Dominic Jones, a Baltimore native, has overcome trials and triumphs through his passion for art.
The father of five runs his own studio, Jones Custom Murals and Portraits, alongside his wife, Heather, in Littlestown, Pennsylvania, where they moved last fall from Westminster. He says art served as an outlet for him as a youth in the foster system and one day he would like to open his home and foster.
Jones was commissioned to paint a mural in Sykesville as part of that town’s three-fold Urban Transformation project. The Times recently caught up with Jones to discuss his career, the Sykesville project and how art helped him out during a difficult period of his life.
Q: How did you get into art?
A: “I’ve been doing art for as long as I can remember, since I was a kid. I just love creating and drawing — it’s just a gift from God. I’ve been doing it for so long
Q: What is your favorite or most used form of art and why?
A: “Doing custom murals for people, I love doing murals. I can paint or draw in any medium, it’s just more of murals. I just love creating custom for people and sitting down and brainstorming an idea out and foreseeing it. It’s just the creativity part of it is very unique when you sit down with a group of people or you sit down and you brainstorm something that you actually can put on a piece of paper and you foresee it. It’s just something I enjoy. It’s just something I love seeing people happy when I create that.”
Q: How long have you been doing murals in Sykesville?
A: This will be my second mural I’ve done in Sykesville for them. The other one I did was last year, I think – like two years ago. I did the Snallygaster and I had the opportunity from Julie [Della-Maria] to come out and actually do, I believe, probably one of the biggest murals they have ever done up there.”
Q: How did the farm scene come about?
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A: “I was given the opportunity from the town of Sykesville and they had asked me to come up with a mock-up for it. With it being in Carroll County, I kind of pieced the scenery together and then I was presented with another challenge with the tank, it was a regular tank, and I had to decide what to come up with so, I came up with a pig. The owner, she kind of liked the farm scenery also because of the county that we live in.”
Q: How long have you been doing murals?
A: “I established my business in 2010 and I’ve been doing murals since then. I’ve been doing that for a while at Jones Custom Murals and Portraits. It is a family-based business and I thought about being that guy for local families and families all over that are looking for someone to do things unique in areas that they needed done. Also, when people look for someone that needs something uniquely done and sit down and brainstorming with them and coming up with new ideas for more stuff like that. No job is too big or too small for Jones Custom Murals and Portraits, period. The whole reason we started was to bring joy to those who love creativity and art.”
Q: Tell me about your family
A: “I’m a family of seven – I have a wife, four boys and one girl. I have two sons that are 13 and 14, one is 9 and one is 8 and I have a daughter that’s 10. I have a big family. They love and they enjoy painting, I actually have pictures of them up there helping me out. They all love what I do, and they find it amusing just to sit down and watch me create things so, they go with me on jobs. Also, my wife, she’s the manager of the business, she manages all my finances and my taxes and things like that. She keeps all my bookings and stuff – she keeps everything together on that end so I can just focus on my craft everything. I can’t say enough about how blessed I am.”
Q: Do you mind going further into your struggles?
A: “I used to be in the system, I was a foster child. Coming from foster care, made me stronger. I’ve been through a lot, a lot of ups and downs. I’m personally from Baltimore City and when I left – it’s a lot of bits and pieces – but when I went to foster care, I had a lot of families in there that helped me the way I am today. Art was that gateway for me being in different homes and stuff to see me through. It was always my hope and relief to do something, to create, and it kind of gave me a relief from all the other things that was going on around me.