Fellow New Jersey artist DaiJonae Clemons recently interviewed me on Facebook as part of her series about local creatives. I’m sharing the link to the video below in case you didn’t have a chance to see it:
DaiJonae is also a talented artist in her own right! Here are links to her social media pages:
This post features the multitalented Conny Jasper, visual artist, personal coach, public speaker, and yoga instructor! I had the privilege of speaking with Conny to learn more about her work and what’s going on in her life.
IP: What is your artistic background? Have you taken classes in photography and painting?
I have been an artist all my life. I love to create in many different ways. After high school, my first profession was silversmithing and jewelry making. I also studied art in college, and my studies included design, painting, and photography. I am a professional writer as well.
IP: What are the strongest artistic/cultural influences on your work?
There are many and diverse influences on my work. I particularly love nature, abstract patterns, and spiritual and cultural symbolism. There is a timelessness and transcendence to them. My favorite artists are Van Gogh, Dali, Bosch, and Klimt, as they convey both expansive and whimsical expressions.
IP: You are also a personal coach, speaker, and yoga instructor. How does this inform your artwork?
One of my greatest passions is helping other people, and I use my art to do that. Images are an important part of life and impact our physical and mental health. Because I want to help people to live healthy lives, I choose images that promote wellness. Many artists like to focus on shocking and disturbing images in order to make a statement. But I think those images only perpetuate the very thing that is being protested.
IP: What do you want to communicate to your viewers through your artwork?
I seek to communicate a sense of balance and connectedness. There is more to life than a job, a car, a house, and a vacation. We are meant to do so much more than that. Balance and connectedness can help us to expand our awareness and sense of being alive in the world. I want to promote human evolution and do it in a highly creative way.
IP: What artistic plans do you have for the near future?
I am expanding my repertoire to create a holistic and comprehensive gallery of offerings. In terms of business, I plan to continue promoting my work, updating my website, and, at some point, offering my wares at fairs, festivals, and markets. I have big plans! Stay tuned!
IP: Well, Conny, that all sounds very exciting! I wish you all the best!
You can contact Conny and learn more about her work through the links below.
Today I’ll be sharing some artwork by Jasper Groat, a 25 year old artist based in Snohomish WA. Jasper creates elegant pen and ink drawings of mystical, otherworldly beings. Recently, I had a chance to ask him a few questions about his art and his creative process.
IP: Firstly, where are you based, and what’s your art background? Have you studied at art school?
Jasper: I am born in the Pacific Northwest, I started to drawing at around age 5 and more seriously at age 11. So far I’ve only taken art classes at high school and community college.
IP: What would you say have been the strongest influences on your artwork, either artwise or in other areas?
Jasper: My strongest influence would be a Fairy artist named Brian Froud who sketches and paints what he sees through his heart and through nature. To him, he’s not just drawing “fantasy” but a mirror image of reality!
He was actually a concept artist for two movies called Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal! And throughout his career he has been a illustrator for many books!
IP: Could you describe the process of how you go from an initial idea to a finished artwork?
Jasper: I immediately go straight from pen to paper just so the idea that’s in my head is already put into light and fruition! I rarely use pencils when drawing because I want my art to appear clean and perfect!
IP: Looking at your art, Jasper, I get a strong mystical, symbolic quality from it. What do you want viewers to get from your work?
Jasper: I want them to feel enlightened in some way…to me I see art as equivalent to magic! Even for writing, to cast a spell is simply to spell!
IP: Finally, what artistic goals or plans do you have for yourself in the future?
Jasper: I am definitely planning on doing more religious themes and even creating a series of Tarot cards in the distant future!
IP: That sounds amazing! I want to thank you for taking the time to talk about your art with me.
I have to confess that the coronavirus quarantine, and its succession of unstructured days being confined to the house, has made it challenging to stay motivated and focused as an artist. However, one of the things I’ve found most helpful is the uplifting and comforting power of nature. I’m fortunate in that there are a number of parks and public gardens nearby. Walking around outside, even for an hour or so, really helps my state of mind. What’s more, plants, animals, and water offer many opportunities for inspiration.
Tree with White Flowers
I took this photograph at Rutgers Gardens in New Brunswick. The white flowers really stood out on the misty, overcast day that I was there. I added a distressed texture and enhanced the lighting to play up this contrast.
Spreading Cherry Tree
I was lucky enough to be at Rutgers Gardens when the cherry trees were blooming. This tree, with its masses of colored flowers, seemed magical in the dim light. I tried to capture its dreamlike beauty.
The day I took this photo, I had wanted to go to Rutgers Gardens again, but learned that it was closed. I spotted these flowers on one of the islands of the Target parking lot! I loved their vibrant red color. Here I overlaid a worn texture and selectively blurred the image, giving it a soft, dreamlike quality.
Pond, Bicentennial Park
This is a quiet park tucked in a residential area of East Brunswick. The morning I visited it, there were only a handful of people there, and all I could hear was the rustling of the leaves and the birds chirping in the trees. I came across this vista of a small pond. I liked the view of the pond through the trees, and the reflection of light on the water. I took the photograph, but later used texture and lighting effects to suggest a peaceful, Impressionist painting.
I hope you’ve been coping with the challenges of life in quarantine. What helps you cope? Please feel free to share your thoughts with me!
Like many other artists, I have a full time job in the “real world.” I have, for a long time, also accepted that this means that my artmaking has to accommodate the schedule and demands of my job. I do not complain about this fact, but, sometimes, it’s been challenging to give my art the attention it deserves.
Now the Coronavirus has disrupted my work life, as it has that of so many other people.
At first, it’s hard to believe that I now have so much time to work on my art… more than I’ve had for many years! At the same time, it’s also bewildering to suddenly not have the structure of an outside job, and to have to create my own schedule and set my own goals.
I have done my best to keep myself busy. I have been trying out new ideas, such as my photomontages. (See The Ghost Birds above.) It is easier to work on these projects with undivided time and attention, and I’m encouraged by progress that I’ve made. I’ve also been trying to improve my photography skills. This morning, I went out to a local park and took some photos of the blossoming flowers and trees, trying to take shots of things I found interesting. And while not all of them are great photos, I think I’m learning and hopefully bringing fresh things to my work. And I also try to appreciate that I have this opportunity to create art, that I have my good health, and the support of my friends.
Like everyone else, I hope that the virus outbreak will go away soon. It’s been a time of anxiety and uncertainty for everyone. I’ve tried to make the best of a totally unexpected and scary situation and make something good of it. Hopefully, we will all come out of it strong and with renewed purpose!
My name is JoAnn Telemdschinow and I’m the founder of Imagined Past. I’ve always loved and been fascinated by art, but I haven’t always been sure how I should express it. While I have a background in art history, I have not studied painting or drawing. On an impulse, I started playing with collage, and found I liked it very much. In 2014, I started learning Photoshop Elements. Since then, through magazine articles and online tutorials, I’ve been developing my skills and exploring how to create different effects.
What inspires my collages? Perhaps the most obvious influence is the art and architecture of the past, medieval times, eighteenth and nineteenth century painting, as well as Chinese and Japanese art. I can happily spend hours in a museum! I also love to travel. I recently went to Paris and took photographs of beautiful old streets and buildings, some of which I’ve turned into collages. I’m interested in languages and scripts, both ancient and modern.
A collage may originate from an image that captures my attention, or from an idea that I want to express. I often utilize vintage art to build my pieces, although I also use my own photographs. I am also fond of incorporating old texts, such as handwriting, book pages, or advertising, into the composition. I try to use texts that relate to the subject of the piece, either through content or cultural origin. Textures play an important role in my collages as well…old paper, distressed surfaces.
What am I trying to convey to the viewer? Well, I myself am deeply moved by beauty so I try to make my compositions visually beautiful. Beyond that, I attempt to express a feeling or atmosphere. My pictures (like myself) tend to be reflective and nostalgic. I also sometimes imply a bit of a narrative, as in I Loved You with its forlorn woman and titular inscription.
I’ve displayed my work in a number of area venues, such as The Gallery at the South Brunswick Municipal building and Inspire Art Gallery & Studio in Dunellen. Recently, I’ve also been honored to receive awards from the New Jersey State Bar Foundation (Chair’s Merit Award, Annual Juried Art Show) and the New Brunswick Free Public Library (Third Place-Adult, 2019 Visual Arts Contest and Exhibition).
What do I have planned for the future? I would like to explore photography further and use more of my own photos in my collages. I’m working to promote my artwork through social media and my website. And I’ll be exhibiting in more shows in the upcoming year. I enjoy meeting and talking to people at shows…perhaps I’ll get to meet you at one soon!