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Monday, November 22nd, 2010
Blogs | Artistic Liberties
Shiva’s Muse: Jantira K
I met Jantira during my time at Wheaton College. Maybe it was in 2002? We’ve lost track of when we actually became friends, we just know that we are eternally connected. I find it fitting that I’m posting her interview now after sitting on it for a few weeks since I just spent five days with her on the West Coast! We had such an amazing time. I could be with her any day of the week! Everyone meet,
SLY: What kind of artist are you?
Jantira: Iâ€™m trained in photography but I like to find ways to work other resources and mediums into the process, whether it be performance, painting, stickers, prints, ceramics, craft, etc. I think limiting an idea/yourself to one medium is like putting a straight jacket on your creative life.
Jantira: I’m also an ADD type of artist. I get bored with things easily and will stop if I’m not feeling it anymore. Some people work through that but I just don’t see the point. Why work on something that you don’t care about/isn’t relevant anymore? I’ll go back to it if it means something to me again, but until that happens it goes into the abandoned art pile.
SLY: How old are you?
Jantira: 26 – quarter life crisis is no joke my friends.
Jantira: I have a BA in Studio Art with a focus on photography. Iâ€™ve also taken a few classes at the CCâ€™s near my house when I feel less self-disciplined (I am terrible at drawing!)/need a refresher/want to learn a new technique and also to exploit the use of their equipment I have a whole lot of love and respect for outsider and intuitive art, so I try to learn things on my own when itâ€™s within reason to do so. The library is a great resource for that. I’m trying to learn more about illuminated letters right now so I bought a book on it since I like owning books and having them around for reference later. I’m a bit of a book whore but I know you can relate!
SLY: Why do you think art is important?
Jantira: Art is important for me personally because it keeps me present, grounded, and sane. With art, I can always be honest and true to myself and therefore others. It’s the best gauge of where I am. It also lets me work out bigger issues on a smaller scale, which can save me a lot of pain and heartache. I get to try out different things that are very much connected to real life but within the confines of this sacred space called art. Theater and art are a lot alike for me in this way.
Tarkovsky wrote in Sculpting in Time that art is the search for Truth, which to him meant God. I tend to agree with that. I feel like at it’s core art is a greater understanding of that which is both known and unknown but without all the existential hang ups that we have. It’s the answer and the question. It can address all these issues without angst or confusion or dissent and just speak it’s truth. Art is the breadcrumbs on the walk into the woods.
Art is also a mirror of our world – engaging and challenging it. Every piece of art has it’s own story and place in art history but included in that is the broader political, social, religious, and environmental histories of the time. Examples would be Shepard Fairey’s Hope poster, Robert Mapplethorpe’s banned exhibition, the bonfire of the vanities, the Iconoclasts. Art helps to shape culture and shows it to itself, for better or for worse. Artists and art can lend real changes to our society. I’ll be keeping track of the trial between the AP and Shepard Fairey over his poster.
It’s such a shame that art is often viewed as being superfluous or decorative or only for academia or the rich who can afford to buy it. I hate the whole concept of “high art.” It’s bullshit. Art is for everyone. Art is everywhere.
SLY: Can you tell me more about printmaking and what you actually do?
Jantira: Printmaking as a medium is very broad. It’s also a very versatile medium. There are so many ways to approach it and so much you can do from abstraction to realism to photographic reproductions and everything in between. Within printmaking there are several types: lithographs, woodcuts, linoleum cuts, etchings, screen prints, etc. I really like making linocuts but the most recent ones Iâ€™ve been doing are screen prints, which is when an image gets transferred via a mesh screen.
Jantira: The process for screen printing starts with a design or image of whatever you want to print. I convert this to a digital image if itâ€™s not already and do a color separation if there is more than one color. From there, I print these color separations onto a transparency and expose them onto a screen. Once I have the screens, I line it up and start printing. I wrote a blog post about itÂ here. It has more detailed descriptions and lots of pictures if you or any of your readers are interested in the process. Note that the method posted on that blog was me trying something new and since then I have sworn off drawing fluid and screen filler. It’s just not my cup of tea, but it may work for others. Like most mediums, there are varying degrees of difficulty and many ways to reach the same end, but at the core it’s the same basic principle.
SLY: What and Who inspires you?
Jantira: Iâ€™m very drawn to words so often I’ll get inspired by something I read or hear. I also get lots of ideas while driving, which living in LA I do a lot of. I also get a lot of inspiration from doing as oppose to thinking, although you need both.
Jantira: Icons and iconography, outsider/intuitive/folk/public/community/graffiti/conceptual art, minimalism, science, culture, fears, systems, individual vs collective being, distance, dissent, style, gender, nature, and color also inspire me.
Fearlessness inspires me most of all.
SLY: What is your favorite medium to use in creating art?
Jantira: I like immediate gratification so photography definitely provides that. I also like digital things; it’s quick and easy and always looks clean. I also love cutting (paper, felt, fabric, etc) and pasting, something me and my 3 year old nephew have in common!
SLY: What are you currently working on?
Jantira: A photo series involving a hazmat suit, a poster series on women, a few small ceramics, some felt things, Thai flashcards for my nephews, and a couple of collaborative projects. I’m also working on some screen prints for an upcoming show for charity, and I’ll also be doing a screen printing demo there as well.
SLY: What has been the highlight so far, of your artistic career?
Jantira: I think firsts are always really exciting and memorable, so I would say my first show and my first performance piece. Those were both the result of so much hard work and the experience was better than anything I could have ever imagined. The performance piece in particular was great in that it completely solidified the power of art in my mind. It was just this amazing, cleansing, transformative experience for me and hopefully for those present as well. As for my first show, it’s my baby so I love it. I also got to work in several different mediums (video, wax, found objects, digital, painting, photo, etc…) which was very exciting.
SLY: What if any, artistic mistakes have you made?
Jantira: Lots. Lots and lots and lots. My one greatest mistake was when I stopped trusting myself as an artist. Trust is a hard lesson to learn, and not just in art.
SLY: What is your favorite quote?
jantira: “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” The full verse is “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” For better or worse it’s something I think about daily.
SLY: Do you have any encouraging words for those who are looking to get more creative?
Jantira: My words of (limited) wisdom would be to not worry too much and just DO IT. Starting is the hardest part and I’m my own worst critic so sometimes it’s necessary to tell yourself to not give a fuck and just go nuts! Also, the line between art and craft is a lot thinner than most people would like you to believe. Craft is the gateway drug to art.
SLY: Where can we find you?
Personal Ramblings Blog: http://jantirakeyuranggul.blogspot.com/
Art Blog: http://myartdiet.blogspot.com/
Jantira: Etsy shop and website will be up whenever I can find some money to pay someone to do it for me. I know my limitations. (Jantira — You know Ollie did my site and many others. She works magic! ~ SLY)
SLY: Any last words?
Jantira: I am a firm believer that art is for everyone. I truly believe that everyone is an artist. Protesting is a form of art. Living fearlessly is art. Wrapping a present is art. Theater is art. Science is art. Community is art. Sorrow is art. Writing a letter is art. Forgiveness is art. Sacrifice is art. Everything is a conduit to Art, it only depends on if we are willing to open ourselves up to receive it.
Jantira, you know how essential you are to my soul. Thank you for participating in this. Thank you for our friendship. Thank you for being such a wonderful artist. You are such an inspiration and muse to me. Move to New York now. We have a billion things to do!
Are youShivaâ€™s Muse? Interested in being featured on Artistic Liberties? Check out the link and see if its something that interest you. Or check out some of the other artists who have been featured.
Wondering what other creative artist I like? Check out some of my resources. Artistic Resources and Intriguing Resources. Please note these pages are constantly being updated with all the fabulous things I discover and happen upon.
Photo Credit: All Photos were provided by Jantira K