Artist Jen Larkin: Inspired by Light
Jen Larkin is an artist inspired by experience. Her paintings have a lightness to them; an ability to capture not only the moment but the feeling behind each moment itself. She walks everyday and enjoys observing the changing seasons, diverse landscapes and atmospheric skies of her picturesque homeland, Cornwall, UK. Jen has been professionally exhibiting her work and collaborating with interior designers to create beautiful art schemes since 1999. Today her work can be found in private collections around the world.
I cannot tell you how lucky I feel that Jen has so graciously decided to participate in my Interviews with Artists series on behalf of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles! Below, she shares her thoughts on creativity and the essentials of art.
Em: “Why, to you, is art and creativity essential?”
Jen: “For me, art is essential to anyone who wants to explore the world; to learn and grow. Being creative and thinking creatively can give back so much – both on a personal and wider cultural level. It can feel like a risk, to open up and share this side of ourselves – because it is so personal and because it can take such a very long time to find the right artistic direction, or to understand why the drive is inside. But I think it’s an amazingly important part of life and truly one of the best journeys that you can ever embark upon.”
Em: “Describe your own, unique process for creating art”
Jen: “Over the years, I’ve learned to follow my instincts, to study the things which catch my attention: the ‘art’ will follow. Art for me isn’t just painting/sculpture, etc., it’s about exploring thoughts and ideas, about asking more questions than we can individually answer. I’ll note down responses to a place or an event/experience/concept as quickly as I’ll take a photo or draw in a sketchbook. I’m also a keen advocate of an expanded, collective art practice – working collaboratively, often to create what’s known as ‘conceptual art’. But at the moment, I love to use ‘paint and brush’ as a way to re-consider, in slow-time, a moment of internal clarity. I use my thoughts, observations and experiences on long-distance walks as a start-point. I’m drawn to atmospheric light effects and dramatic coastal vistas or landscapes. I enjoy investigating the feeling, sometimes referred to as ‘the contemporary sublime’, through my painting, back in the studio.”
Em: “Do you have a moment of struggle or triumph in producing your art that stands out in your mind?”
Jen: “It sounds strange, but there’s a tiny triumph every time you bring a painting to a point of completion – you feel like you’ve brought order out of chaos somehow. You’ve won the first battle: the thing you’ve imagined or endeavoured towards now exists there before you. But then it all falls away again, and only re-activates when someone connects with your art: at this point, it takes on a life of it’s own. That’s the biggest triumph. Sometimes a piece will kick around the studio for years, to be painted and re-worked over and over, maybe hidden away in a storeroom, until it is ready to be considered publicly. But other times, you’ve finished before you even barely know it. The thing is, you need both ways to learn – you just can’t have one without the other.”
Em: “What first inspired you to become an artist?”
Jen: “I remember being drawn instinctively to particular sights/sounds/places/subjects/moods/ideas, from the earliest age. I loved responding to both my ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ world visually, it seemed so natural to me. Pen, pencil, crayon, paint, putty, mud: it didn’t matter what I had to hand, I used it. I was very industrious about it. And highly imaginative. Over time, the people who knew me well – those who truly connected with me – realised that I had a talent (or maybe they could see I was only truly happy when being creative) and encouraged me at every stage. They’re still my inspiration.”
Learn more about Jen Larkin at http://jenlarkin.co.uk
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Emerson is a junior in high school. She loves literature and is passionate about writing, poetry in particular. When she is not playing the drums, participating in school musical theater, or training for marathons, you can find her with her friends checking out vintage records and used book stores in Hollywood.