Jade Doreen Waller is a skilled, Cape Town based visual artist who uses oil and spray paint to create her paintings. With an affinity for skulls, Waller’s work has evolved over the years into highly-detailed artworks, blending dark moods and dream-like images into fascinating pieces. For her new body of work, she engages with her canvas like a visual thought bubble, resulting in an enchanting collage with an explosion of colour.
We spoke to her about her creative process, graffiti influence, and upcoming solo exhibition in London.
Please introduce yourself.
I am an artist based in Cape Town, practicing within the interdisciplinary visual art division. I keep within the urban contemporary art scene where painting and sculpture are my chosen mediums. I exhibit regularly, aiming to continue the growth of my artist identity. I work on many different ongoing projects which branch not only into the “art world”, but also the fashion industry, public/community work (painting & installation), and illustration.
How would you describe your work?
My work has evolved quite dramatically over the past few years so it is difficult to describe it all in a nutshell. From about 2013, my work took a major turn as I became more inspired by our mix of urban visual culture. My most recent work (which will be shown in London in July) is probably the easiest to describe. This new body of work, entitled Overload, describes excessiveness and randomness. The process has become immediate rather than pre-meditated and is symptomatic of an “information overload” pertaining to the nature of how we currently exist, as well as my own perception of my surroundings, and how I process this “overload” in my own mind.
These artworks have sort of become self-portraits of my mind, and of the way I think and perceive. These paintings appear as clusters made up of totally random objects/ideas capturing my private cerebral conversations, offering a crystal clear reflection of the transient and accumulative symbols of our urban existence.
Explain your process when it comes to painting a new piece.
Imagine sitting for a moment trying to pinpoint exactly what it is you are thinking about. For me, there are always hundreds of images and thoughts darting around. Instead of pre-planning a painting, I will sit in front of it and literally begin constructing it by putting down the very image I just thought of. I continue to construct the painting in this way until the canvas is full. I create the works almost as fast as I think of the images/ideas, allowing me to capture a particular thought process. I do not consider the ‘meaning’ of a particular image or whether it makes sense to be there. So, by the time I have completed a painting, I have literally included what was happening in my own mind at that time. I have become able to paint extremely fast in that I can construct/document a particular thought process, however long or short, translating these thoughts and ideas into something visual.
You often feature elements of graffiti in your work. What role has graffiti art played in your life and artistic approach?
Graffiti has played a major role in my life. Not from the point where I paint graffiti, but rather the culture it comes from. I admire the process and its relevance to current societies around the world. Other than its visual appeal, which I find inspiring, I am drawn to how it connects people and has its own unique form or method of delivering freedom of speech.
Have you ever tried to paint graffiti on the street?
I have painted a few times, but not recently. I gravitated more towards my fine art work which has become a full time career. I try to include hints or elements of graffiti in my paintings.
Does your work reflect your personality?
Do you have a meaning behind your work? Do you try to bring out anything in your work?
Yes, there is a lot of meaning behind my work – especially my most recent work. There is a lot to explain though. Perhaps I answered this question briefly in my previous answers.
Tell me more about your upcoming solo show in London.
I have created an entirely new body of work. It is very different from what I have done before, and is a ‘style’ that I’m going to continue with. I was introduced to Graffik Gallery through 34 Fine Art Gallery, where I was invited to do this solo exhibition. We all felt that this particular body of work has become my strongest work and that London would be the perfect place to introduce it.
What else are you interested in?
Many things. To name a few; I am interested in psychology, tattooing, and collecting sneakers. I am interested in special effects as I used to work as a sculptor and prosthetic artist for the movie industry. Also, teaching art, although I don’t work as a lecturer anymore. The list could go on.
Do you have any other exciting plans for the rest of this year?
I do. I have several exciting projects coming up for when I return from London, as well as exhibitions lined up, including The Cape Town Art Fair and a solo show in Cape Town for next year (2015).
More info about her upcoming solo exhibition in London HERE.