Jon Burgerman is a UK born, NYC based artist instigating improvisation and play through drawing and spectacle. His work is placed between fine art, urban art and pop-culture, using humour to reference and question his contemporary milieu.
Expressing creativity and having fun is key to Burgerman’s practice. It's his belief that simple creative acts can allow people to change not only their world but the world around them.
His instantly recognisable art has been exhibited all over the world from DIY exhibition spaces to museums to even the White House. His works are held in the permanent collections of institutions including the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
He creates work in a wide variety of media from ink, spray-paint, digital and animation. Online his gifs have been viewed over 8.5bn times and he has a dedicated following across social media. He has collaborated with brands including Apple, Samsung, Pepsi, Lotte, Snapchat, Instagram and Nike. He’s made vinyl collectable toys, picture books, apparel, fabric collections, inflatables, homeware, sportswear, underwear and many other things, including NFTs. Burgerman has had six sell-out collections on Nifty Gateway since April 2020 and continues to be a rising star in the burgeoning scene.
I make paintings about people and their emotional complexities. How they feel when isolated or collated is explored, a core contradiction being one of community verses individualism.
Soft shapes and bold colours interplay to create intoxicating compositions that on the surface display a visual freedom and aesthetic joy but belie fraught conflicting feelings beneath the surface. Vivid expressions, of abstracted cartoon forms, are utilised as key components of the compositions; amorphous masses are stacked, piled, squashed and delicately balanced, often moments away from potential collapse.
A sense of synesthesia guides me to make intuitive choices when working. Colours dance and create memorable visual melodies, a continuum of Miró and Kandinsky, albeit to a rhythm often informed by contemporary electronic music. I believe the works must perform satisfactorily to both eye and ear.
The use of aerosol allows for fluid and spontaneous creation, a painting tool that can be applied as quickly as my imagination dictates. There is a improvisational quality to the pieces, charged with the unabashed gleeful pleasure the act of creativity supplies. Amongst the hazy clouds of colour, rough impasto marks are gesturally applied with chunky oil bars, channeling Cy Twombly's freeform scrawls and the graffiti I regularly see daubed around the streets in Brooklyn.
The paintings hold through a balance of contrasts, emotional ups and downs paired against crude, brutal marks and sensitive, forgiving forms. They are at once tough and soft, friendly and scary, happy and sad. Their cubistic personalities, with various sides shared on a single plain, relate directly to a generational mental health crisis, exasperated by climate anxiety, the pandemic, the narrowing of political choice and financial insecurity. And yet, there is always an elastic resilience, a wry smile, joy in the process and chance of hope.