Jonathan Thunder

Painting, Washington Studios

Jonathan Thunder (Red Lake Ojibwe) is a painter and digital media artist currently residing in Duluth, Minnesota. He has attended the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe and received a Bachelor's Degree in Visual Effects and Motion Graphics from the Art Institutes International Minnesota. His work has been featured in many state, regional, and national exhibitions, as well as in local and international publications. 

Thunder has won several awards in SWAIA's Annual Class 'X' Moving Images competition for his animation work on multiple projects.

Jonathan's paintings explore personal themes of identity, life transitions, internal conflict, and self-transformation. He depicts expressive characters whose emotions and thoughts manifest viscerally in their physical form. The bodies of his subjects often appear fragmented, disfigured, animalistic, or partially obscured. They portray the prison of old patterns and the desire to fluidly overcome them. His art acts as the scrapbook recording an evolving identity. Through his subjects, Jonathan can exaggerate the villians and heroes that make up his self-image. A strong theme focuses on the ability of the self to break away from "what it has been programmed to do." His work questions the cost of conformity, examines moral responsibility, and just like the character in "A Chant at Day's End," believes in art's exquisite ability to have "something to show" for the human journey.


The images I create are like entries in a scrapbook. They're conceptual snapshots of events, characters, epiphanies and dreams that shape my life. The style of imagery I make comes from a place of emotion, spirituality, drama, comedy and love. My paintings are journal entries, a record of personal evolution. My animations are dark cartoons with humor.

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