name: J. Slattum
year of birth: 1983
country: USA


The Vessel
by jslattum

Q1: When did you start making art?
I grew up always doodling on everything I could get my paws on… but then I forgot. Life was dark. It took a near-death experience in 2007 to help me rediscover that childhood vision. It was the first time I had a glimpse behind the veil of things and it really changed how I looked at the universe. Immediately, my core priority in life went from a material-driven lifestyle to pursuing happiness by following my passion (when I was five I dreamed of being an artist). I realized art was my way and that it’s my connection with the universe. I’ve been happy since.

Q2: What does inspire you?
Asking good questions inspires me! So I’d say philosophy with a pinch of esoteric, this is what I like to study.
What motivates my work? I draw from the same place I did as a child…. I approach it with a sense of play and exploration, without any prior intentions. A story or feeling will show up that inspires the painting.

Q3: What are your techniques?
I love the techniques of the Great Master- Caravaggio. After painting a monochromatic brown version of my piece, I’ll begin layering colors on top of that. Lots of transparent to semi-transparent, especially in the shadow areas… this seems to create this murkiness and inner light that shadows possess. From there, I work into the lights with thicker more opaque paint… it sticks off of the canvas picking up more light. It’s like a topography map, the shadows are recessed and smooth like water, the lights are the mountain tops- jagged and thick. It really creates this subtle bas-relief effect.

Q4: What is the main idea or feeling behind your works?
Subjective perspective. Self-exploration, at an individual level but also as a collective conscious. I work with a lot of contrast, both aesthetically and conceptually. A lot intense light, that can’t be without the darkness, and vise-versa. It’s all to be considered as a whole.

Q5: What is the main color of your art and why?
I don’t like to stick to any boundaries when it comes to color. Aesthetically, as mentioned earlier, I do however use a lot of dark scenes with strong lights.

Q6: What would you improve about your work and why?
I’d like to incorporate more figures interacting with each other in my art. There’s so much you can say with one subject metaphorically, but the interaction of added players can create a new dynamic and further avenues to travel.

Q7: Do you have any project for the future?
Currently, I’m finishing up work for my new series- “Archaic Revival- Return to Wisdom”. It’s about a figure that represents the conscious-mind (both individually and collectively), entering the dark world of the subconscious-mind, seeking out artifacts of universal knowledge. This knowledge is embedded within everyone, but we’ve drifted from it as we’ve been externalized as a culture.

Q8: Describe yourself with 3 words capturing the essence of jslattum.
Shamanic Mind Travels

Q9: Show us (link) your very first work. Describe it from techniques till feelings.
This one HERE is called “Judgement”. It was my very first painting. The whole process took about an hour with acrylics, and mainly consisted of rapid experimentation; it created itself as it became more and more clear.
The piece definitely has this ominous sense to it. The cast of judgement.

Q10: What did change from your first work till now?
Mostly technique- medium and approach- I leave the spontaneity to the initial concept sketch now, then spend nearly 2 weeks planning the work before I even paint. The actual paint process takes another 2 weeks, in layered oil paints. More time and detail.

Q11: What is art for you? Escaping from reality or the essence of life?
Both, everything and all, also nothing at all.

  Love this DarKness!

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