Japanese Beetles Eating a Yellow Chair

JEFF JENSEN
Japanese Beetles Eating a Yellow Chair, mixed media

Ideas come to me in the form of a chair. Usually it starts as a small drawing in a journal and then a large pastel. Drawings are important to my process.  On paper I can work out color combinations while getting a general feel for the piece I want to build. The 3D forms are approached in much the way as my drawings. The drawing starts out with a raw piece of paper and the 3D forms start out with raw pieces of pine. I choose to build my forms from the ground up and I do not want to use an already existing manufactured chair, I want to control the form. Edges and surfaces and how they can be cut through, broken down and manipulated into many different and new surfaces is what I'm after.  Layers of color and how they work off of each other, combined with the different surfaces and how it directs the eye is important to me.

The Japanese Beetle series started about 6 years ago. One early spring morning I was walking past an elderly man in his yard plucking bugs off his plants. I asked him, "how he was doing" and he replied, "these Japanese Beetles are eating everything". After living in Kentucky for some time I knew what he was frustrated about. Japanese Beetles though very colorful, are devastating to plants and gardens.  After hearing the man's reply I immediately knew what my next body of work would be. Japanese Beetles eating chairs, the combination has worked well. I have been able to combine my interest in breaking down the forms and at the same time I have been able to use a lot of color as well as interject some humor to my work.

My latest body of work has involved breaking up chair forms and putting them back together with different manufactured elements such as: bolts, screws and nails. I'm still layering the surface with color but the bugs have disappeared for the moment. We will see what comes next.

text and image from The Chait Galleries Downtown

This page was first displayed
on September 28, 2006

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