Artist Statement by J.E. Crum
J.E. Crum is an artist who creates vivid self-portraits inspired by mythologies. Working intuitively, Crum creates narratives related to thoughts about fate, destiny and dreams.
Insight about the processes & technique of my work
I consider myself a fantasy artist or, as I like to refer to it, ‘fantastical’. My work could also be described as being surrealistic, yet I am not concerned with realism as much as I am with creating surreal abstractions of reality, exaggerating color to increase its intensity, and combining the imagery in a poetic manner. Meanwhile, I’m allured to the concept of the self-portrait, a subject matter I’ve been intrigued with since first studying art over twenty years ago. Once I understood that the concept of creating portraits of oneself can transcend the idea of a physical representation, becoming a means to self-actualization and realization, I found the act of creating self-portraits as an artist to be very empowering.
I enjoy utilizing the exploratory qualities of art materials, developing playful juxtapositions of colors and shapes within the artworks using the method of automatism: I don’t always know what I am creating but use art as a means to relax and be “lost” in the process. By working in this manner, I seem to be able to allow my creativity to flow naturally. Personal narratives develop as I create my artwork organically. I explore beliefs about fate, destiny, and the meaning of my dreams when studying my work as it evolves in its’ various stages of completion. I also tend to find inspiration for ideas from a variety of ancient stories and mythologies I enjoy as I develop my artwork series.
Over the past four years, I’ve been painting with liquid watercolors on hand-made printmaking paper to explore this technique I utilize. The medium lends itself to an unpredictability I enjoy to further explore my technique. When I paint, I achieve a very rich vibrancy to the colors I use. Since the printmaking paper was not designed to use with watercolors, the paints continue to saturate the paper past the areas that were wet after I let the paintings set to dry, which forces me to explore how images form, after which I must re-evaluate how to further complete the works, as I attempt to make visually stunning works, capturing the mood I try to express through each piece. My results lead to creating art that capture the aesthetic of dreamlike states: ethereal in some pieces, while haunting in other works. Sometimes I am amazed at what is created, as my art can seem to help me understand more about how I feel about changes in my life, the world around me and how I respond to these inevitably changing variables.
We will be showcasing Crum’s works throughout the month of March, so stay tuned every Monday.