Jonathan Franklin was born in Michigan but spent much of his childhood in Vietnam, Bangladesh, and Indonesia where his father worked as a civil engineer. After studying art at the University of Michigan, he moved to Israel where he lived on a kibbutz and began painting and later working as printmaker. During that period he also served as a paratrooper in the Israeli Army (IDF).
Besides painting, Jonathan has also worked as a set designer and muralist. His other job is as an art educator conducting art residencies and workshops in public and private schools throughout Chicago.
Jonathan has been a visual artist for over 40 years concentrating mainly on painting and drawing. As an art maker Jonathan uses the figure as a point of departure. Through dissonance he invites viewers to reconcile that which falls between intimacy and alienation, curiosity and engagement, and reality and abstraction. Whether on paper or on canvas his subjects are a collage of ideas and images that evolve in nonlinear fits of trial, error, and periodic strokes of inspiration.
When not painting, Jonathan is an avid reader and enjoys making music and writing.