Jon D'Orazio was born in 1942 in Youngstown, Ohio. A practicing architect through the sixties, he turned to painting full time in 1970. Soon after, he began a serious study of Oriental life and culture, showing a particular interest in meditation and Buddhism. this strong identification with the East has had a lasting influence on his art.
D'Orazio's lyrical depictions of magnolia blossoms and autumnal leaves have all the poetic beauty and spatial vividness of Japanese screen art. His leaves are ablaze with a scarlet fire that drips from a lowering sun that could have been plucked off the national flag of Japan. His magnolias are richly white against an intricate web of dark branches.
But what makes D'Orazio the true artist he is and not a mere imitator of other cultures, is the exciting way he has applied these same techniques to the subject matter of his own time and place. His chrome-clear studies of American urban neon nightlife have all the concise intricacy his more Oriental works bear. In the everyday aura of a Coca-Cola sign he finds swirling patterns of color that are as alive and richly stylized as any Oriental sunset.
These montages of lights and letters heralding bars and restaurants are akin in part to the pop art of Rauschenberg and others. But D'Orazio is less concerned with social commentary than with the simmering surfaces of these icons of modern city life. There is a delicacy and radiance to his work that is uniquely his own. Whatever he has taken from the Orient, he has invested enough of his own talent and energy to qualify as an original.