Jonathan Whitlock's life encompasses the word "art" on so many levels. He is known mainly for his paintings and sketches, but he dabbles in the art of music and certainly excels in the art of life. Here you will find samplings of all of his media before and after his car accident – a brief but truly life-changing moment in time.
His traumatic brain injury took away his ability to walk, play the guitar and piano, remember what he said just a few minutes ago, and paint, speak, think, hear, and see unhindered. However, it miraculously took away his bipolar mental illness, replacing it with a bright, quick wit. He has opportunities to influence others for good, and he can now be a "starving artist" without starving!
Jonathan currently resides in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He still writes music and even manages to play a bit on the piano. He still paints, albeit with his non-dominant hand, all while living life fully and beautifully.
Jonathan's interest in art began in the 2nd grade drawing dinosaurs. From there, he progressed to studying and drawing their skeletal systems as a teenager. He was homeschooled 9th-12th grade when he discovered oil painting, which quickly became his favorite medium. It was also during those years that he was able to study the works of classic artists, particularly cubist artists such as Picasso and Mondrian.
After graduation in 1998, he majored in Studio Arts at Southern Virginia College. He had his first gallery exhibition at the end of his freshman year in Lexington, Virginia. During the summer break, in June 1999, he was involved in a car accident that left him in a coma for five months, having sustained a traumatic brain injury that affected him cognitively and physically. For instance, he now paints and draws with his non-dominant hand. And because of that hand's spasticity, he's learned to use larger, more fluid brush strokes and less detail. Being blind in his left eye has also been a challenge. His artistic mind now thinks more concrete than abstract, and he struggles with short-term memory, but thanks to excellent personal care attendants with artistic backgrounds, he continues to progress and grow as an artist.
Jonathan's remarkable story was published in July 2018 as The Long Run – My Son's Inspired Journey Through Traumatic Brain Injury using his mother's journal entries and letters. It can be purchased on Amazon as a Kindle eBook or black-and-white paperback.
Click on "Read More" for a synopsis of the book. Then scroll down to see Jonathan's artwork and the photos in color. If you are interested in having Jonathan and Annette come and do a presentation for your group, you can contact them at email@example.com.
Jonathan had his first exhibition after the accident on his 30th birthday in 2010 at the Red Raven Gallery in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In 2013 he had a follow up show at Mulberry Art Studio in Lancaster, with his story being shared in the Lancaster Newspaper for both shows. In October 2017, he returned to Southern Virginia University for a solo show and artist talk.
Since then, he has had showings at Lancaster's Grand Central Bagel in 2018 and Gallery One in 2019. His painting, “U.S. 222 South” that graces the cover of his mother's book The Long Run, was selected for and sold at the renowned 2021 Art Ability show in Bryn Mawr, PA. His most recent show is May 2022, one shared with four other artists with disabilities at United Disabilities Services (UDS) in Lancaster.
You can find Jonathan's artwork available at aspieartists.com, a nonprofit that supports artists with disabilities through suggested donations to the artists.