MASTERING THE DARK ARTS
Inked|2021 Holiday Issue
Jotham’s art is a throwback to the Baroque with a uniquely modern twist.
JONNY WATSON

Sir Alexander Fleming was hard at work in his lab when he noticed one of his petri dishes had developed some mold. Instead of tossing the sample in the garbage as many others would, he noticed the mold appeared to be killing the staphylococcus in the dish and gave it further inspection. And just like that, in one of the world’s greatest happy accidents, penicillin was born.

It was a similar happy accident that brought Jotham to the world of art. When he was a little kid he made a tremendous mess. But just like with Sir Fleming, where others would see something in need of being tossed into the rubbish, Jotham saw art. While Jotham’s work hasn’t won a Nobel Prize (yet), his ghastly creations have provided plenty of nightmare fuel. We spoke with the artist about his inspirations

Do you remember the first time you fell in love with art?

When I was 4, I drizzled chocolate drink over a Manila folder containing my mom’s lesson plans. You know, kinda like a chicken’s butt when breezed with air. The drops formed to what seemed to be a bearded man. Happy with the result, I emptied its contents to do more, this time using my pudgy lil fingers. I had fallen in love... against all baby odds.

When did you know you wanted to become an artist?

My grandpa’s brother (the other gramps) was an airbrush portrait artist who allowed 4th grade me to observe him a few feet away from his zone. I was bragging that I could do better with pencils as I munched salted peanuts with school boy innocence and scrawny lil legs dangling alternately from the barstool where I was seated.

I was unaffected by discouragements from my relatives not to follow this old and struggling Filipino-American WW2 vet-turned-artist’s footsteps. After all, I was 10 and I loved to draw.

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