I met Jason Lessans a few weeks because he was selling paintings at an art event that my mom was also a part of. I was absolutely blown away by the beauty, intricacy, and emotion that was palpable in his artwork. When I met him, I was shocked this was just an after-work hobby and not his full-time job. More than that, I couldn’t believe how humble and down-to-earth he seemed about his insane talents.
Enjoy our 1:1 interview with this gifted Jewish artist, and then check out his Instagram to follow along on his journey.
Allie: How did you wind up living in DC?
Jason: I actually live in Vienna, by Tysons Corner. I moved here from the Baltimore area to be closer to my office after I changed jobs and started work at Alarm.com as a data engineer.
Allie: Outside of work, you create some amazing art. What kind of artwork do you do?
Jason: I primarily focus on abstract painting using different techniques and styles. For some of my paintings, such as cityscapes, I use palette knives, brushes, combs, and various other tools to create different effects. For other paintings, I use fluid art techniques, pouring a paint mixture directly onto the canvas. I also enjoy working with other media like metal, ceramics, and glass.
Allie: What motivated you to become an artist?
Jason: I’ve been interested in art since I was a little kid. I went to art camps growing up and took a few classes in high school and college. Although, I would say most of what I’ve learned was just by practicing in my spare time. I wasn’t actually motivated to sell paintings until recently. I would get very attached to my paintings and didn’t want to part with them. In the past year or so I started painting more frequently and ran out of room to hang them. When they started piling up, I knew I had to start selling them.
Allie: What do you love about painting?
Jason: I find it very relaxing and therapeutic. I listen to music and just kind of zone out and let my subconscious take over as I paint.
Allie: What is your favorite subject to paint?
Jason: A lot of my paintings don’t have a subject. I like how they mean different things to different people. I also found that I like to paint abstract cityscapes after I made one by accident. I’d been playing with a new technique and noticed it resembled a skyline reflected on water. Since then I’ve made more and improved on the technique.
Allie: What painting(s) are you most proud of?
Jason: That’s a tough question to answer. I have a lot of paintings that I’m pretty attached to. I think sometimes I’m the most proud when I do one unlike any that I’ve done before. There is one portrait I did years ago of Arya from Game of Thrones that I really like, mostly because I never do portraits and it came out much better than I expected. I also really like the first geometric painting I did, along with some of my recent black, white, and gold pour paintings where I create a tree-ring effect. [Note: Check out Jason’s artwork on the ‘Gram @lessans_in_abstraction!]
Allie: How do you find time to paint outside of your full time job?
Jason: I try to set aside an hour or two most nights before bed. It relaxes me and has kind of become part of my bedtime routine.
Allie: Who are your artist role models?
Jason: I would say Wassily Kandinsky – his work is incredible and unlike anything before him. He is generally considered the father of abstract art.
Allie: Do you have any other hidden talents?
Jason: I’m a really good whistler. I’ll admit, it’s a pretty useless skill and but I can basically whistle any tune.
Allie: What is your favorite Jewish food?
Jason: Oh man – so many good ones. I’ll go with brisket – I never get sick of it.
Allie: What’s your favorite flavor Hamantaschen and why?
Jason: Maybe strawberry. Anything other than prunes.
Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…
Jason: Bagels don’t stand a chance.
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