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Jennifer James Mixed-Media: Jennifer James is a Chicago based mixed-media artist. Originally from St. Louis, Jennifer graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a BFA in Visual Art and Graphic Design and a minor inLiterature. She lives in the East Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago where she teaches art workshops through the group she founded in 2010 — the Chicago Rebel Craft League — and shows her work throughout the year at fine art festivals and exhibits. Her work is full of vintage imagery that she finds at estate sales, family photo albums and researching the internet; vintage books, acrylic, watercolor pencil, ink, vintage papers are all brought together to transform forgotten figures of the Victorian era into works of art that share a story of who they may have been, often with the help of quotations.

artist statement

Everything is illuminated in the light of the past.
It is always along the side of us... on the inside, looking out.
— Jonathan Safran Foer

artist statement

Over the years I’ve made an effort to have creative endeavors that are separate from my work as a graphic designer, and to stay connected to my fine arts education. These personal explorations have evolved into mixed media pieces. I approach each piece using a palette composed of a variety of materials including canvas, vintage books and photographs, acrylics and art papers—transforming old objects into new art. With acrylic, I am most attracted to the immediacy and spontaneity of a medium that moves quickly from brush to surface—similar to the the spontaneity of life. rather than explaining a piece of work, it can speak for itself, and whatever it says to the viewer is the right message because there isn’t a wrong or a right. Each person takes something different.

I want to capture within my work the strong sense of nostalgia, in all its forms, that I’ve experienced since childhood. I take inspiration many times from the Victorian era during the dawning of photography, where so many portraits are void of expression and emotion. My current work begins as a curiosity and an intrigue when a vintage portrait speaks to me, and evolves into an expose—a secret moment in history—that conveys the thoughts, emotions of the person which now lies upon my canvas. Often included are quotes that begin the process of wonder and suggestion. The process of my art is intuitive rather then intellectual—each piece is an expressive visual statement that reaches not only into the past, but into the thoughts and feelings of myself and the viewer. A narrative only appearing after the fact, as if by accident or quite subconsciously, symbolically bringing the broken and torn pieces together.

—Jennifer James

 

Originally from St. Louis, Jennifer graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a BFA in Visual Art and Graphic Design and a minor in Literature. By day she is an Art Director, Photographer and graphic designer with a passion for fonts and typography. She lives in the East Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago with her little Yorkie Cricket, where she teaches art workshops to other area women artists through the group she founded in 2010, the Chicago Rebel Craft League. She shows her work throughout the year at fine art festivals and exhibits.

 

The origins of collage can be traced back hundreds of years, but this technique made a dramatic reappearance in the early 20th century. The term collage derives from the French “coller” meaning “glue”. This term was coined by both Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso in the beginning of the 20th century when collage became a distinctive part of modern art. (Source: Wikipedia)