Beside the mailbox in rural Lovettsville is a whimsical road sign that says “Xutopia.” It’s an obvious play on words for artist Jordan Xu but also a nod to his approach to painting people from every background, culture, race, age and gender.
“It’s the human story that I want to tell,” he says.
Recently, Jordan learned to play the banjo in the old “claw hammer” style that typified Appalachian music before bluegrass. The experience sparked a masterful series of local musicians that adorned The Barns of Rose Hill gallery through April. (See JordanXu.com for more images.)
“It’s not just about music; it’s about the bond that you have with other musicians in the community and between loved ones. When the grandfather shows his granddaughter the mandolin, this is a passion that is being developed right there in front of us.”
You’ll often find him sharing his own passion, teaching portraiture at the MacLean Project for the Arts or in Herndon out of gratitude for the artists who helped him develop his craft.
“A good portrait is like a dialogue with the audience; it brings you as close to what the painting is depicting as possible.”