Jonathan Gladding first came to the Caribbean as a Peace Corps Volunteer in 1999. He had been working as a computer artist and animator, but after five years he felt the urge to broaden his horizons. In the island of Saint Lucia Gladding found an unending supply of rich subject matter in the faces and postures of the people going about their daily lives, and the traditional cultural aspects that make Saint Lucia such a wonderful and distinctive place. The pride in heritage and Kwéyòl culture combined with a sense of community and responsibility toward one another deeply impressed him and gave direction to his work.
Set in front of a landscape of vibrant greens, stunning blues and warm browns, and illuminated by a quality of light he had never experienced before, Gladding found in Saint Lucia what artists have always traveled far and near to find – true inspiration. He devoted himself to painting full-time, and what he thought to be a two-year experience had turned into nineteen and counting. In his paintings, Gladding’s desire is to tell a story in details, whether it is about the warmth and spirit of the people of the Caribbean, or something as simple as the way the reflected light colors the edge of a childʼs face. “It is my hope that I can convey the beauty of the Caribbean and its people and do my part in preserving what is so special about this part of the world and sharing that with others”.
Gladding continues to live in the same village where he did his Peace Corps service. He has exhibited extensively in the Caribbean, the US, and the UK and won numerous awards, including first prize at the Cape Cod Art Association’s National Exhibition (twice) and Awards of Excellence and Narrative Excellence at The National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society Best of America exhibition.