GJ LaBonty was born in in 1963 in Havertown, Pennsylvania, a western suburb of Philadelphia. Though he was the son of two artistically gifted parents, his father a professional illustrator and his mother created intricate tole paintings, GJ never thought of pursuing art as a career. He spent most of his young adult life in the Philadelphia area, graduating from Temple University in 1987 with a BS in Architecture. At the age of 29, GJ moved to Salt Lake City, UT to spend a season skiing and ended up falling in love with the majestic Wasatch mountains that cradle the secluded Salt Lake Valley. GJ settled down in the valley and met his wife Carrie in Salt Lake City. They began to raise a family and GJ returned to graduate school.
After finishing school and working for a number of years GJ felt the need to begin to creating his own art. Both of his parents had passed away before he was 35 years old, and he was left with the strong desire to live his life creating art and leaving a legacy that others might enjoy. Some of his earliest influences from his days as an architecture student in Philadelphia included popular illustrators from the turn of the century such as N. C. Wyeth and Maxfield Parrish and Howard Pyle. As GJ discovered a passion for oil painting, his eye was drawn to the wonderful colors and textures of the impressionists, especially the American Impressionists. Names like Childe Hassam, Alson S. Clark, Colin Campbell Cooper n Edgar Alwin Payne became inspirational in his work. Winslow Homer and his seascapes have a special place among GJ's influences, as Homer was one of his father's favorite painters.
He comments: "I find in art the plowed field for nurturing many of the vivid images that flow into my mind's eye and become seeds for compositions. With camera and sketchbook in hand I find that I stand in constant wonder with regard to the expansive world of subject matter that surrounds us. My goal for each piece that I create is to invite the viewer to experience a thoughtful or emotional connection with the subject. Preferably, this is a personal note that is struck within the viewer, which is drawn from a symphony of the viewer's own life experience."