Monday, January 23, 2012

Jeanette Powers

Online Interview With KC Artist with Colorful Vision

1. The first thing that comes to my mind in my limited exposure to your work is the vivid color. You seem to be very confident in your use of color and your skill with it shows -- It really pops out. Do you also feel that color is a strength in your arsenal?
Absolutely I agree that color is the most important aspect to my work. The point of my artwork is to evoke strong emotions, and so the vivid colors are essential to that end. I like to envision my portraits as how we see ourselves on the inside, where reality and dream meet, so the colors of the imagination become premium. In language, we often associate colors with feeling: one ‘sees red’, ‘feels blue’, is ‘green with envy’. I think this is a natural way we think of our emotional lives, and I strive to capture that in my paintings.

2. Also, another strong suit, I feel is that you seem to be comfortable with realism in your work. Your stuff is very realistic, but with enough distortion in all the right spots in your compositions to make it abstract. What message do you feel you are portraying?
I believe that a great painter must be adept at dealing with realism, but also must take care not to lose that essential distortion which occurs in our memory when recalling people and events in our lives. I spent many years with habitual strict realism, mostly to increase my draftsmanship and physical skill with the paints themselves. In my current work, where distortion is quite extreme, the viewer does not realize that these are also strictly realistic paintings. I use a flexible mirror called mylar to photograph the reflection of my subjects. The result is a carnival mirror type of distortion. This gives the distortion an oddly realistic tinge which somehow the viewer recognizes as natural, though clearly it is highly disfigured. The combination of my colors and the mylar distortions lends itself perfectly to my ultimate point of portraiture: to paint the emotional content of our inner lives.
3. What background do you feel you are bringing in your art, and do you feel you are getting the feedback from your audience that you want.
The background I bring to my art is my life as a self-described Self-Abusing Wondershow. This means that I am fundamentally unafraid to see all the dark and beautiful parts of the human experience, no emotion is too much for me, I shy away from nothing. It is difficult to face one’s inner void, we are often ugly as individuals. I hope my audience recognizes themselves in the emotional content of my work, I hope that through my shameless admission of the light and dark extremes of my experience they lose their own fear of being human and authentic. All the feedback I get from my viewers is welcome, sometimes they get it, in the way I mean, other times they express a side I had never considered and illuminate more than my intentions. Sometimes they are afraid for me, which is fine, too. It is sometimes dangerous to be so on the edge of society and emotion. I put my heart in compromising situations and I think that reads in my work.
4. There is something haunting in many of your faces that you paint, like you are trying to make the subjects look like they are asking something from the viewer. Is that a part of your message?
Certainly I am attempting to challenge my viewers. I desire for them to face the harsher sides of their human experience, to stop shying away from the trauma, masochism and desperation that each of us feels. Ideally, each painting would act as a mirror, that the viewer would see themselves in my work. This would mean that I was communicating well. I believe the only way to really achieve a universal message is to look so deeply within that the ego subsides and the common human experience emerges. That said, my more current work has been focusing on the darker experiences of longing, missing, needing, anger and disappointment, but in no way are those the only emotions I indulge. The work from the previous eight years very much focused on joy, happiness and love, commitment and bravery. But in the end, I realized I had neglected the harder emotions to deal with. This realization led me to the mylar series.
5. What media do you work in, and what is your favorite?
I exclusively work in acrylic, treating them as watercolors. I love a certain level of chaos in my work, and the combination of water and gravity really lends itself to letting the paints have a mind of their own. I think of each painting as an individual I have a relationship with. I must simultaneously let the paints express themselves as I hone and model them into the emotion I want to illicit. I cannot really see myself working in any other media now, I have grown to love the potential and speed of acrylic so much. But, I’m proficient in ink, pencil, pastel, watercolor and oil as well. I spent years with each of those media in experiments to see which worked best for my intentions. After 14 years of painting, acrylic suits my style and desire the best.
6. Is there anything I didn't ask that you would like to add?
Just to let the readers have a bit of insight into my life, I’d like to add that I am a self-taught painter, a poet and a street performance artist. My natural instincts are performance and poetry, I have always done these things and make no real attempts to stylize or encourage them, they are as natural to me as breathing. Painting, however, is something I have worked very hard for, been terrible at, and struggled to bring to a level of some mastery. For this reason, it is closest to my heart. It is a difficult task, and one that challenges me every day.


*Thursday 20 January 2011
Images of Snowpacalypse 2011 2.0

June 4, 2009 at 8.06am PDT
If you are interested in expressing your opinion about art, or this blog, or if you have ideas, calender updates or even blog entries, send me a message at TMI, BRD
*Lawrence, Kansas, Saturday 25 October 2008
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*Occupy City Hall
 I cannot, for the life of me, take the occupy movement seriously.  About 1995, or so, when I was working at a TV station at my university, I got the opportunity to meet Dave Foreman.  Of course I wanted to ask him some great eco defense/eco warrior questions, like what was it like to face down bull dozers or chain yourself to trees -- things like that.  Him, being used to such questions right off, deflected me by saying that he didn't get into any of that stuff anymore.  He told me that, basically, when TV cameras are turned on and the media circus is in the area, you can count on "environmentalists" of every stripe coming out of the woodwork, so to speak.  However, when the cameras are turned off, and the real work needs to happen -- you know, planting trees and doing scientific research, then there is no one around.  I feel that way about the occupy movement.  If you want to occupy something, then occupy city hall.  You see, cities -- local government bodies, meet all the time.  In those meetings, decisions are made that affect real people every day.  Your life has been routinely affected by decisions at a local level more often than they have by anything the federal government has done.  More importantly, getting involved locally has a much deeper and lasting effect on how national elections turn out than any protest you can name.  Just ask people involved in the Red State Project.  So, if you are really serious about trying to change things, then go to city hall, and sit in the peanut gallery.  Show up with your camera phones and take pictures and live stream and document.  Blog about it.  Get involved.  If you show up enough, and are vocal enough about issues, you will probably be tagged to serve on a citizen committee.  Who knows, maybe you'll be asked to run for office, or maybe be asked to run an office.  Then you will really have to roll your sleeves up and get down to it.  Then you will have people on the outside pointing at you telling you what a lousy job you're doing.  Then you might find that life and politics are not just some easy ideological cliche you can pull out of your ass to explain everything.  Then you might find out  that you too will soon tire of the idiots that only care and show up when there is a lot of hype and buzz about an issue.

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