Jonathan Hayes is a native North Carolinian whose formal training as a painter began at East Carolina University (ECU) where he received his bachelor's degree in fine art with a concentration in painting. Studying primarily with Paul Hartley, Leland Wallin, Michael Voors, and Ray Elmore, the primary focus of this education was in the areas of design, color theory, and other formal elements as building blocks to developing a visual language separate from any particular style or subject matter.
From ECU, Jonathan entered the painting program at the George Washington University where he studied under William Woodward, Frank Wright, and Arthur Hall Smith. He was the recipient of a full teaching assistant scholarship and several drawing awards, including a study abroad program in Greece. While Woodward helped Jonathan develop techniques in painting through the likes of Velazquez, Sargent, Sorolla, and Zorn; Wright helped develop his drawing technique based squarely on those of the Old Italian and French masters from the Renaissance onward. It was Smith, however, a student of Mark Tobey, who introduced Jonathan to the works of Modern Masters of the 20th century such as Diebenkorn, Fischl, Park, and Tobey.
This eclectic mix of influences has allowed Jonathan to develop into an artist who is both heavily influenced by traditional modes of painting, but also looks to contemporary ideas about subject, composition, and expression. Therefore, his work is less about accuracy of depiction than it is about exploring the various moods and forms found in the visual world.