Paul LaJeunesse will be offering a variety of workshops that folks are sure to benefit from while honing their craft. Color & Light, Composition, Technique Mixte, and Rendering are a few subjects Paul will present. We're thrilled to bring in the exceptional artist and instructor in 2015.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born and raised in St. Louis, MO. I attended Missouri State University from 1994-1999 and graduated with a BFA in drawing. I moved to St. Louis and worked at Laumeier Sculpture Park as the Preparator, Conservation Technician and Registrar until 2003 when I was accepted to graduate school at Bowling Green State in Bowling Green Ohio. At Bowling Green I met Patrick Betaudier while attending a summer workshop where I learned the Technique Mixte. I then studied with Patrick for a semester in Monflanquin France. I graduated from Bowling Green in 2006 and returned to St. Louis to teach at Florissant Valley campus of St. Louis Community College. I received the Greenshields Foundation Grant at this time and immediately afterwards my Fulbright to create a body of work in Iceland. I spent the next 9 months in Reykjavik and Siglufjordur Iceland creating a body of work. After returning to the states I was hired to teach at Western Oregon University. I taught there for 3 years and then moved to Atlanta to teach at Georgia State University. After 3 years in Atlanta I moved to Chattanooga Tennessee to pursue my own artistic practice and teach workshop format classes. Upon moving to Chattanooga I was awarded a mural project by the Northshore Merchants Collective and now have a mural painting on the corner of Forest and Frazier avenues in Chattanooga Tennessee. During the summer I also taught at Anderson Ranch in Snowmass Village Colorado.
Tell us a little about your work space. How does it contribute to your work?
As for the work space contributing to my work, I am in a new space and very excited as it's more spacious than anything I have had before and in excellent condition as it was newly renovated. This allows me to work on multiple paintings at once as I develop the layers of the painting. I usually have 3-4 paintings in progress at varying levels of resolution. Because I use a layering technique, the technique mixte, I need drying time for certain paintings. This allows me to work on a different painting at a different phase, either layout, under drawing, underpainting or glazing. The process is more flexible than it may initially seem as I can rework any painting at any level with the tempera paint. This allows for compositional changes along the way should I need them.
What projects are you working on currently?
I am currently continuing a body of work that began in Atlanta where I use layered imagery to reference how we assimilate memories of our experiences to give us a sense of identity and value as they relate to place.
The idea is that our experiences are linear but we often think, feel and remember in a non-linear fashion. The way we build our identity is based on our memory and future projection "I am this because of past experience and want to be this in the future". Or rather, we want to be perceived as these things, whatever our individual value system is such as moral, ethical, kind, revered, famous, etc. etc. We all have these mashed up versions of what we are and, thus, what we value, and cannot have a definition of self without a sense of place. Memory of any event always has a setting and that setting is as significant (if not more so) as to defining us than an event or action. The place allows for action. The place sets mood and how we can interact with space and with one another.
This is why I am interested in creating these surreal landscapes as they can create a sense of memory of a place that many people can identify with, without the setting being so literal. The paintings are always about place and what that means to a person and their identity rather than a literal description of the physical attributes of a space.
What do you hope students will take away from your courses at Binders?
I hope the students gain a stronger understanding of how they see and how their eye and mind work to create visual perception. Understanding of this along with a deeper understanding of material properties will allow students to create freely in their own artwork without any technical hang-ups.
"I want people to have the ability to create works as they want so they can freely employ the material as is needed for the content of the painting, not for some stylistic application."
Too many people are relegated, as painters, to creating abstracted works based on lack of understanding of materials and optics. It's not that I want everyone to become photo realists, but I want people to have the ability to create works as they want so they can freely employ the material as is needed for the content of the painting, not for some stylistic application. It is similar to teaching a musician to play music instead of teaching them jazz or punk rock. If all anyone has ever played is jazz, that's what they can do. If they learn to compose and play music, they can play anything and follow their interests as they change and develop as an artist without limitations.
For questions, more information, or registration please contact the BINDERS Education Office at 404237-6331 ext. 203 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.