Artists have the common theme of carrying their craft throughout their life. Starting young and refining as the years go by. Why painting? What drove you to pick up a brush?
As long as I can remember I have been enamored by design, fine art, architecture, music, fashion and nature. I knew I always wanted to touch people in a very personal way so I set my sights on becoming a reconstructive surgeon. A few years into the pre-med major I was struggling and took a drawing one class to elevate my mind. It all fell into place after that, and there was no looking back. The moment I sat down in a circle and starting drawing still lifes, I knew I had been fighting my calling the whole time. I still felt the same determination to uplift others. I feel in fine art I am fulfilling this calling.
All of your work is stunning, but your recent bird watercolors caught our eye. They’re beautiful in their simplicity. What sparked this series?
I grew up in a very unique natural environment and was constantly surrounded by the most stunning low country marsh views. I was usually barefoot in the coastal South Carolina mud catching fiddler crabs, fishing, climbing trees and of course totally infatuated with animals. I found the perfect escape from reality in my explorations of Lost Island. Since I was a child I have been captivated by the simplistic palette, fluid lines, ever changing repetitious patterns and elegant beauty of our natural environment. In college, when it was time for me to start a series in watercolor the subject came to me right away. I pulled inspirations from my southern roots and got started on my first bird series. It led to a chicken series which led to so many other animals in watercolor. When I started, I really got into how much its properties paralleled nature. I still feel the same way.
Is that what a lot of your work is? This bridge with nostalgia?
Most of my watercolor work is either birds, animals, landscapes, or abstract. These works are absolutely nostalgic. In oil on canvas works, I am fully expressing myself and the inspiration for these works comes from everywhere. My ink on yupo works are filled with lighthearted exploration of an exciting medium and color theory. Each medium holds a special place within. I am in one of the most happy and euphoric places when creating.
What do you hope to convey through your pieces?
My hope is that people can connect with my art. Whether it be a an image that makes them happy, a composition they get excited about or maybe its just the color or mood of the work that compels a conversation. My hope is that my work sparks something within the viewer, feelings, memories, inspiration, experiences etcetera.
Who are some of your influences?
I look to the abstract expressionism movement and the artists birthed from that awakening as some of my greatest influence. First and foremost Helen Frankenthaler, Mark Rothko, Franz Kline, and Robert Motherwell. I also had the complete privilege to work under the guidance of a few local masters. Paul Ladnier and Jim Draper pushed me and my work to new hights. Jakob Gasteiger and Jenny Saville are also artist I frequently view. I am deeply touched by photography, sculpture, ceramics, architecture, music and textiles. I recently completed four abstracts that were solely inspired by the incredible Tory Burch.
What’s your biggest take away from them?
I would say one of the most consistent take aways from my influencers that I apply is experimentation and exploration. To get out of my own way. Stay out of my head and to not overthink work or else it will look very much overthought. To not be afraid of making mistakes, taking ricks, breaking rules, discovering, and falling in love with the results of it all.
What’s next for Jennifer Lail?
The future is exciting. I have been very grateful for the projects I have been working on lately and hope more continue. As far as the direction of my work I am staying open minded. I would love to see my contemporary abstracts grow and travel.