Jonathan Green, painter and printmaker, was born and raised in the small Gullah community of Gardens Corner located near the South Carolina Sea Islands. Green’s early life was greatly influenced by his grandmother who relied heavily on oral traditions to instill in him the values and traditions of his African and African-American heritage. The customs and mores internalized by Green stressed the importance of the work ethic and a commitment to community values with a respect for the dignity and integrity of others. He is one of the first known artists of Gullah heritage to receive formal training at a professional art school, The Art Institute of Chicago, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in 1982.
While his appeal and perspective are truly modern and cosmopolitan, Green looks to the familiar images of his ancestral home for the subjects of his paintings. In his art Green draws upon his own intimate personal experiences, steeped in the traditions of family, community and life in the Southern United States. Each of his paintings is a testament to the motivating power of place capturing the continuity of the past combined with the energy, exuberance and creativity of the present.
As a result of his tremendous and prolific talent, Green’s work has been embraced by collectors and critics throughout the world. His paintings can be found in major museum collections in California, Florida, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, Japan, Germany and Sierra Leone. In 1996, Green received an honorary doctorate from the University of South Carolina, the same year a book, Gullah Images: The Art of Jonathan Green, reproducing a large number of his pieces was published.