1) Who are you and how long have you been an artist? Hi, I’m Jim Faris. I’ve been a visual, graphic and musical artist since 1984. Probably longer than that, but let’s not count those school years. I’ve been writing and performing music as long as I can remember. And visual art, well I had my first art show in 1984 and it was a disaster. That show in Cincinnati is what helped push me into Graphic design instead of fine art. Only recently, 5 or 6 years ago, did i pick up the brush again and start having fun as an artist. My wife pushed me and intorduced me to some great local artist and got me into my first Artomatic. She’s a big force behind my art.
2) What medium(s) do you work in & why? In the past I have been all about acrylic on canvas, but I started moving into a bit of mixed media; oil stick, pastel, charcoal and anything i can find. But for the last few years I’ve been using the iPad as my sketchbook to work out ideas before I execute. This last year or two, the iPad has taken over my workflow so for this year at Artomatic I showed only prints of art made entirely on my iPad. We had yet another baby this year, so 3 kids, full time job, musical gigs… it makes it tough to set up the easel and work. I would love to still have a studio where I can shut the door and keep everything set up. But that’s not my life right now.
3) What is your creative process like? At the end of the night, when everyone has gone to bed, I sit in my recliner, watch some tv, and open my iPad Pro and Pencil and I get started on a new piece. For this new round of art, the stuff that is being shone at Artomatic, I usually start with a photo or a few photos for reference. I bring them into the Procreate App on my iPad. I keep them on a separate layer so that I can zoom in as needed to see details and such. Then I do a line drawing with he fat pencil. I’ll sometimes sample the colors to make a color palette, sometimes I just leave the reference picts in the image thru the painting process. Once I have the composition and line drawing. I export it to another app. I use ArtSet App for painting the image. It does a great job of emulating real media. I start with a dark burlap canvas, import the Procreate drawing, then start painting the canvas white as a background (it’s rare that I paint a background, i like the contrast of the white.) I build up a lot of paint (*when I say paint i mean digital paint, the thicker the paint, the more it reacts to the scraping to come.) Then I use the color palette or the reference photos to sample colors and start painting. ArtSet is a very limited app in that it doesn’t have layers, touch sensitivity, and limited brush sizes and styles. I make the paintings pretty realistic now. I used to distort, twist and/or caricature my portraits and make them very graphic, but i misses the sloppy, messiness of my older works. The next round is kind of combining the twisted portraits with the newer style of works…. Anyway, back to the process, after the painting is completed, the App has tools for scrapping, wetting, diluting and smudging the painting. ArtSet doesn’t have touch sensitivity, but it does have Velocity sensitivity, so as I work slower or faster, the diluting or scrapping responds to my speed which can make for some very erratic movements on the canvas. Once satisfied , I bring the art work back into Procreate for some touch ups, then I export the art work to the SnapSeed App. SnapSeed is really a photographers tool set for doing color correcting, sharpening, blurring, adding vintage effects, dirt, scratches and of course those frames. Then I send them off to a printing service. The current ones up at Artomatic are printed on a heavy matt photo paper, but they seem very shiny under the florescent lights. They look much better framed. In the future I think I’ll only be printing these on watercolor paper. All of these current prints are available to buy on Zazzle.
4) What is the best art-related advice you’ve received? Just do it! I know, Nike, but my wife introduced me to Matt Sesow (if you don’t know this artist, you should, look him up!) I was doing primitive works and my wife said, “ You should meet this guy.” After seeing his show, I quit doing primitive, grotesque style because Matt has nailed it! But talking to him, he is the sweetest most inspiring guy, same goes for his wife Dana, another great local artist. They both said, “Artomatic is coming up, get involved. Paint everyday or everyday you can and JUST DO IT! Additionally, Chuck Close. Just look up his quotes. “Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us have to show up and work.”
5) What is the biggest challenge you face as an artist? Time and space. Time is the biggest challenge to everything, not just art. Too much time commuting to work, robs us of time with our families and the time spiral goes on from there. Space is a basic functional issue. Having space to work where nothing else happens. work can be started and allowed time to develop and site and expand. Right now, the iPad is solving both of those challenges. My time to work on art is the end of the day when I’m already exhausted…it’s easy to open an iPad and start. And space, i curl up in my chair, or a coffee shop or the metro, and I start. But I do miss the physicality of the work. If I had my way, I’d have a large space, stretch my own canvases, mix my own pigments, and throw real paint around for a while. Maybe some one out there reading this wants to donate some studio space?
6) Choose one piece that you currently have on display at Artomatic and tell the story of that piece:
This is a painting of my daughter. It started as me trying to do a sketch of her. I had been working on caricatures and fun graphic sketching, but I loved this picture of here and I wanted to do a more serious drawing… It came out pretty good, so I thought, I’d work on my digital painting chops, after not having much luck in Procreate, I switched back to ArtSet and managed to do a … “ a nice painting…ugh” it stood out in no way. Through caricatures I could paint the ‘person’, the idea of them and all the stuff that you see when you look at some one. This was just a painting, it was good but not special.
So, I did what I often do, I started scraping out the face and painting a skull over it or something before I discard it… but the first few scrapes through her crazy hair made it feel more like how I see her… a whirling blur of hair and eyes and hands, moving around me. I scrapped and blotched and smudged around and as I painted and destroyed this painting, I thought about her and everything she is to me and all that we have gone through. And it was different. When I did the initial painting, I was thinking about color, and shapes, and composition, I could have been painting a still life. But the distortions and paint splattering was her, throwing things, learning, loving, destroying and building up my life. I realized this part was the important part. Painting the “stuff between us” was the real challenge.
7) What is your favorite part of the Artomatic experience so far? The community. I don’t think I have ever sold much from Artomatic, and I’m often overlooked by the press coverage. But the people, and community that the Artomatic process fosters is incredible. Helping other artist, being helped by other artist. Being appreciated by people that actually love art, is very cool. The first year I did automatic, I kinda resented having to work my shifts, but now I love it! And best of all, my eldest son, Declan, is part of it all. He has a few of his first photo prints up and loves being part of this community.
8) How can people find you online? I am all over the place on line and I really need to get everything condensed again. So here is the rundown: www.jimfaris.com: this is my main website and it should have everything, but it doesn’t and it has a lot of old art, but still a good resource https://www.zazzle.com/co…/artomatic_2017-119530425384062647 this links directly to prints for Automatic. https://www.facebook.com/jim.faris my face book https://www.facebook.com/jimfarisgallery/ I and trying to get better at using this for art stuff but it all falls into my personal account. https://faris.myportfolio.com/ This has some art, some sketch, some web design work… http://jim-faris.pixels.com/ digital prints of my older works, it may come down soon. http://www.jellyrollmortals.com/ my band, really bad at updating it try https://www.facebook.com/jellyrollmortals/