ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Art in action: Former X-Bomber
Most people thought that toys were fun when they were young. However, Jason Talbot thought they were boring. When he was a kid, colorful, plastic toys were not as engaging as the stories and emotions that comic book pictures revealed.
As an adult, visual artist, and Dorchester native, Talbot, 31, tells his story today. He is a project director at Artists for Humanity (AFH), a non profit organization in Boston whose mission is to bridge economic, racial, and social divisions by providing underserved youth self-sufficiency through paid employment in the arts.
Like a lot of the teens he now employs, he used to be a graffiti artist who would mark his territory around Boston. He was arrested once when he was tagging SWAT, and ended up with 1,000 hours of community service. That was fine by Talbot because community service is his passion.
He had to change his behavior after getting caught. His high test scores and experiences at AFH led him to pursue a higher education and a career as an artist. He studied at the Art Institute of Boston to master his skills. Throughout a his time at art school, he continued to help out at Artists for Humanity.
In 1999, he moved to Atlanta to work in the field of graphic design. After a stint doing corporate art and Web design, Talbot realized that his heart and passion were with Artists For Humanity. He wanted to give opportunities in the arts to youth. “I’m an explorer, searching for the truth, when I find it, I share it with my people,” he says.
Talbot’s mentor, Susan Rogerson, executive director of Artists for Humanity, says, “Jason is a kind, generous, thoughtful, and intelligent contributor to the world.” Damon Butler, cofounder of Artists for Humanity, called him “charismatic, unforgettable, slightly hard-headed.” Maliek Tuitt, 17, describes working with Talbot as “boot camp, because he’s like that genius drill sergeant that throws you in the pit and lets you figure it out. He does not forget to come back and help. There are no words to describe the techniques [he uses]; he gives you suggestions on how to improve your skills as an artist.
“I am a product of my environment with a story to tell about how Jason Talbot made me wiser. Four years ago I met him. He taught me that an artist has to be open to criticism and has to acknowledge other people’s skills. He taught me that I couldn’t just say ‘No, it’s me’ about my art without further explanation. When I was going through a lot, I’d sit there painting long after studio time had ended, and he and I would start talking about life. He taught me that the way someone looks or talks doesn’t mean they don’t have something to offer. He also taught me, ‘You have nothing to lose but knowledge; knowledge is priceless.’ The bond that we have is stronger than him just being my mentor. He has helped me make many decisions that have made me who I am today,” Tuitt says.