An Interview With Painter Wayson Jones

Wayson R. Jones "Fences" painting Mount Rainier Maryland artist painting

“Fences,” acrylic, sand and gesso on canvas, courtesy of Wayson R. Jones

Wayson R. Jones’ latest exhibition will be seen by more people than ever.

That’s because it’s at the Hotel at the University of Maryland, where several of the Mount Rainier painter’s pieces are on display.

A graduate of the University of Maryland, where he studied music, Jones got into painting a few years ago.

He spoke with the Hyattsville Wire via email about his paintings.

How did you come to Mount Rainier?

I’ve lived in this area (Hyattsville, Brentwood, Mount Rainier) off and on for a long time, but basically I was looking for a more reasonable rent.

What do you think of the local arts scene?

I think it’s wonderful! Lots of private galleries have closed, but the DMV has several great nonprofit arts space, and world-class museums, including the Katzen at American University, which (unlike the Smithsonian) does a great job of including local artists. Our Gateway Arts District is full of great artists, and I’m proud to be part of this community.

What are your favorite arts places to go along Route 1?

39th Street Gallery, curated by John Paradiso; Brentwood Arts Exchange; Pyramid Atlantic, and Otis Street Arts Project in Mount Rainier.

How did you get into painting?

I transitioned from doing music and gradually got into painting. About 10 years ago, I started doing collages with the fall colored leaves and visiting the arts and crafts store for materials. I got curious about other art mediums and it’s just taken off from there.

One of your recent exhibits was entirely in black and white. How did using a more limited palette focus your painting?

That’s a great question. I’m more interested in composition than color for my own work. I grew up as a kid watching black-and-white TV and movies, so I think there’s an influence of that. I didn’t make a conscious decision to go monochromatic; it just evolved, especially once I got a studio.

How did your painting come to be selected for the new Hotel at the University of Maryland?

I’ve known Rhonda Dallas, the executive director of the Prince Georges County Arts and Humanities Council, for a few years. She knows many of the Gateway artists and chose some of us for the project.

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