I have always been drawn to faces and bright colors. A person’s face is always telling you a story, even when they claim to have a blank expression. And since all art is a mirror, when you are staring in to the eyes of a painted face, it reflects a story back to you.
These characters I paint are telling me my story. Sometimes they are telling me that the bright colors and markings are a mask, hiding their true identity, like a superhero or actor on the great stage. Other times they are telling me that the bright colors and markings are a true representation of their inner being, more real than any other facade could ever be. I see sadness. I see happiness. I see confidence. I see anger. I see peace. I see love. A face can communicate all these things so effortlessly, that is why I love to paint them.
The colors and markings take me to another world. It could be a dream world, an alien planet, or a virtual reality. The colors tell their own story which dances with the face to create a narrative I love to explore. I hope you do to.
I started with oil painting years ago at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I have loved the analog performance of oil painting and the fearlessness it takes to commit a brushstroke to canvas. But lately I have taken a turn to the digital. Using a Wacom tablet and stylus, I have been exploring translating my characters in to a 100% digital realm where there is room to explore, experiment, and iterate in a way I can only achieve through my computer. It’s liberating and daunting at the same time to learn a new paradigm of creating. But I am up for the challenge.
As I said, I hope you enjoy this body of work and bring your own characters to the party.
Sam Jennings, 04/2020