

    I thought to jump in and play too :)

    I would be drawn to #2 room. I really love the first painting of the two Ladies and the third one with the mother and her children…Makes me fell warm and fuzzy all over :)

    I just want to say thanks again. It has truly been such a pleasure talking to you. While my girlfriends have crushes on their movie stars, reality TV stars and the musicians, I reserve to have one on a romance cover artist! So there…in their faces ;) LOL!!

  6. I absolutely *love* your work Jon Paul! Stunning! Thanks for a great interview, its nice to know the real people behind the work :)
    I think I enjoy group two the best as I love historicals and that reminds me of them the best and you can see some nice details in the faces and clothing.

  7. Hi Jon,

    Your covers are so beautiful! As to your question; out of the three choices given, I’m drawn to the first group of paintings because of the light and the easy, less formal setting.

  8. Jon Paul is a treasure to the world. Not only is he the best artist ever for book covers he is a wonderful person. Jon you know me, I still keep hoping you will do some paintings about ancient Greece and Rome . The first picture in group 3 would be my choice.

    • Is this THE Mary that said this on FB today?

      “Jon Paul Takes the description of talented artist to a whole new level. He has brought joy and beauty to so many lives with the paintings he does for book covers. Just his work alone has meant success for new authors. They make the books stand out like jewels.The eye and then the hand are drawn to them. Then the reader is captured by the story. Thank you so much for this interview.”

      If you are, then I whole heartedly agree with you!!! And you’re welcome :) The pleasure was ALL mine and the memory of it is precious :)

      If you’re not…that’s okay, but this thought needed to be shared :)

      • Yes, that would be me. I was “introduced” to Jon by my favorite cover model and friend CJ Hollenbach. It is a privilege to know both of those wonderful men. CJ puts the romance into a pose and Jon turns it into magic on a cover painting. I treasure the book of his cover art that I own.

      • Mary… your words leave me speechless.. I can’t even express how much they mean to me as an artist… thank you so much. You have touch my artistic soul more then you know by what you said and that is priceless to me:)) Thank You :)))))

        JP

  9. Hi Jon Paul,

    Thank you for such wonderfully beautiful covers that add so much depth to the pages between them. =)

    I am drawn to to the deeper, rich luxurious colors of #2. The burgundies and creams shout –to me–romance, and every girls deserves a bit of romance.

    All the best! =)

  10. Jon, your art is extraordinary! Thank you so much for sharing it with us. I love covers that are created from art. I think they are so beautiful and eye catching. You have a wonderful life story.

    If I were to choose a room it would be for group # 3. It just begs to be studied….

    ~Caroline

  11. Hi Jon Paul,

    You have some of the most beautiful artwork I’ve seen. As a book lover, I usually look for covers that catch my eye and then read the back to see if catches my interest. Your covers have often caught my eye and I own quite a few. This was a great interview and thank you for taking the time out to do it. I really enjoyed it. I would love to win one of your beautiful covers.
    As for which room I’d enter, I’d have to say #1 would be first. It’s so full of life and color and all the people in the paintings look so happy to be enjoying a beautiful day in life.
    Thank you for the opportunity to win and the great interview.
    Carla
    Cjgallway21@aol.com

  12. This is one of the most interesting blog interviews I’ve ever read! Jon Paul, I am in AWE of your talent. And you’re such an interesting person!!! Thanks, Melanie, for getting him here. You’re the funnest, that’s how you managed it, isn’t it?

    :>)

    I would go to Room One first–I’m instantly attracted to light, airy paintings. But I also love Diego Velazquez–Las Meninas is one of my favorite paintings. He uses darker tones, but the thing he has in common with the Impressionists is an obvious fascination with human nature, with character. His paintings tell stories.

    This has been a really fun post. I’m thrilled to “meet” you and would love it if you worked on one of my books someday!!!

    • Thanks for stopping by Kieran! I sweated bullets before asking him if he’d be willing to stop by, and he turned out to be one sweet Dude! And a true gentleman to boot! He’s just too cool for words! Someone STOP me!!! LOL! I’ll scare the poor man and he’ll go in seclusion and we’ll never see him again!!! LOL! But, seriously, this was too much fun, and one very humbling experiance to treasure :)

  13. Hi Jon,

    Your covers are amazing and I loved reading your interview with Mel. If I had to choose a room, then it would have to be room 1. The reason being that I have four sisters and I would like to imagine that this is a scene of some of us having a picnic at the beach. Then later, a couple of us strolling along the beach having fun.

    Keep up the great work.

  14. I love group 1 – probably because they’ve got a lot of light.
    I love romantic pictures like these & Jon Paul’s covers are so distinctive – now I’ll know who did them.

  15. I only buy books for the cover art. I don’t have the money or the room to store all the books I read (I read almost a book a day) so the ones I want to keep have to have something good to look at on the cover. For me, that means an attractive man and Jon Paul’s have always been some of the best. In fact, I wrote him many years ago to say that I preferred his covers to those of John Ennis since John E’s men often looked more angry than passionate. The best combination is Jon Paul painting John DeSalvo!

    I would pick room #3 because I am fascinated by history and the longer ago, the better. The first group are too light and unsubstantial for me, though I love bright colors. The second group is nice but there isn’t enough going on to pull me in (though I’d look in that room after I finished with room #3).

  16. Jon Paul’s work is indeed lovely. It’s nice to know that such passion still goes into covers in this modern techno age (& it shows too). While all 3 groups of paintings are nice, I’d visit group 1 the longest — I’ve always favored the impressionist work, there’s something about their softness & yet sense of life/movement that always appeals to me.

  17. Jon, great work! When I was an art student, I was always the odd person (among other odds). Everyone else would be in the abstract/modern rooms and I’d be in the rooms with the portraits. Don’t care what time period, I’m just fascinated with wonderful portraits. However, I will admit that the painting that really blew me away was George Seurat’s “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” I can’t ever imagine anyone doing all those little dots.

  18. Interesting interview. I think I’d pick the first group. The few pieces of art hanging on my wall has a backdrop of water. However, whenever I go to my local art museum, I always go into the room where paintings from the Renaissance era are hung. I don’t know why, but there is something special about that artwork.

  19. Loved the post! Your work is beautiful. I can’t pick a favorite between the groups. My B.A. is in art history and one of my least favorite questions is who is your favorite artist. My cop-out answer (if I’m pressed) is Bernini or Caillebotte, depending on who I’m talking to, but although I love both those artists’ works, I picked them sort of at random because I can talk about them easily to someone who doesn’t have a degree in the subject matter without sounding pedantic (I hope). For me, it’s not about a favorite, but appreciating what each artist offers.

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