My name is Jemal Diamond, I’m an abstract figurative artist with an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I live in the south Bay Area in California, show at KALEID Gallery and have an art studio at Visual Philosophy Studios, both in San Jose, California.
My drawing style comes from the grand tradition of doodling. The smooth, gentle roll of a pen across the pulpy texture of paper is meditative and soothing. It’s the marks we make in the margins while our focused minds are elsewhere that I find most interesting. Most of the work is improvisational, with no intended outcome – only hopeful surprises. Over the years, several natural visual motifs developed, that I return to again and again, “The Goddess,” “The City,” and the “Map to Heaven.” You’ll find these themes at work here, often a mix of two or all three. There are embedded intentional dichotomies to create a playground of visual cues and possible meaning. When I was in art school I would take my abstract drawings to my peers and ask, “What would you title this?” That simple question activated their imagination and engagement, and when I began posting drawings online with the caption, “Title Me,” imaginative, creative, and inspirational titles poured in. I collect them all, and make selections whenever the work is shown.
“South Core North” (40×16.75” acrylic on recycled cardboard, mounted to panel) is my illustrative musing on the Google campus planned around the Diridon Train Station, in San Jose, California, a few blocks from my art studio. The plan is said to include 80 acres of mixed-use land, 7 million square feet of office space, and house up to 25,000 employees. The piece explores themes of population density, public vs. private space, and the influence of User Interface on our contemporary visual landscape.
You can watch the process video here: https://www.instagram.com/p/B9YCvFYHaeR/
I’m inspired by landscapes and technology, urban planning, and abstracted and deconstructed imagery. The piece was created for a curated art show on Art and Politics, premiering the non-profit San José Arts Advocates. SJAA is a collaborative of the San José creative community dedicated to education, advocacy, and action to support arts and culture.
Not only will the enormous project affect me personally in my neighborhood, but the project will impact millions of people coming in and out of the San Jose Diridon transportation hub, the 25,000 Google residents, and will fundamentally change the landscape of downtown San Jose, California. I’m neither for or against the project. My goal was to bring more awareness to it and bring visual concepts to the conversation. I love beautiful architecture. The buildings and the rehabilitation and revitalization of some of the water front will be beautiful. The money Google is putting into the transportation hub will benefit millions of riders. Yet, it will add to the unfortunate side effect of gentrification, create more divide between the haves and have nots. It will definitely add to the blurring of what is private space and what is public space and the question of who gets to use it. All in all, the area will have enormous potential for beauty and for conflict.
If you would like to support Jemal and the cause he creates for, please consider helping “San Jose Arts Advocates” HERE: https://www.sjartsadvocates.org/
If you would like to see more artists like Jemal, consider donating to AFA HERE.