Intricate brushwork, distinctive style and imaginative prowess. ‘Inside My Art’ with fine artist, Jay Alders
“Some people wait around for opportunity to come knocking. I prefer to just build my own door and open it.”
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t into art. I grew up in the suburbs of Ocean and Monmouth County, New Jersey about 15 minutes from the beach. Professionally, I’ve been making money at art in since I was a teenager. I got my first paid gigs in High School and have worked as a professional creative ever since.
Discovering My Style:
I know that “finding your style” is like the Holy Grail for artists, but my style is still evolving. I think style finds the artist. I don’t have a very systematic protocol for painting. I like experimenting with different techniques and styles and you can see the progression and variety throughout my work.
I know there are certain characteristics of my work that are very “me” and that sort of all developed over a period of ten years or so. Artists like Dali, Ernie Barnes, MC Escher and Van Gogh inspired me but I’ve never tried to emulate their work. My style evolves as I experience the world around me. I am just as inspired by watching how reflections bounce around the surface of the ocean or seeing how light highlights the curves of a woman’s body.
As far as what are the most attractive elements, I love playing with light and really getting into the physics and feeling of light and how it travels throughout a scene. I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about color theory and traditional techniques but when I’m creating, it’s all about intuition and speaking with the paint fluently. I enjoy warping perspective and proportions to offer a new way of seeing the world.
Years and years of painting horribly and learning what not to do helped me find my niche. I often will keep an artists journal so that I can learn from mistakes and document lessons. When you learn as you go, eventually you narrow down on things that work. I think observing the world is my greatest teacher. When I visit museums I take note of what I like and don’t like and look for ways to implement those techniques in my own work. I studied the Old Masters and feel that knowing my craft really helps me express my vision.
My Artistic Process:
My process is intuitive, eclectic and at times quite messy. Every piece takes me down a different path with unique struggles and lessons.
Sometimes an idea will be brewing in the background processes of my mind for a long time before it’s ready for me to do anything with it. Other times an idea will hit me and I”ll immediately start it. Sometimes I do a lot of preliminary sketches so I can work out colors and composition. In other instances I just grab a brush and have at it from scratch with no plan nor sketches.
Ideas visit me at random times and places, so I just try to be aware and ready for when inspiration hits so I can humbly serve the creativity energy.
As for how long pieces take, it depends on the piece. If I’m doing a band tour poster with tight deadlines, I may take a few days or a week on a piece. If it’s a live painting on stage with a band, I’ll come up with a new painting from idea to finish in 90 minutes or less often totally improvised. If I’m working on a painting with no deadlines and it’s more of a passion piece then it’s pretty common for me to take 1–3 months on one painting.
The Inspiration of Surf and Skate:
I grew up near the beach and most of my circle of friends were all skaters, BMX’ers and surfers. I got my first skateboard when I was three-years-old and started surfing when I was 17, so the culture is part of who I am. My art is a natural expression of my adoration of the ocean. I studied Oceanography in school a bit and find both the physical and spiritual aspects of waves and energy to be immensely inspiring.
Some of my earlier surf paintings that gained attention were painted when I was living in Belmar, NJ, a beautiful beach town. I was surfing and skating a ton and was just painting what I knew best. I generally paint topics and visions that inspire and intrigue me. I have a pretty physically active lifestyle and draw inspiration from the activities that I spend time doing. I also love playing and listening to music. So when it comes down to it, I paint what I know and love.
Where My Work Has Been Featured:
I’ve been fortunate to have my work seen on TV in the US and Brazil, newspapers and international magazines and websites. I’ve been on tours with and/or collaborated with some amazing musicians and friends such as Slightly Stoopid, 311, G. Love, Donavon Frankenreiter, The Expendables, John Butler Trio, Citizen Cope, Paula Fuga, Mishka, Stephan Lessard from Dave Matthews Band and others. I’ve done freelance work for organizations like Billabong, SurfAid, Emergen-C, Original Skateboards, Riviera Skateboards and lots others.
What’s On Tap:
I’ve been working on a book for a couple years now and look forward to sharing that soon. I’m a proud dad of three kids, my daughter Summer is 4 and my identical twin boys Greyson and Judah just turned 3. My wife and I work from home and being a dad is by far my proudest role.
*featured quote is from Jay Alders ESPN interview
Catch Jay Alders on His West Coast Art Tour and Visit His Shop:
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