Rafa Jenn uses geometrics to "pixelate" portraits, sketches pin-ups in coloured pencil and messes with Abbey Road. His goal: freedom.
Are you happy as an artist right now?
Is this a time of growth for you?
The recession makes it so that one can't buy as much stuff, so I buy less stuff. It hasn't affected my creativity or inspiration. In creating new work I take into account that while there's less cash flow, people still like art and want to buy art, so I make sure that my work stays affordable.
I've certainly had my share of treading water, but currently I am in one of my most pronounced upswings. I have more collectors than ever before and am selling out of artwork faster than ever before. But when I have to, I supplement my income with a bit of freelance graphic design and illustration.
I am a huge fan of art... the "art world", not so much. Years ago I became so aggravated by the [fine] art world that I had to stop paying attention. There's so much work that looks like it's saying, "hi, I went to grad school and I got my MFA"... and the artist statements kill me. They are just the worst! But I do like to take in as much visual inspiration as possible. The internet is good for that.
Who do you really admire in the art world right now?
Damien Hirst. He's clever and has a good eye for design. I don't necessarily like everything he does, but I especially admire how much freedom he has achieved. That is my goal: freedom. Though I implement unique styles in my work, I wouldn't want a certain style to limit or dictate what I can or can't do. I imagine I'll run with several different styles for as long as they yield interesting/ beautiful results. But I would rather stay open to whatever style an idea calls for, rather than pushing some established 'signature' style...
Who do you think will survive?
Survive in the eyes of whom? Artists who want to survive in the eyes of a specific audience should learn to implement a low over-head. In other words, learn to get by on next to nothing. Stay in the game. You can never tell when your next big break will come.
Alternatively, artists that survive are the ones who can't help being artists... the ones that continue to create in spite of negative criticism... the ones who don't need external validation.
Thanks to all my collectors out there! I'm glad you're diggin' the work ;-)