Tell us about yourself, who are you, where are you from, and what do you do?
My name is Jeremy Mitchell Pelt. I’m not Jeremy Pelt the famous trumpet player. That’s another guy and I’m sure he is lovely. Where I’m from is hard to nail down – born in Oklahoma and grew up near Charlotte, North Carolina. Lived several years in Asheville, Chicago and New Orleans. I call Folly Beach, SC home right now. I’m an artist and a teacher. Mostly I’m an oil painter, but when the air blows just right I get into some sculpture too.
How did you get started doing what you do?
I don’t remember ever not doing what I do. Even building forts and blowing things up as a kid has the same sort of improvisational, experimental and exciting feeling as working on art. I’ve always drawn and was always encouraged to.
How would you describe your style?
Eesh..I don’t think I would. I would rather have it described to me.
What’s your inspiration?
Other artwork, wood, furniture and domestic objects, junk drawers, forts, bits of plastic, cartoons, simple physical gestures, artifice, abandoned objects, personal memories and dreams, symbolic and precious and hallowed objects, masks.
What is art to you?
I guess it’s whatever anyone says it is, at this point. But I think effective Art is something that does a few things at once, or has a few modes of attack – the type of work that can make a viewer think about and have a few emotions at once. If I catch myself feeling a few feelings at once, having lots to think about, I’m excited.
What does your typical day look like?
I wake up and find the coffee, drive to school where I usually teach a morning Drawing class or two. Drink more coffee and head to the studio, and bang on whatever I’m working with. Time usually goes away then and suddenly it’s dinnertime. Eat, work some more. Weird internet videos and/or Antiques Roadshow. This is all interspersed with hanging out with my lovely gal and a tiny fluffy white dog. Sometimes at night there is wine and or camping / fishing / island party trips.
How long does it typically take for you to finish a piece?
I work pretty fast, typically. Typically a few days to a week or so. I work on a few at once, some are faster than others.
How do you keep motivated?
I keep in touch with others who are motivated. I talk about projects when I’m in that zone.
How have your surroundings influenced your work?
Since living at the beach, I’m seeing a lot more long horizons in my paintings. And there’s probably lots of sand in the paint. Charleston, SC has lots of hand painted signs that youstill see around, and I always find myself admiring them when I’m downtown.
What do you hope to accomplish with your work?
To make someone feel something. Once I had a homeless man at a show in New Orleans tell me about an installation I had put together: “man I don’t know what it is about being in here but something about it just makes me think about fucking.”
How have others reacted to your work?
See above. I’ve also had some people say “I don’t know anything about art” or “what am I missing?” which I kind of take to mean “I’m not willing to invest energy into confronting your work in any sort of meaningful way” and that’s always kind of a bummer.
What do you want others to take away from your work?
I just want them to remember it, mostly.
What, if anything, would you tell your younger self?
Wear clothes that fit.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
To not pay too close attention to the hypercritical voice inside of your head. It is there for a reason, and it is worth listening to every rare now and then, like songs on the radio. But mostly it’s only going to make you doubt yourself and convince you that you can’t, that you shouldn’t.
Any words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?
Draw. Learn to draw classically and learn the techniques. Keep a sketchbook. Keep a tight grasp on your fellow artist friends. They are inspiring when you need it, they feed and improve your ideas, you do the same for them. You need each other. Iron sharpens iron.
What are your thoughts on art school?
Get a scholarship and go!
What art supplies do you use?
Lots of oil paint, canvas and wood, oil sticks, pastels, One-Shot and Rustoleum enamel, spray paint, pencils, paper.
Any other artists that you would like to recommend for others to check out as well?
Jessica Bizer, Andrew Fansler, Joe Miller, Susan Klein, Ashley Freinberg, Joey Potts, Joe Tallarico, Ben Tinsley, Sarah Mosk, Tony Csavas