Over the last few years, the paintings of conservative artist Jon McNaughton have captured the hearts and minds of Americans across the fruited plain. There have even been some who compare his paintings to those of Norman Rockwell.
From faith-based images to politically themed paintings, McNaughton invokes emotion with each stroke of the brush. In fact, that’s exactly why he paints.
McNaughton writes on his site: “There are three kinds of people who view my paintings: Those who like it, those who hate it, and those who simply don’t understand. I am especially interested in this last category. I hope my work will create conversation and reach people on a deeper level. I like to use metaphor and multiple levels of meaning to reach my viewer. If it makes them think and feel, then it is successful.”
While millions have adored his paintings, we wanted to get a deeper look into the artist. McNaughton was kind enough in a recent email interview to give us a glimpse into who he is as an artist and why he does what he does.
1. Where do you get your inspiration for your paintings?
The ideas come fairly quick, like epiphanies as I am sketching. I’m a news junkie and spend at least an hour a day going through what is happening in the country. I have a list of ideas, perhaps 30 paintings I’m considering. I just have to decide what to paint next. I only work on one painting at a time.
2. Obviously the direction of our country is important to you. Do you feel like we are heading in the right or wrong direction as a country?
In some ways I do feel we are moving in the right direction. I am very optimistic about what Trump is doing for our economy, foreign affairs, and making America a safer place. On the other hand, the divide between the right and the left is becoming more dangerous. The Left is becoming more desperate and violent. I’m worried when I consider the trajectory of this conflict.
My new painting – “Crossing the Swamp”
“Never give up. Never lower your light.
Never stop till the swamp is dry.” – Jon McNaughton
For a list of figures in the boat: https://t.co/ZIPdkBgcFU pic.twitter.com/CTPndvK5LM
— Jon McNaughton (@McNaughtonArt) July 31, 2018
3. You often paint faith and political themes together in your paintings. There are many on the Left who feel they should be separated. Why do you feel it’s important to paint them together?
An artist once came in my art gallery and emphatically said, “You cannot mix religion and politics, that is not art!” My response was, “That is exactly what art is. The purpose of art is to incite emotion and create feelings and ideas which are too difficult to put into words. What more can do that than this!” Artists since the beginning have mixed both religion and politics as a theme in their paintings. It’s just not acceptable to the establishment art critics of today, and that doesn’t mean anything to me.
4. Do you have a favorite painting?
“One Nation Under God” was my first political piece, and the subject is important to me.
5. Any chance we can get a hint into your next painting?
I’m looking at doing a painting that depicts the current decline of the Democrat Party.
6. What do you hope to accomplish in your paintings?
To give people a fresh look at current issues or paradoxes occurring in our country today. I want the paintings to reflect how conservative Americans felt to be alive at this time in our country’s history.
7. Do you have any advice for young conservatives who are involved in the arts?
Be courageous. Artists are notoriously sensitive and often desire acceptance among their peers. You won’t get that as a conservative political artist. You have to have a thick skin and desire to speak the truth even if nobody else is with you.
You can view more paintings by Jon McNaughton by visiting his website.
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