Tuesday, January 17, 2012

James Jean in Manila 2012

When I first realized I was going to meet James Jean, I first wondered about what to ask him. What images does he have locked up in his mind to come up with his art? Faceless fairies, engulfing waves, dripping fingers, floating figures, creatures I've never seen before, I thought, how does one even think of this? I expected to meet someone I couldn't understand, just as I couldn't grasp his world. Instead, I met one of the most down-to-earth, hardworking, educated, and street smart artists I've ever come to know. 

Seemingly effortless: James Jean's Sketchbook Pages

A world inside a world: James Jean's Sketchbook Pages 

James Jean explaining his work to the students to DLSU-CSB

I very much enjoyed sitting in his Artist's Talks. He not only shed light upon his work and how he conceptualized them, but also how he moves forward with progressing his art. A few points that struck a chord in me when he explained them:

When asked how he avoids repeating what he had done before, he said that it is best to develop the better part of what you've done already and translate that into something new. Just as with his work now, he translates his signature images into different objects, jewelry and scarves. 

An art show in the U.S. 

James Jean's Art on Wine Bottles 

When asked about the effect art school had on his work, he said “art school is what you put into it, not what it puts into you.” He had not started out as the top of his class nor the best at his craft, but he allowed the experience to develop his skill and his taste in aesthetics, and that, in the end, set him apart in his generation.  

James Jean signs books for the students in line. 

 This photo shows the cover of his latest work, Rebus. 

A fan asks James Jean to sketch him! 

And lastly, what I will take forever with me is what he said about goals and success. He was asked in the open forum for what his ultimate goal was in his career. When did he think he was going to consider himself successful? But he noted that success isn't in having a goal and achieving it (though of course, for some people, it is). For him, he achieved his success in having something he believed in, something to do everyday that he loved and thought was worthwhile, and he let that take him somewhere. “The success comes from the diligence,” he said. 

The Artist's Talk in Ateneo, where James explains his influences from classic art.

A sketch that he drew on the spot for an interviewer.

I can't explain what an exhilarating and inspirational three days it was: meeting students and customers who are his fans, showing his books and art to passersby, following the events, even having lunch with him! What a perfect way to begin 2012. Until now, I can't wait to experience the same kind of excitement for the rest of the year. :)

James Jean's titles, Kindling, XOXO, Fables Covers, Rift, and issues of Fables are available online at fullybookedonline.com  For more about his art and work, visit jamesjean.com.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Two More Days!

What goes through the mind of an artist? What floats in shapes and fills the clouds of thoughts that the rest of us do not see? What colors are combined and images brought out when he closes his eyes? Who are the creatures that burst in life and flavor and which ones are those that hide in the dark? These are things I only wonder. These are things I hope to ask.

In two days, I will meet James Jean, and hopefully find out what, in fact, goes through the mind of an artist?

Care to join me? :-)

James Jean Back in Manila, www.fullybookedonline.com/JamesJean. Rebus, his latest work, is also available at www.fullybookedonline.com.