Jennifer Mitton - Featured Artist for February 2010
Which artistic media do you prefer to work in and why?
The real trouble (and gift) for me is that I can’t think of a media I dislike; some are just more “conditional” or can’t fit into the day. My background is as a novel and short story writer (Fadimatu—a coming of age novel about a Nigerian girl; Sleeping With the Insane—contemporary stories about taboo thoughts; Bonjour Minuit-- a novel I wrote in French and illustrated). Of course I’ve been told to stick with one thing, and I used to believe this was good advice, if you add “one thing at a time.” Right now I’m writing a novella and painting mostly with acrylics.
With which past or contemporary artists or artworks do you, as an artist, feel a connection?
With anyone who’s interested in living forms as they interact with each other, anyone trying to understand the movement of light across form, those who love colour and composition.
Which particular processes or techniques of art-making interest you now?
Doing more thumbnails, more decided painting strokes.
What particular technical challenges in art-making do you face at this time?
Choosing the tools and media, given the time I’ve got, which is always limited to 24 hours a day.
What in your artistic training do you value most?
Learning to look carefully.
How much of a role do accident and control play in your work?
It’s a bit like the squirrel outside my window chasing her mate: she falls off the end of the branch and learns to sort-of fly.
What are some of your artistic challenges at present?
Refraining from trying to do the painting that Says it All, and just concentrate on a painting that Says Something.
What are some of your artistic accomplishments at present?
The biggest one is that I’m still making art and still writing. I’ve never wanted to stop or had to stop, but there are always obstacles.
Can you share three things you’ve learned as an artist through your own art?
Every day is a chance to get a little better; there are a multitude of ways to explore a new idea; new ideas are always twists on the same old ideas.
When you need inspiration, how to do I get it?
I slow down.
When you need to learn more as an artist, how do you do it?
I practice my “scales” all the time: I go to Basic Inquiry Life Drawing Studio and Gallery and I draw from a live model. I learn from other artists.
What is exciting on your artistic horizon?
A figurative series with interrelated figures set in my city: the fast-changing Vancouver.
What is it about this artwork (self-selected work shown) that led you to choose it for this feature?
I chose “Indoor Moving Silhouettes” because it’s one of the first figurative paintings from my recent painting investigations.
What were the specific challenges you faced (and resolved) in making this artwork?
I wanted to make the figures interact with each other, with their shadows and the indoor space. One challenge was deciding what to put in, what to leave out.