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Artist of the day: Jenna Newton

Friday, October 30, 2009 · No Comments

Surfs Up

Today I’m featuring Jenna Newton, a super-creative and prolific New York-based artist. I first discovered Jenna on Etsy where she sells her Automatic Drawing series, a collection of simple but gorgeous drawings for $50 or less.  The concept is so fun and the result is one-of-a-kind really cool inexpensive art! Check out some of Jenna’s Automatic Drawings below, followed by an interview.

HA: You draw, paint and use mixed-media. What do these different media represent for you?

JN: I love the act of painting, the nature of paint itself is just seductive. I also like feeling part of the tradition of painting. Mixed-media appeals to my need for complete freedom in my work, I can use anything I feel the piece needs, and that’s really fun. Drawing is my favorite medium as of right now, but I’ve always loved to draw. I am attracted to the immediacy of drawing, it is compact and economic. At the moment I have little space to work in, plus little patience to plan large paintings, so drawing suits where I am right now very well.

HA: Can you describe your Automatic Drawings and how they’re different from your other drawings?

JN: The Automatic Drawing series came about as a sort of drawing meditation. I was a bit stuck, and began drawing freely, letting the associations lead to other shapes and forms. Originally I thought I would turn them into paintings, but I enjoy making these drawings so much, I can’t seem to stop to go back to painting. I’ve got quite a few of them now, close to 400, and it’s almost a contest to see just how many I can come up with. It’s also incredibly freeing, as a person who tends to resist planning, to allow myself to be so spontaneous.

HA: Are you inspired by other contemporary artists? If so, anyone in particular?

JN: I’m always looking at painters, because I think of myself as a painter, so I like to stay current with what contemporary painters are doing. As far as what I’m inspired by, it’s mostly art of the past. I’m drawn to big, abstract paintings, so I really like the Abstract Expressionists. I take a lot from architecture, too. And of course, I adore many of my fellow artists who have shops on Etsy, there is so much great work there.

HA: You’re on Etsy, Flickr and have a blog. Do you think social media is changing art?

JN: I think it’s wonderful, in the way that as an artist without gallery representation, I can reach a great amount of people on my own. There are so many resources for artists to establish their careers – it’s very exciting. On the other it can be daunting, with so much to keep up with. But, If you implement a systematic approach to keep yourself up to date, it is definitely manageable. Social media is surely allowing artists many opportunities that in the past were unavailable to us.

HA: What’s the most fulfilling aspect of your work?

JN: I am a little surprised every time someone tells me that they enjoy my work. It’s easy for me to feel isolated, as if I am producing art mostly for myself, and then possibly for others to see as well. It is incredibly pleasing to hear that something I created touches another. Also, being able to sell pieces through my shop is incredibly fulfilling and somehow reaffirms my love and desire to create art. I’m very happy that I’ve been able to find outlets for my work.

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