Always interested in art as a small child, sketching constantly, Bill Jonas studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago at age 12 at the encouragement of his teachers.
Bill won a Hallmark Award in a high school competition. He graduated from the University of Illinois with "honors and distinction," with a bachelors degree in Fine and Graphic Arts.
Bill Jonas pursued post graduate work at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he later participated in the prestigious Chicago & Vicinity Show with the painting, "Evolution." After that, he was invited to do a one-man show at the Chicago Public Library, and was then part of a group show for the Chicago Union League.
While in Chicago, he was a gallery artist at the distinguished Ratner Gallery, located in the arts district off of Ohio Street.
Jonas moved to New Orleans in 1988 and the following year joined Wyndy Morehead Fine Arts Gallery, when he began painting full time.
In 1991, after viewing Jonas work in a group show, Artists on War, at the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC), Howard Barnett of Hall-Barnett Gallery asked Jonas to join his gallery. He began there as part of a two-man show, The Naked Show. He stayed with Hall-Barnett until the spring of 1994, when a stroke forced Barnett to close the gallery. During his time at Hall-Barnett he participated and appeared in numerous group shows.
Bill Jonas decided to try it on his own after the Hall-Barnett closing. He continued to paint in his studio and promotes his own works by doing mailings to his client list. These note cards contain images of his paintings.
He has been featured in Southern Accents Magazine, the Guest Informant - New Orleans, Harolds Catalog, and was chosen as the Collector's Club Artist of the Year, by the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC), in 1996. He has also been selected for the Entergy Louisiana Open every year since 1996 at the CAC.
In 1997, Bill Jonas was commissioned by Absolut Vodka for billboard display and retail publications. In 1998, Southern Louisiana University asked him to participate in Louisiana Literature, which is a yearly publication featuring Louisiana writers and artists exclusively.
In 1998 he had a one-man show at Christophers Discoveries and in 2000, was asked to do the cover of Gambit Weekly: Summer Restaurant Guide.
Bill was commissioned to do the official poster for the 2003 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and in December he was invited to exhibit at the 2003 Biennale Internazionale Dell' Arte Contemporanea di Firenze (the Florence Biennale) where he was awarded the prestigious Lorenzo De' Medici medal for the painting "Lebensborn".
The LSU (Louisiana State University) Alumni Association honored Bill Jonas for his painting, "The Victors (LSU)" with a reception at the new Alumni Association Museum in 2004. A giclee' print of "The Victors" now hangs in the museum's permanent collection.
In March of 2005, Robert Bruno Gallery gave Jonas a thirty year retrospective of paintings done throughout his career. Art connoisseurs from all over the region came to pay homage to the transplanted New Orleans artist and his work. The show received rave reviews by art critics and Bill was given another Gambit Weekly cover: Spring Restaurant Guide.
In June of that same year, Ogden Museum of Southern Art (a Smithsonian affiliate) approached Bill Jonas for the purchase of his painting "Lebensborn", the award winning painting exhibited at the 2003 Florence Biennale. This impressive work now hangs as part of Ogden Museum's permanent collection.
One and a half years after Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc upon New Orleans and repairs to the Jonas studio were completed, a tornado raced down the Hillary Street location, devastating the neighborhood once again. The studio repairs, only just completed, were undone. It was time to explore other location options.
In 2007 Bill Jonas moved his studio to Washington DC, which had been experiencing an artistic rebirth. Collaborating with other artists, he opened his Fern Place studio, where he continues his eagerly sought after commissions.
Jonas has sold hundreds of prints and paintings in the last number of years on his own and today he remains occupied with commissions, which leaves little time to accumulate works for a show. He has a strong following; many patrons have bought several works. Because of the detail and techniques utilized in his paintings, one piece may take several months to complete. His clients are happy to wait.
Utilizing brilliant colors and most intriguing images, Bill Jonas charms the viewer with his thought-provoking paintings. The bright colors and smooth textures of his paintings provide undiminished appeal. He portrays the human figure and looks at it universally. His depictions reflect hermaphrodite-type beings having strong, mixed features with androgynous women and estrogenus men. His images are surreal, sometimes whimsical and always entertaining. Working in oils, watercolors, and monotype prints, Jonas commitment comes through in the detail in his work. Show me the work.