Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Q & A with Jennifer Louise Martin

Maybe the starting point of Jennifer Louise Martin's paintings is the artist's response to our society's preoccupation with beauty and perfection. I first became aware of her work at The Other Art Fair on The Southbank. To read her full biography and c.v visit her website:
(Above image: "Beauty is an Affliction part One" Acrylic on canvas, 240 x 180cm, 2011).
The Rebel magazine was delighted she was up for answering a few questions about her work...
Harry Pye: Where did you grow up and what was you introduction to art? Can you remember which painting it was the first grabbed your attention?
Jennifer: "I grew up in London and remember art having a profound effect on me when I was 15. It was my art teacher who inspired me and nurtured my creativity. The first ever painting that grabbed me was when I was on a trip to New York with Central St. Martins, on my Foundation course. We went to see Jenny Saville's work and I was mesmerised by her large scale canvases."
Where did you study and were there any particular books or exhibitions that you think helped you grow as an artist?
"I studied twice at Central St Martins and have also done a Bsc in Psychology and Neuroscience at Leeds University. The Sensation exhibition was one that I found revolutionary and inspiring. It helped me think of ideas more diversely. Also the Rothko room at the Tate, with regards to painting, I found his work sensational and very evocative."
Which of your own paintings do you feel most proud of?
"My most recent one, Beauty is an Affliction I and II. I did these in Berlin and they are my biggest canvases to date. I found a passion for huge scale canvases and I am very happy with the painting which is not usual. I am always happiest with the paintings i haven't done yet."
Do you often just sit and stare at your work? Do strange things happen to you in your studio?
"YES! lots, I think I spend longer staring than painting sometimes. Strange things happen because I have a clock with no hands in my studio so it is like a time warp, I can paint for hours on end and not know what day or time it is. I also go a bit manic when I paint."
It's very hard for painters to make money and stay afloat do you ever wish you'd never got involved in art and that you'd become a dentist or lawyer instead?
"Never. Its a necessity to paint for me."
>Do you ever paint when either distressed, highly emotional or drunk?
"Sometimes, I dont drink, so it is usually in times of post distress or low mood."
>Are there any living painters around that you think are much better than you?
"Many that have plenty more years of experience. Marlene Dumas is my painting heroine."
Could you ever marry and/or have children with someone who wasn't that crazy about the paintings you made?
"They would have to like them, because if they didnt it would mean they wouldnt like me!"
Which people have helped you the most? If you were handed the Turner Prize or a similar award who would definately be getting a mention in your thank you list?
"My parents, they have supported me over the years and provided me with a home and a garage to live/paint over the past 10 years. And of course my art teacher at secondary school for recognising my talent."
Do you think the world we're living in is wonderful?
"I think the world itself and the creation of the world is wonderful, but I wouldn't necessarily say the everyday world we live in is wonderful. It can be though....."
(Above image: "Vanity Fairest", oil on canvas, 48 x 64")

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