Jansson Stegner - Sorry We're Closed
I have always been interested in figurative art that is grounded in realism yet isn't confined by its rules, and takes great expressive liberties with the human form. When I was a teenager, I wanted to be a comic book artist. I liked the over the top subjects and styles of the medium. The extreme simplification – things are reduced to their most essential elements. And then the essential elements are exaggerated.
As I got into painting and studied art history, I found myself attracted to works by artists who pushed the boundaries of the human form in a more expressive and interesting manner than the comic books I had been looking at previously.
These artists span different movements and eras, and I casually refer to their work with the catch-all term "Weird Figuration". Schiele, Dix, Grosz, Balthus, El Greco, Ingres, Ensor, and Alice Neel are but a few of them. I like to think of my work as a continuation of this long-running tradition and, hopefully, adding something new to it.
My paintings are typically not portraits of actual individuals. I often have specific characteristics I want the figure to have and it can be difficult to find a person who embodies all of them so I usually use a combination of different people. Instead of looking at an individual and trying to capture their essential qualities in a representation, I start with my own ideas of what I want the figure to feel like and then take bits and pieces from different sources to construct what I am after. In that way, I guess my paintings are the opposite of portraits. They are not a reflection of reality, but a suggestion of what reality could be.