Jay Lonewolf Morales is an astonishing painter that suffers from monochromacy – complete color blindness — the rarest and most uncommon form of color blindness. He is one of only five in the world that suffers from achromatopsia, or rod monochromacy, which also affects sensitivity to light. The artist can only see in black and white and shades of grey, yet all of his paintings are done with vivid colors.
As Morales puts it, he has the eyes of a cat, but he sees like a dog. But even dogs can see some color.
Jay doesn’t permit others into his studio while he works. “I cry every time I paint because I cannot enjoy the pigments of my labor. My realm resides in shades, with the creative independence of free flowing serenity.” says Jay. “I can’t see what I’m doing. My hands flail around half-hazardly. I’m trying to create what I call my children.”
When Jay Lonewolf was 7 and living in Cochecton, N.Y., he would watch his grandfather paint. One day he took Jay to Prospect Park in Brooklyn and set him up with canvas and a large sketch pad with paints. His grandfather glanced and noticed he was painting the same thing as he was only in unusual colors that weren’t natural to nature. He screamed with glee and showed his parents, who decided to enroll him in an art school for the gifted.
One week later he was sent home with a note taped to his forehead which read, “We cannot teach the ignorant.” Enraged, his mother went to the school the very next day to speak with the teacher.
The art teacher said that Jay was gifted, but they couldn’t teach him because he couldn’t adhere to the color chart assignments.
His mother looked her straight in the eyes and said, “My son would love to be able to follow your instructions like all the other gifted children, however, my son has never seen the color of his own eyes. He is completely color blind. His world is black and white. Neither his mother nor teacher could contain their tears.
Jay Lonewolf never took another art class.
When he paints, he remembers his mother’s tears that day and how helpless she felt that he couldn’t receive an art education. Some days he can’t hold the tears back, reflecting upon that day.
Although he can’t see the colors, he’s still able to work with them. Jay turns the lights off and sets candles alight on either side of his canvas, using the reflections and movement of the shadows from the candlelight, adding texture to create his artworks with blobs of paint, melted wax and pieces of wire mesh. ”I want people to touch my paintings.” he said. “They’re touching a part of my soul.”
”I get kind of offended if you don’t want to touch it.” Jay says. “Sometimes artists are too sensitive about their finished works. I think that after the creation process, sensitivity should take a nap.”
Jay’s mother passed many years ago. He says that sometimes when he’s painting in the darkness he can feel a pair of arms embracing him and can smell her perfume.
One day on the coast of Key West, Jay Lonewolf Morales came upon a man curled upon a boulder, crying. He asked the man why he was weeping. The man told him he’d gotten out of Cuba and that his daughter was still in a Cuban prison.
Jay felt compelled to paint the man in all his sorrow. Thus was born the ‘Summit of Reality’, one of his works from his ‘waking experience’.
Morales offers advice for artists that suffer artist’s block: “When you find yourself lost because you seem vexed because you feel like painting but you cannot seem to be able to create for one reason or another, this is when you very simply walk away. One cannot and should not force themselves to create. That is a natural function of the mind in a state of unclarity.”
“Avoid attempting to go against your nature. Do something else to keep your mind occupied. When I paint it is because something from a very deep place is calling and simply cannot contain itself. It is like a voice that is getting louder and louder inside.”
“The sad thing is only you can hear that calling and it does not leave you alone until you fulfill it’s needs, and when you do it is the greatest feeling of ecstasy you can have without the benefit of a skilled lover!”
The Miami Herald reports that Morales doesn’t want to be recognized as “that color-blind painter. A lot of people love my work before they even know I’m color-blind. I want to be recognized simply as a painter.”
Morales dislikes being called an ‘artist’. Disinclined to label his work, he doesn’t follow any formal established art movements. He considers himself an abstract impressionist.
His favorite artist is the Dutch abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning, as well as expressionist Purvis Young and Lee Krasner.
Jay recently displayed some of his artwork at a Coral Gables show sponsored by Slofar Development, for which he was featured in Key Biscayne Magazine’s July-August issue. He’s commanded as much as $68,000 for “In the Shadow of Her Soul”.
Morales donates some of his earnings to help poor and homeless people, and has stood outside churches and shelters giving out shirts, sweaters, socks and other essentials. ”We were so poor when I was growing up, I feel like I have to do something to give back.” he said.
He is working to get some paintings into Art Basel Miami Beach this year. If he sells them, he plans to rent a large truck and fill it with clothes, blankets and shoes to give to the poor over the holidays. He also hopes to participate in next year’s Coconut Grove Arts Festival.
Jay’s lifetime dream is to exhibit his works alongside his daughter Francesca, who has won awards for her artwork. “If I got to do that, I think I could die happy the next day.” he said.
Jay Lonewolf Morales – Spiritual Monochromatic Impressionist
Television interview with South Florida Today.
Miami Herald also has an interview video with Jay Lonewolf Morales.
All photos property of Jay Lonewolf Morales.
Copyright 2007 Life in the Fast Lane.Tags:achromatopsia art artist artists artwork color blind colorblind impressionist Jay Lonewolf Morales monochromacy monochromatic painting paintings