Contemporary realist artist Jennifer Chalklen talks about her art

Artist: Jennifer Chalklen; Image: Viveash Photography

Singapore-based, New Zealand born Jennifer Chalklen is a contemporary realist artist who is mostly self-taught. Her works are a journey into whimsy, delicate and beautiful, reflective and poignant.

Jennifer developed a strong interest in realistic portraiture during her five years of living in Jakarta, Indonesia. Despite the chaos and abject poverty, Jennifer observed a quiet pulse of connectedness through acts of kindness, cultural nuances and the Islamic religious practices, which acted as an antidote to the disorder of the city, and an identity of togetherness within diversity.

Her works display symbolism and imagery which act as a conjoint to invisible concepts that contain reflections of beauty, and act as visual explanations that are relatable across communication barriers.

This is what it looks like when grit meets creation…

As a self-taught artist, what made you choose the cool contemporary genre to represent your style of art?

I Know Where To Go”, Mixed media on canvas, 2019

“To me, my work has more questions than answers, the concepts remain unresolved but each work holds clues…”

What is your creative process like?

Daydream In Pink”, Oil, gold leaf and digital elements on canvas, 2018

“I catch glimpses of imagery in my peripheral and on the edge of dreams, which I try to screenshot in my brain and capture on the canvas before they begin to dissolve in waking life.”

I work with a lot of thin glazes that produce a translucent or dreamlike quality. Some works are completed within a few weeks, but I often continue to work on them for months. I like to work intensely for about a week, then I allow the work to ‘breathe’, while I consider it and decide whether I need to develop it further or make any bold changes to the composition if I don’t feel balanced when observing it.

Solace”, Oil and flower petals on canvas, 2017

“I work with a lot of thin glazes that produce a translucent or dreamlike quality.”

I like to work on two paintings at the same time, so my work often comes out in pairs, the reason behind this is methodical in terms of drying times, but also prevents the work from becoming too crowded from forcing too many ideas into a single work, and allows me to work on something else when I get stuck and can’t switch off, but need to move my mind onto something else.

Which is your favourite art space in the world? Where have you lived before?

de Young Museum in San Francisco, Image Source: Trip Savvy

I was born in New Zealand and as a kid I grew up in a fairly rural area on a hobby farm with a fruit orchard and pet cows that would sometimes wander into our living room, which was starkly different to my lifestyle when I moved to Jakarta around 2010, which was a hot mess, and really difficult to find open green spaces, blue sky and clean air. I currently live in Singapore which is very clean, organised and quite lush.

Does where you live affect what you paint?

Let’s Get Out Of Here”, Mixed media on canvas, 2018

“… after I travel to New Zealand, greens and blues creep into my work. It’s hard not to be affected by the landscape there because it is just so beautiful.”

“I Look For You, Still”, Mixed media on canvas, 2019

“I Look For You, Still”, Mixed media on canvas, 2019

“Living in Jakarta was predominantly Muslim so I think that affected my composition around including headscarves on the women in my work.”

My current studio is in my apartment and it’s the most natural light-filled space I have worked in, so the quality is better, and more vibrant colour is coming through onto the canvas. I also have a garden attached to my studio which has been inspiring my composition and colour palette in interesting ways. My last studio in Singapore was in the attic of a shophouse, which was beautiful, but the designs of those old buildings are notoriously dark with fluorescent lighting so it affected my work in a way that the figures appeared more washed out and ghostly, perhaps more sombre.

Artist Studio

“I also have a garden attached to my studio which has been inspiring my composition and colour palette in interesting ways.”

What do you think it takes to create hyper-realistic art?

“I don’t think I am really aiming for hyperrealism but something closer to classical realism.”

What’s next for Jennifer Chalklen?

Follow Me”, Oil and digital elements on canvas, 2018

Originally published at https://www.thecrazymind.com.

Our aim at Addicted Art Gallery is to connect you to art in a friendly, posh-less, non-highbrow kind of way. Check out our portfolio at www.addictedgallery.com

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