ESCONDIDO — The surrealist artist Jon Jaylo blends riddles and symbols into his works — works that when looking beyond those things, reveals an honest story.
As one part of two exhibits at the Museum at California Center for the Arts, Escondido, Jaylo continues to showcase his works in the city following his successful debut at the Distinction Gallery last year.
Eleven new works make up Jaylo’s, “All These Answers That May Never Come Our Way,” solo show, which is running simultaneously with “Heated Exchange: Contemporary Encaustics,” (Sept. 24 through Nov. 13).
Jaylo, who grew up in the Philippines and the U.S., and is now based in New York, said he knew at 4 years old he was going to be a painter.
“For some reason, at an early age of four, I already knew what I wanted,” he said. “Friends and family would ask me what I want to do with my life when I grow up, and I would answer straight up that I want to be a painter. There was no alternative goal for me. All I wanted to do was create art and it is truly a humbling experience that I get to do that now.”
His passion for surrealism was immediate, he explained, when, while in grade school he discovered Salvador Dalí and René Magritte.
From his inspirations, he’s since discovered his own surrealist style earning him the nickname, “The Engima.” A contemporary poet and artist of his gave it to him, because, he explained, his paintings are full of symbols and riddles that aren’t so easy to understand.
And whether any answers come this way in his new exhibit — that all depends on the viewer, he said.
His works are spurred on by many questions, he said. The many questions that we all go through in this life, he added. “I am constantly seeking for answers through different mediums like paintings, books, etc.,” Jaylo said.
“Personally, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in this life, that is to be patient. And if the answers never come, then I have to learn to accept that there will be questions in life that will be left unanswered.
“I was thinking are we supposed to know all the answers to every question in life? When is the time to keep searching for answers and when is the time to give up on it, accept things and move forward? What if the answers aren’t coming, will we put our lives on hold because of that?”
Coinciding with Jaylo’s exhibit is “Heated Exchange: Contemporary Encaustics.”
Encaustic art, a form that involves heated bees wax and which dates back to at least the 1st century A.D., is returning to modern art interests.
The interest of the ancient art form back into the contemporary art world might stem from Jasper Johns back in the 1950s, so thinks Jiela Rufeh, an encaustic artist from Encinitas, who will have her works shown in the exhibit.
From the ‘50s on, the art world began to take encaustic art as a more serious medium in part becuase of his works, she explained.
With a background in commercial advertising, Rufeh came to encaustic art through a period of rebelling against her own industry and that commercial need to get the “perfect photograph.”
Utilizing photography in her encaustic works, she explained they tend to have an organic feel where you’re still connected to nature.
Ideally, she tries to bring back the mysticism that she felt at the time she was in nature.
“For me, it’s a lot of bringing nature in and either having it (the work) reflect personal growth or self discovery or oneness with nature,” she said.
The exhibit also includes works from several other encaustic artists Kim Bernard, Kristy Deetz, Peter Dykhuis, Lorraine Glessner, Cheryl Goldsleger, Reni Gower, Jeffrey Hirst, Laura Moriarty, and Jane Allen Nodine. Two other local artists, Angela Koenig from Temecula and Josie Rodriguez from San Diego, will also have works featured.
The Museum at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido is at 340 N. Escondido Blvd.
The Museum is open Thursdays through Saturdays (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), and Sundays (1 to 4 p.m.).
Tickets are $8; members and children under 12 get in free. Senior (60+), military and student discounts are available. The second Saturday of each month, when an exhibition is open, is a “Pay What You Can Day” at the museum and will also feature a hands-on art activity. Call (760) 839-4138 or visit artcenter.org.