Interview: William Jefferson
Luca Curci talks with William Jefferson during the 10th Edition of CONTEMPORARY VENICE 2022, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.
“During my so years of painting, I have used the following mediums: pastel (on canvas), ink, oil, acrylic, enamel (on plexiglass), and both underglaze and onglaze ceramic. I have served hundreds of happy clients. I personally take pride in the quality of my craftsmanship and believe in building long term relationships with clients, emphasizing quality, honesty, and reliability as my credos. Fifty years of experience as an artist, both fine and commercial, have taught me the importance of clear communication being essential in developing any project. I enjoy my work and look forward to working with clients. In my most recent work, I begin by building up the surface with a gesso-acrylic combination before switching over to oil.”
Luca Curci – What are you currently working on?
William Jefferson – I am currently doing another urban landscape, and then plan to do one of my “meat” paintings. Many years ago I created a series of sculptures made out of raw meat I obtained from a meat packing company located just down the street from the warehouse where I then lived. I worked inside of their freezer and then drew my sculptures when they were finished, omitting all the props and rope used to build them. The sculptures would then truly come alive. I did this for two years, and still, use the drawings as material for new paintings. I excluded any of these paintings from the photos I sent because the newest series is still unfinished and not ready to show. The most recent example, is shown below: “Crucifixion”. Oil. 40” x 40”
LC – Which is the role the artist plays in society? And contemporary art?
WJ – Artists are the truthtellers, which often makes them unpopular. But commercial art, where artists do other people’s art for them, also has its values, along with other art forms such as interior decoration. One of the purposes of these disciplines is to make life more pleasant and sustainable. I often see my art as giving people peace and mental comfort. I think that desire too, goes with age; angst is for the young before they have suffered very much.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
WJ – The main challenge in creativity is to listen to yourself and be true to your gut. This also gets easier as you get older (I’m 73).
LC – How is your creative process?
WJ – In the early 1970’s I began drawing, all the time, everywhere I was. I was going to the San Francisco Art Institute at the time, and my teachers were not pleased; they had me thrown out of the school. San Francisco at that time presented an incredible assortment of colorful imagery, and I revelled in it. After a dozen years or so I began to use photography as a tool to record images that only lasted for seconds, for example, a man exiting a building through revolving glass doors. Nowadays I use my smartphone, taking advantage of the ability it gives me to (radically) edit my photos. I then edit again when I move on to the painting. For example, the painting “Snow White in Time Square” has little to do with the original photos, with my imagination filling many gaps.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you?
WJ – To be honest, what inspired me was the chance to show my work to a European audience in Venice. Much of the wording of the question means little to me. For example the phrase “to perceive the surrounding reality”. To me the surrounding reality is not even real; perhaps I am searching for hints of what lies below the mirage that “reality” presents to me.
LC – We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the exhibition or as a part of preexisting works?
WJ – Every painting I do is part of a series. I am currently working on two: my urban landscapes and my meat paintings. I just picked paintings for the show that I thought would be appropriate.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
WJ – I enjoyed cooperating with Amaride and others at Itsliquid and very much hope to do so again in the future.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
WJ – I think the Itsliquid platform is great and offers me ways to exhibit and share my work which I otherwise would not have.
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
WJ – From what I can tell from the press release, the Venice show is spectacular. I really hope that in the future I can attend an Itsliquid event.