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Jonathan Calm

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At times, art has been an escape from a reality that I didn’t see myself as being a part of. It’s served an escape from some of the brutality I’ve witnessed.

“At times, art has been an escape from a reality that I didn’t see myself as being a part of. It’s served an escape from some of the brutality I’ve witnessed. It’s a space where I’m able to make things right and whole, where I can question things and craft my own method for reorganizing the world. It’s also an opportunity for me to step outside of what’s happening around me and become a mirror, creating things that reflect where we are as a culture.

I’m part of the culture, but as an artist, a portion of me feels that it’s my job to step partially outside of it in order to record it. I love what I do: It allows me time and space to process, question and create. My field also allows me to explore and advocate for areas of our world that aren’t getting enough attention. Ultimately, art is a way to remake and redirect the world. I’m lucky I get to spend my life doing that.

“I’m a photographer because ultimately that’s the way I look at the world, and it’s the medium I always return to. One nice feature of saying you’re a photographer is that everybody knows what that means and can relate to it. I think that in a way, being a photographer has simplified identity for me, while still leaving it open-ended enough to define the aspects of it that I want to. Photography is everywhere, and people connect with it on a personal level. Everyone’s taking photos and storing them, daily. Most people may not know what to do with them, how to categorize them, or if they’re good or bad, but we all have catalogs of our lives that we’re carrying around wherever we go.”

Jonathan Calm, Assistant Professor of Art