Interview with Abstract Painter, Jen Sievers

How did you get started doing what you do?
I’ve been creating art in some form ever since I could hold a pencil. I did the first half of a Fine Arts Degree after I left school and left it to focus on graphic design. I completed my graphic design qualification and have worked in the industry for 11 years. All throughout that time I’ve painted on and off. I rediscovered my obsession for painting a little while ago when I moved to a rural property and was overcome with inspiration. I’ve been painting obsessively all weekend and every evening since then.

How would you describe your creative style?
My style is expressive and joyful. I paint colourful, playful abstracts that express movement and reflect the immense bliss I experience while painting them. There is a definite influence of illustration and graphic design in my work.

Interview with Painter, Jen Sievers on Jung Katz
Interview with Painter, Jen Sievers on Jung Katz

What’s your inspiration?
I find inspiration in the most random places! Most of my inspiration comes from colour combinations I see in the real world and reinterpret into paintings. I remember once being inspired by a bright yellow bicycle lane flowing along the side of the motorway. I also often come up with an idea for a new painting based on a small section of one I’m working on.

How long does it typically take for you to finish a piece?
It varies a lot. Some of my favourite pieces happen naturally and quickly – they’ll be done in a few sessions, taking 4 or 5 hours. Others take more patience and time, and lots of layers! Those take quite a lot longer.

How do you keep motivated?
Motivation is not a problem for me – I often feel like I don’t have enough time to do all the paintings that are brewing in my mind. I’m constantly sketching them and going over them in my head just in case I can’t hold onto the ideas long enough to get them onto canvas. I have no idea where it comes from. I hope this motivation lasts forever, but in the mean time I’m just enjoying and making full use of it.

Interview with Painter, Jen Sievers on Jung Katz
Interview with Painter, Jen Sievers on Jung Katz

How would you say your surroundings have influenced your work?
My surroundings directly inspired me to pick up my paintbrush after a long break. I live on top of a hill in the Waitakere ranges just outside of Auckland, New Zealand. The views are breathtaking and I’m surrounded by nature while I paint and as I go about my daily life. The awe of nature inspires me to create – I’m so fortunate to have it so close!

What do you hope to accomplish with your work?
I would like people to feel the same joy that I do when they see my work. I hope to remind them that life is incredible and there’s the possibility for happiness in every moment.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
I read an article about a truly inspirational abstract artist who quit her day job to follow her passion. One thing I remember her suggesting, was to buy the best quality paint you can afford – good materials make all the difference.
Interview with Painter, Jen Sievers on Jung KatzInterview with Painter, Jen Sievers on Jung Katz

Any words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?
Dive into it head first. The thing that held me back for years was the lack of time – until my will to paint made me realize how many wasted hours there are in the day. Paint all night, paint on the weekends, steal small moments between moments and fill them with your work. Just because you haven’t got the pedigree of being a full time artist doesn’t mean your work is any less valid or beautiful.

What are your thoughts on art school?
I think art school is a fantastic opportunity to explore your creativity and give yourself time to learn. I definitely don’t think it’s the only way to get into an art career. I also believe that it can sometimes try to lead young artists into a creative space that might not be right for them. I learned more about art and composition from my time as a graphic designer than I did when I was at art school – but that wouldn’t be the same for everybody. Everyone has their own journey and all are valid.

Have any future aspirations that you’d like to share?
I would love to make and sell enough art on a constant basis to do it full time, but I think that’s quite a long-term goal. In the mean time I’d like to have a solo exhibition and do textile or surface design with my paintings.
Interview with Painter, Jen Sievers on Jung Katz
Interview with Painter, Jen Sievers on Jung Katz

What’s your dream project?
I’d love to do some public art – something big that lots of people can walk past and appreciate daily, I think it would be a massive challenge but with such a sense of accomplishment.

What art supplies do you use?
I mostly use Golden Fluid acrylics, I absolutely adore them! I also use Schmincke heavy body acrylics – I love their fluorescent colours. I paint on pre-stretched canvases, and often do colour studies on wood blocks.

What’s your process like?
It changes from painting to painting. I usually start with a colour scheme in mind – and sometimes a basic form or flow for the painting. I layer colours over each other and experiment as I go. Very often something will happen in one painting that inspires a new idea for the next one.

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