My name is Jona Monét, I am a visual artist, graphic designer, overall creative residing in Washington DC. I was born in Germany, to New York City native military parents, spending most of my childhood there, before moving to upstate New York, and ultimately Maryland, where I attended high school and earned a bachelor's degree from Towson University in Digital Arts and Design in 2012.
Upon graduation I began working in Graphic Design but I was not satisfied. I wanted to work somewhere that made a real impact on the community. I dropped the political graphic design gig and worked with a Project Create a summer and after school arts program, Creative Carousal, a traveling paint-n-sip company and freelanced with clients such as Link Up, a nonprofit based on bringing Awareness and solutions to the housing crisis and gentrification that natives are experiencing in Washington, D.C., specially the Brookland/Saratoga area.
I got the push I wanted but even with 3 gigs I was not making as much as I would working full time graphic design. So that is where byJonaMonet was born. I tried for so long using other names and aliases, at this point of my life I was tired of trying and just wanted to be. I curated 3 art art exhibits called “Pray4ye”- highlighting mental health awareness, yes The conversation of Kanye was present, but most importantly “Ye” is the old English version of you. Emphasizing that before you can help anyone else you must first help yourself.
A mixture of all of this led me to create a secondary Brand called Dripp’n by Jona Monét my own version of Paint-n-Sips. Trial and error has led me to creating a portable paint night experience. Upon review it was brought to my attention how relaxing and stimulating the experience was. I shared them as gifts last year but I want to introduce them to the world. I would love the opportunity to share my product as well as implement an interactive element. At my booth I would have a life size painting and allow visitors to color in the image together.
How does this tie into the African diaspora? My artwork is based off of African Principles and legends. I tie Adinkra, hieroglyphics and sacred geometry into my artwork. To help awaken the inner consciousness. For those unfamiliar with these concepts, symbols and stories these are opportunities to reteach what has been lost within our community for generations. Rebuilding to uplift and enlight.
Why me? As time passes, I learn more about myself, and my linage. Ive heard countless stories of My great grandmother professing that we did not descend from slaves. A concept I could not comprehend at that time. My family is rooted out of South Carolina and that mush mouth language I understood, but despised growing up, is actually of Geechie/Gullah descent. It had me looking at myself and my family in an entirely different light. Feeling less tied to the slave narrative taught in schools, but now also looking into the Caribbean cultures, learning more about us as a whole. I now understand what my great grandmother meant, we were share croppers and we do in fact own the land my family was raised on.
This is something I am learning about daily. I am using art as a tool of research. I know I have a gift and it must be shared. Thank you for taking the time to learn about my journey and I hope you can support. Support looks like love to me. Of course purchasing, but also telling a friend, spreading the word, supporting events and even YOU learning more about YOU. I am a real person and would love to hear your experiences. Who knows, my next piece may be waiting for your input..