Art21 Extended Play

Joan Jonas Lets the Ink Fly


Joan Jonas makes ink drawings in her New York City studio. Production still from the series ART21 Exclusive. © ART21, Inc. 2014. Cinematography: Jarred Alterman

 “I don’t think that you can ever really capture what it’s like for an artist to be alone working…in the studio.” —Joan Jonas

Today’s ART21 Exclusive features Joan Jonas drawing in her Manhattan studio, and on stage at the Umeå Jazz Festival in Sweden. “Drawing is like practicing the piano, because the first ones that I do often don’t come out so I have to practice,” says Jonas who handicaps herself by attaching her ink brushes and oil sticks to long branches. “It’s almost accidental if they turn out.” While showing archived drawings of her dogs and an owl, Jonas discusses her interest in capturing an animal’s character through portraiture.

ART21 Exclusive is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; 21c Museum Hotel, and by individual contributors.

CREDITS: Producer: Ian Forster. Consulting Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Ian Forster & Susan Sollins. Camera: Jarred Alterman, Linus Andersson, and Amanda Björk. Sound: Richard Gin & Johannes Oscarsson. Editor: Morgan Riles. Artwork Courtesy: Robert Ashley, Electronic Arts Intermix, New York, Joan Jonas, and Performing Artservices, Inc. Special Thanks: Mimi Johnson. Theme Music: Peter Foley.