Friday, June 1, 2007

Artist of the month: Jason Van Winkle

Where are you from and at what age did you begin creating art?

I’m born and raised in Los Angeles. I’ve been creating art (see a sample of my work here) for as long as I can remember. My 2nd grade teacher used to call me up in front of the class to draw pictures on the chalkboard. Really I have my dad to thank, he used to paint a lot and started training us when we were really young. I remember taking road trips and he would get us to draw quick sketches of things as they passed.

If you weren’t doing something creative what would you be doing?

That’s a tough call, I can’t imagine doing something that wasn’t creative. In any job you can find some way to express yourself..maybe a gardener but even then I’d be a creative landscaper.

Have you consistently been doing your art since then? What detours have come along the way?

Art has always been a big part of my life, even when it wasn’t a career. Sure I had to work my share of meaningless jobs early on, working at a movie theatre and a frosty queen, but luckily I was fired from both. I was real fortunate in college. I got a job at a design shop which helped me build a strong background in composition and layout. When I wasn’t designing I was painting murals and eventually on canvas. It's tough making a living as a fine artist so I’ve had to find a balance bouncing back and forth between painting and doing more commercial work in storyboards and animation. It's all been a great experience though, and doing professional work drawing and painting in the computer has really helped my fine art.

What is the driving influence or inspirations then and now in your art? Is it the same or has it changed? If it has changed what was the motivation?

Technology has been a huge factor. Digital photography lets me shoot unlimited reference and instantly have it at my fingertips. The Internet gives us unlimited access to source material and exposure. Doing professional work, drawing and painting in Photoshop has really helped my fine art. Most of the time when I’m painting on canvas I’m trying to recreate the lighting effects and mood that I can in my Photoshop work. The main difference is when painting you can’t hit “control Z” and undo something you don’t you have to have some balls and take chances.
My wife is my muse. When we started dating I was really inspired and just wanted to paint her all the time, on everything…cigarette packs, walls and boards.

Current exhibits or outside projects you are working on?
I’m currently working on a set of portraits of my friends and family, stepping back to more traditional painting. But they are raw with hard brush strokes. You can see some of them at

Give a quote on your approach to art. To life. What you like about the art scene (world stage, whatever) right now. What you don’t like about the (world stage, whatever) art scene?

If you're gonna make art, make it for yourself. Create things that you enjoy and find beauty in, rather than what you think others want.

That goes for everything, if you find joy in the things you do joy will come to you. The thing about any art scene is its always changing and if you create to meet demand you’ll always be catching some new craze. If you try your own thing eventually the scene will come around to you.

What is your next undertaking as an artist?
I’d like to bridge the gap between my digital work and my fine art. Find some in between medium other than just printing on canvas.

What mediums do you like working in?
I like painting in all mediums but lately it’s been almost all oils. But don’t ever underestimate the power of a spray can. On the computer it's pretty much all about Photoshop and there is a great drawing program called Sketch.

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