Get to know Jon Rene Gaujot. He goes by the name Gojo and he is an Alaskan Fisherman and American artist of French and Irish decent. His family is from the Durbin/Greenbank areas of Pocahontas County. In the early 1990’s, Gojo started his career as an Alaskan fisherman and rescue salver.
He has been in and out since and has worked with divers, shiprights, and chief engineers. He has alleviated marine disasters such as abandoned or crashed ships and floating darelick vessels. As a child, he was exposed to the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. He always loved the works of Salvadore Dali and Van Gogh. He always knew there was no money to be made in art so early in life he learned to enjoy it and always have fun with it. His media includes found and recycled items to canvas. He works with fast 3d bold colors on layered vague realism. Movement texture, palette, knife and brush are used on most of his works. He is currently working on a documentary about his extreme Alaskan career and family. Learn more about Gojo with our Q&A:
How do you describe your palette?
Free flowing color layered with hints of realism. I never really know how they will end up as I paint fast on every new object. My last art teacher in Dutch harbor Alaska, Babbie Goodwin, told me, “paint fast Gojo for you are getting old.” I love to paint fast without perfect lines or form. This is stress free medicine for me. I really need to paint everyday to feel relaxed and full at the end of the day.
What’s your greatest accomplishment?
Making children smile for they really love my art the most. They tell me what they see with the 3D glasses on. I love to hear them say things like “WOW” or “COOL!” It really makes my day. However, on a professional note in my career, was to have survived my first year as an Alaskan Pollack and Crab fisherman would be high up on the list. I worked the entire season with my index finger broken almost cut off. Taped and kept on working.
The hardest job on deck and I cooked the entire crew three meals a day. You never sleep. My first two years were bad bad ice years on the smallest boats in the fleet. Amazing pain, however, I endured, and stayed in Alaska and went to work for a diving and salvage company. And again, really amazing dangerous work over the years. What a crew of some of the most brave and non-whining people on the face of the planet. Some of these folks are on t.v. shows today. Like “Deadliest Catch,” “Salvage” which is filmed on the Salvage Vessel Redeemer and on National Geographic Channel. They were good teachers to me and helped me survive and learn some valuable, life saving lessons. Be fast, be strong, and forever no whining. Some of the coldest temperature hit 100 knot winds, with -67 degree wind chill and 40 foot seas. If you whine, you’re really going to suffer up in Alaaaaska!!!
What obstacles do you need to find your creative space/muse?
Really the only thing I need is paint, canvas, or an object to paint on. I try to paint everyday for years now. People donate things for me to paint on. I’ve done a lot of doors and roofing slates (makes my palette knife razor sharp after I do so many). Once I start I often explode with fast, wet on wet, to mix, flip, and control the paint. With palette knife I attack the background and layer a seam or particular movement.
How do you find your inspiration?
What inspires me the most is survival and people’s expressions. The warm conversations and comments I receive have been my fuel in the midnight hours. College students, young and old, seem to buy my paintings the most. They are a joy to me and I try to inspire them to paint and enjoy life when they are finished studying, of course.
What advice do you have for other artists?
Try art. Breath as an artist breathes. Just do it, fast or slow. Feel the joy of an artist as you sign your own works. If you like your art, others will like it also. Smile as you work on a new, great piece of art.
How can our readers find you?
Lewisburg on Saturday or Sunday on Washington Street. The warm locals have inspired me to catch up and work on my book, show, and music. I yearn for the remote and frequent barbarous coasts with some of the best in the business. Extreme takes on a whole new meaning in Alaska. The Bearing Sea is a force to respect, enjoy, and endure. No sissies need apply. And remember, no whining, be fast, and paint your story bright.
– HashtagWV, October 2016
HASHTAGWV ART & ENTERTAINMENT Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Christina Entenmann-Edwards has been a WV resident since September 2008. She was born and raised in Fairfield County, Connecticut, and is no stranger to hard work and the entrepreneurial spirit. In 2006, she graduated from Quinnipiac University (Hamden, Connecticut), Cum Laude, with a B.A. in History. In 2010, she graduated with an M.B.A. from Liberty University (Lynchburg, Virginia). In February 2012, Christina launched HashtagWV as the area’s first full-color, free arts and entertainment tabloid + online platform. Christina completed the Leadership West Virginia class of 2021, which is an innovative program that grows, engages, and mobilizes leaders to ignite a life passion to move West Virginia forward.