Find A Subject, Find A Style - Interview With Jay Pingree

Find A Subject, Find A Style - Interview With Jay Pingree

As a fellow New Yorker, I was captivated by Jay Pingrees paintings. What stood out most you ask? The subject matter.


Some artists struggle to find something that makes them different. Luckily we have artists like Jay that teach us that developing a style isn't so black and white.
Lets dive in!


Jays Subject Matter: I use my own photographs of figures in motion. I have yet to tire of this subject matter. My photos inform my paintings and my paintings inform my photos.


This has been a trend. I enjoy what happens when I leave the shutter open on my camera. I then enjoy trying to interpret that onto a canvas with paint.



But then with ideas of how I want my figures to appear on the canvas I go back and alter my shooting to try to achieve that effect. 

Importance Of Dedication
Moving to NYC in 2001 definitely shaped me and my work. Hordes of figures in motion - the epitome of city life - has become my primary subject matter. I think there is real beauty in it. I've certainly been stuck on several occasions and questioned whether the struggle to advance as an artist was worth it. I always had a 40-hour-a-week job and never felt like I had the time or energy to put all I had into my painting. Until last year when I quit my job. For the first time in my life I had a good chunk of time to dedicate to painting. I have always yearned to further develop and evolve my craft. I could not be happier with where my work is today since going all in. I was able to play and explore, and therefore evolve. I have more time now, than the last 10 years. This confirms that if you want to excel and grow in any craft/practice/venture, you need to give it everything you have.
What Was Hardest In Your Development? 
To let things happen, to release control. Accepting and understanding that not being in control is the best way for me to paint. This is paramount for me and my work, and something I'm still learning how to do.


It's normal for artists who don't have a style of their own to feel threatened by other artists. The same goes for artists who have developed a style but haven't had it very long. Have you ever felt threatened by artists?

Jay says: "I don't remember a specific moment but I seem to have always been praised for what I drew or painted. This definitely encouraged me along the way and likely contributed to me calling myself an artist early on. But, I don't remember ever feeling "threatened" by other artists - only inspired by them."


Earlier Work
I've been drawing since before my memories started forming. I started painting seriously in my early 20s. Below is a very early painting of a entirely fabricated subway scene.



 I Paint Abstract Realism: My figures are proportional and based in reality, just painted truncated, abbreviated, pushed and pulled.



Is Your Work Displayed? 
My artwork is displayed at Nordic Art Agency in Malmö, Sweden. NAA is an omni-channel agency that exposes my work to a variety of audiences and on their gallery walls in Malmö.  



My work is also at The Soden Collection in Shrewsbury, UK & I sell my work on my website as well as direct through Instagram
Main Tools Used
  • Flat brushes and my fingers.
Key Takeaways:
  • Paint in ways that make you happy.  
  • Find a subject matter that is fulfilling.
  • Do it for your own reasons, not anyone else's.
  • Emulate artists but don't copy 100% when trying to develop a style.
  • Remember you can use subjects to leverage your painting style.
  • Dedication will move you toward your goal/s.


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