View Artist Statement
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Gallery Direct Interview with KEVIN JENNE|
Kevin Jenne’s appeal lies in his “Impressionistic, slightly “Cubist” style. His paintings are infused with an inner glow and luminosity that gives each piece a life of their own. He uses intense colours to elicit an emotional response and to stir passion in those who view his work. Recently, Jenne has evolved into his current style “Fragmentation” and is creating works in which light seems to emanate from within the canvas.
When and how did you decide to become an Artist and who gave you the most inspiration?
I always knew and wanted to be an artist but never thought I could make “career” as a fine artist until I meet impressionist artist David Drum (Toronto, Ontario). He gave me encouragement and showed me that you can be a successful artist and make a living with something that you enjoy doing. He stressed the importance of using the contacts and friends that you have to start a “buzz” about your work and taught me how one can set up an “Art Show” to showcase ones work almost anywhere in order to get noticed.
Beside David Drum, my mom gave me inspiration by encouraging me from a young age – she is also an accomplished ink/pen artist in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada.
My wife has inspired and encouraged me from the very start and has been a lifeline promoting and marketing me on the internet. (www.get-noticed.ca).
What formal or informal training have you found most useful?
I am a self-taught artist. I found that the most effective training is that of adapting and being out in the public eye. Continuously, painting – Painting – Painting; trial and error. Listening to comments of viewers (both positive and negative and modeling to better express self on canvas). Trying different mediums, playing till I found one that I was comfortable with and besides knowing how to painting – learning how to market myself – learning how to approach galleries.
Whose work do you relate to most?
Good question, but better for me is who inspires me. I like many artist works for different aspects and reasons. 1) Henri Matisse – for his use of colour, his going out of the ordinary and pushing the limits of colour. 2) Camille Corot – the emotions he evokes – wind sweep trees. I love that fact that he gives forth an emotional response when I look at his work. I want to accomplish that in my work. 3) Edouard Cortes – Parisian scenes (architecture) – was able to capture the effect of rain on pavement. 4) Maurice Gabriel Cullen – landscapes (Grounds me with Quebec scene similar to ones I remember as a child growing up in the Eastern Townships of Quebec.)
What is funny is that as time goes on in my painting career - I don’t relate to other artist anymore – If I’m in need of inspiration I just go through my catalogue of work and reinvent myself or talk with friends, family or take in the energy of the places I visit.
How has your art evolved over the years and how did you arrive at your current style “fragmentation”?
First I painted copies of pictures for friends and family. Then I moved to Montreal and being surrounded by architecture – I feel in love with the old building and the unique stain glass windows Montreal had. I wanted to find a way to create the effect on canvas trying to achieve this effect has made my work morph many times. The style of fragmentation was to make my painting look like broken glass this in turn enable me to have my painting look as though light was emanating from within the canvas.
This has since evolved into my newest and current style of “intrinsic illumination” where by I paint the complete canvas black and then layer it with colour - Creating light from darkness.
The majority of your paintings are all about people and buildings. Could you tell us why you are so fascinated by people in their environment?
Personally I am an interested in how people in community interact with one another to make a society. Music, art and colour have no language and can bring people to a common ground. Through my many trips – I love the feel and energy that cities like Paris, Hong Kong, Singapore and New York gives off. I paint the building always to envelop the people in the paintings to show community. I chose to paint the people with out face so that my viewers can picture themselves being in the painting. For the same reason, you notice that my paintings don’t have trademarks, landmarks, street names etc… I love having people trying to figure out where it is – this enables everyone to have their own connection to the piece. The piece once it leaves my studio is no longer about what or why I painted it – but what the viewer sees in it. They take on a life of their own.
Do you sketch an idea before you start to paint?
Yes and no. Sometimes I paint “studies” on 4 x 6 canvases or board (which I also sell as corporate gifts and or people buy to start their art collections- affordable art!). Other times, as I stated before, I paint my canvases black – I’ll draw out with paint directly on the canvas the bare bones of my “concept” for my piece. I really don’t have set rules – I sometime work from up to 10 different pictures I have taken and merge them into one. I paint the “concept” out with paint mainly on my larger pieces to make sure the perspective is correct.
What is your ideal working atmosphere? Do you listen to music while you paint? Do you have special time of the day when you feel more creative?
Ideal working atmosphere: Lots of light and music….
I paint everyday for 5 hours and my most productive and creative time is during the day – Nighttime I find it is hard I’m not at my best. I definitely listen to music – everything from Tom Waits, Van Morrison, and Kate Bush to Jazz of Nina Simone, Chet Baker.
What has been your biggest challenge in your career as an artist?
Another good question…(hmmmm)…. Not being negative or down on myself – Not getting stuck doing the same routine of painting that it become like an assembly line and I lose the creative aspect of my work – due to a style selling well and people putting you into a “mold” – wanting to be successful but being scared to take on changes. Being scared of what other people think rather then being true to myself. The funny thing about this is that in the long run- when I just paint to paint and paint for the sheer desire of painting – when I do drive in head 1st into my new direction it works out and my work is better. But, my stress to get there is sometimes exhausting.
What do you enjoy most about being an artist?
The people I meet – I can have a career I truly enjoy. Now a day’s people are stuck in a job that they don’t enjoy. I can’t wait to go to my studio. It is also a fulfilling “career” that other get to enjoy. There are a lot of “negative” things in the world and it nice to have people tell me that my paintings make them feel good and emanate a joyful and playful atmosphere.
If you were to give an artist just starting out in their career some advice, what would that be any why?
When trying to get into a gallery by sending out your portfolio the importance of the follow-up. Either, going to the gallery directly (if the gallery is in your area) and meeting the owner or curator this puts the human element behind the work. If the art gallery is not in the area – follow-up with a phone call. Also, get thank-you notes printed with your artwork, website on it (do it your self on your computer or get them professionally done such as at places like vistaptint.ca) When you get a “no” from a gallery – send them a thank-you note to thank them for their time and comments. It makes the gallery take a second look.
There are a lot of other things that have worked for me and have fun doing. It was for this reason why my friend Randal and I started: “Outside the Artist Studio” Podcast (www.outsidepodcast.com).
If you were to give an artist just starting out in their career some advice, what would that be and why?
No matter how much you may not like this concept – you have to look at what you do as a career and your artworks as your products. If people say no to you and your portfolio – don’t feel as it as a negative thing. Ask why and see if you can use their critic as a tool to improve. Remember, not to take bad criticism personally – art is very personal and not everyone reacts the same or like the same thing. Because of this my friend Randal and myself have set up an internet podcast – to help artist think out of the box. How to cross-market and seek out help in their own circle of friends. www.outsidepodcast.com
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