Artist Jalal Pleasant originates from the southeastern United States and is an alumnus of the New York School of Visual Arts. Originally following in his sibling's footsteps Pleasant later made a decision to not attend Oberlin College and later declined his letter of acceptance into the Rhode Island College of Art and Design. Pleasant attended Brooklyn's Pratt Institute where during the summer long pre college orientation program he decided that New York City was the place he wanted to begin his professional creative journey. This decision later led to his acceptance into the New York School of Visual Arts.
A former member of the downtown New York City "Gatien era" club kid scene of the mid 1990's, Pleasant's element of shock is documented in his club kind inspired self-titled, 'Unknown' masked persona that is implicit in his installation and graphic design art. Jalal participated in New York City's East Village underground art scene. Pleasant also contributed in the London, Amsterdam and Berlin's art scenes, installing art in Alphabet City to Kunst Center Tachelles and beyond. These heavy influences motivated Pleasant to further develop his own unique art-style represented in Pleasant oil paintings, graphic design and installation artworks.
Jalal Pleasant is a member of a family of nationally distinguished artists and award recipients. Pleasant's Grandfather David Carter was a widely recognized sculptor who exhibited at the Library of Congress in Washington DC. Pleasant's Father, the late, William M Pleasant, Jr. (www.pleasantart.org) is a nationally recognized painter, graphic designer whose artwork is currently on exhibit in the Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC, as part of the permanent collection.
Jalal Pleasant presents an in-depth art lecture series titled, Three Generations of Pleasant Art that chronicles the art and life of three generations of artists from the Pleasant family beginning with his grand father. The stories are narrated by J. Pleasant from his father's notes an his collected artworks. Jalal Pleasant recently published his first art book titled, 'SIGNS', co-written with acclaimed Musician, Scholar, David Pleasant (www.davidpleasant1.com). The next book in the series, Signs' volume two is currently in development
Pleasant is regarded as an figurative-expressionist painter, underground artist. Pleasant studied under the tutelages of Illustrator Jack Potter and New York abstract painter Michael Goldberg. Pleasant also received additional painting instruction from New York City neo expressionist painter, Martha Diamond. Over the years Pleasant has met many influential people who have further enriched his life and art. Pleasant has travelled for many years residing for extended periods of time in Scandinavia, Eastern and central Europe. Pleasant's travels helped to inspire him in his art and introduce a dimension of genuineness and real life experience into his expressionist paintings, installation and graphic design artworks. Some artists Pleasant has exhibited and or collaborated with have included, Makoto Fujimura, Max Zorn, Dame Darcy, Unononeeins (Fashion Moda NYC) and The London Police. Pleasant's work has evolved over the years into an unusual blend of various styles and mediums that push the barriers of what is deemed "acceptable" often walking a fine line between social-political commentary and satire. Through an unusual blend of late 80's ny street, contemporary central european and old southern folk style, you receive a very engaging Pleasant art experience. Pleasant is often considered to be an "underground artist" who often keeps his whereabouts and the majority of his upcoming projects unpublished until the time of it's unveiling.
Preferred mediums are: oil painting, water colours, multi-media installations, film, sculpture (metal) and Aerosol (Street Art).
What is the significance of the Pleasant GAS MASK? Pleasant's 1950's eastern european style gas mask is a extension of Pleasant's time in the east Village New York art scene. The fine arts department building of SVA is located less than one block from the then famous Limelight club; operated by the infamous Peter Gatien during the early to mid 1990's. It was during those years that Pleasant's performance art masked persona was created. Titled, The 'Unknown'.
I feel that aspects of who I am are unimportant where the art is concerned. I, in a way, take myself out of the art, yet at the same time I project a neutral yet direct influence into the work. I exist but do not exist, I can not be judged by looks as I have none."
- JALAL PLEASANT
The gas mask was invented by American Garrett Morgan (1877-1963) Pleasant's symbolic use of this device sends a strong impression of his effort to filter through the pollution of modern society. "The 'Unknown' mask is just that, the Unknown possibilities of what could be in a World if only humanity challenged itself to engaged its potential for change." "The 'Unknown' is a soldier forever dressed in the battle for human equality for everyone." Artist Pleasant is the creator of the infamous Bush £5 note and helped to re-popularize and re-establish the, "I AM A MAN" motif and gas Mask imagery that have become re-popularized in contemporary media.
"My mission is to engage all, and specifically young people in critical thinking; to question the order and structure of their environment and to consider how they may actualize their own personal understanding of creative expression and their role in defining the environment in which they live."
"The 'portable expressions'series has been developed to help push critical thinking in the arts. Its purpose is to open the possibility of promoting interaction between observers and art. This is achieved through a unique form of presentation that allows the art to be perceived as tangible. Observers are then motivated to develop their own understanding of the process and function of interactive static design. The theme revolves around the concept of a sustainable future through harmonious interaction with nature and structure."
- JALAL PLEASANT
Pleasant is determined to create chaos in the art world by fusing all methods of creative expression into an art that is not safe. Line, colour and motion photography are used to initiate analysis and discussion about a broad range of issues that include masculinity identity, the environment, racism, economics and art. Pleasant art isn't always pleasant and can appear anywhere where communication is needed. Pleasant art is a 'street art' while rejecting the notion that one must be confined to the street. It is a gallery art, though one 's validity as an artist should not be defined by a space. Pleasant art is an anti- art and pro art in contradiction with itself. The fusion of science, technology and creativity is Pleasant art. Jalal Pleasant is committed to presenting his vision through an ongoing experiment of new concepts and techniques that challenge today's contemporary understanding for structure and form. Jalal creates a kind of creatively pleasant chaos.
Jalal Pleasant's fine art, design works and events have appeared in various publications and media of note in the European Union and United States. Some of which have included, The Nation, The Woodstock Times, SOUTH Magazine, Holland Times, AM New York, De Telegraf, ELLE magazine, Connect Savannah, Het Parool, BlackBook, the New York Press, The Village Voice and Nickelodeon Television Network. Some exhibits of note have included at the following locations, the Stedilijk Museum of Contemporary Art, Clerkenwell Literary Festival, (UK), The Arlene Grocery (NYC), D.U.M.B.O Art Festival (NYC) and the Aerosol Symphony II, (Amsterdam). Pleasant is gallery represented in Europe and lives and works between the European Union and United States.
Collections of note include the estate of Richard Pryor, Writer, Activist, Frank Jump, Actress, Rosario Dawson, The Custard Factory, F3 Race Driver, Ben Cater, Roderick Jackson, (Batoto Yetu), University of Haifa, Israel, The Collegiate School, NYC.
NEW 'UNKNOWN' PAINTING SERIES ARRIVING MID 2017
Three Years in The Making
PLEASANT Curriculum Vitae
b. 1974 - , Georgia
1993-1995 School of Visual Arts, New York, New York.
1992 Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York.
Major Fine Arts, 1995
*CV available on request.
If you are a representative of a gallery or design organization please request a copy by forwarding your details to Pleasant's representative.