Meet JP Owens, an American artist from Scott Depot, West Virginia. He uses a variety of techniques to create bold, colorful and innovative mixed media art works. JP’s influences are Pablo Picasso, Keith Haring, Henry Moore, and M.C. Escher. His media includes materials from clocks, automotive materials, scrap metal and reclaimed wood. He works in a circle, trying different ideas in each piece, rebuilding his interest, until he feels they are complete. The imagery in JP Owens’ work focuses on analyzing the mundane, representing it in an abstracted, primitive style and often adding an unexpected element. Learn more about JP with our Q&A:
1. How do you describe your palette?
I don’t limit my use of color or even type of object that I paint on, assemble into a sculpture or how I approach a new piece. My depiction of a particular object is often abstracted, so many times realistic color schemes are not used. I instead use the color to create areas of interest or movement within each piece. I feel I’ve developed into an experimental artist which makes anything and everything a potential subject for my next work of art. I’ve painted on traditional surfaces like canvas as well as chairs, oars, skateboards, guitars, shovels, mannequins and numerous other found items. I’ve created sculptures using animal skulls, auto parts, wood, pieces of broken clocks and watches. Most recently I’ve began turning my sketches and finished canvas work into graphic images for shirts. Through the sell of these shirts I’ve gotten my work into the hands of folks who may have never seen my work through the traditional gallery display.
2. What’s your greatest accomplishment?
It’s hard to say other than to believe the best is yet to come. My paintings and sculptures have been juried into numerous exhibitions throughout the country and I’ve been lucky enough to win a few awards along the way. I was given a fellowship award that recognized me as the top graduating artist by my professors at WVSU. I’ve been given the opportunity to speak to high school and college students about my work and share my journey as an artist. I’ve sold numerous works throughout my career to both private and corporate collectors which likely touch every corner of our country. Over the last few years I have encountered complete strangers walking around with my shirts on which is exciting to see and a great way to strike up a conversation. These are all great accomplishments for me. But I would say creating the Owens Fellowship Award with my wife is the greatest of my accomplishments thus far. Being able to donate cash awards to local children through school art exhibits ensures that I am investing in creative education and reinforcing its importance in our great state. Creative problem solving is a great tool for developing critical thinking skills and I believe a lot of students need more resources to explore their own passion for art.
3. What obstacles do you need to overcome to find your creative space/muse?
I, like most artists, have a long list of distractions that keep my mind away from creative inspiration. The biggest challenge I face would probably be the need to push myself to explore new techniques and compositions. Developing an environment that influences creativity is not easy in today’s fast paced world of instant gratification but support from my family, friends and community has helped me continue to be a consistent and productive artist.
4. How do you find your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from exploring the world around me. The Internet and social media allow for a lot of investigation into new movements and fresh ideas going on in the art world. Instagram is a great motivator for me and I get a lot of inspiration from artists I’ll likely never meet in person. That being said, I still crave being in the same room with a great piece of art. I plan a few weekend trips every year just to explore a new gallery or art community. I find when I’m studying new artists in new markets I get a lot of motivation to create.
5. What advice do you have for other artists?
Don’t compare your work to others or let someone’s comments steer your direction unless you consider them a valuable asset or mentor. Many people find art to be confusing and believe everything should have a concrete meaning. Many negative comments come from viewers who are trying to rationalize what you’ve created when it may not be intended for interpretation. An artists’ work should always represent what inspires them, not necessarily what the masses will accept.
6. Where can our readers see your work?
Art Emporium, Charleston WV, The Greenhouse of Teays Valley, Fairways Restaurant, Hurricane WV, Apartment Earth, Charleston WV, Harmony Ridge Gallery, Lewisburg WV, Tamaracks Dickirson Fine Art Gallery and gift shops, Beckley WV, and Get Branded, Huntington WV.
Follow JP on instagram @owensart or find him on facebook! He also has an Etsy store @ JP Owens Art. For more info about JP, call him at 304-545-0455 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
– HashtagWV, September 2016