We long for the past, and yearn for the future and I'm usually stuck somewhere between these two states. Lately I've been wanting the future. The future where I'm successful, the future where I am fully actualized, the future where I can judge from experience and know just what it is that I am doing.
I've been working on getting my art career going. After art school I didn't really do much of anything for about two years aside make lattes and wait tables. Since moving to Austin I've sense picked up the brush again and started painting more. At first I thought it was because I was newly inspired by the city, now I think it was my way of coping. It became a way to exclude myself from all the noise and drama. I feel a sense of stillness similar to mediation when I paint.
The thing most people remark on when they see my work is how detailed it is. Honestly, I don't believe that I could paint any other way. I need those tiny dots to get lost in. I need to spend over 20 hours on a 12" painting for me to feel invested in it. When someone sees my paintings, it is my goal for them to get as close to it as possible. Large works forces you to step away to take it all in, while smaller works forces the viewer to step close to appreciate. Because my work focuses on nature and its actual shrinking, I also feel it fitting to make smaller works as it makes them less valuable than large works, but also more precious.
When I studied in Ireland in 2008, artist Alice Maher (whom I greatly, greatly admire) said that I was a sentimental artist. At the time I didn't know how to take it. I was having a hard time in school, finding my voice and sentimentality didn't seem as interesting as cynicism. Now I think sentimentalists are needed. We need protectors who hold on to the small precious things.
I grew up in Alaska, and I believe that this has formed my opinions on the importance of the loss of nature. On family outings and field trips in school, we would often go to glaciers, most often Portage Glacier. When I was a child, you could easily view the glacier from the viewing platform. It was close enough to feel as if you could jump to it. Now to view the glacier you have to take a boat to see it.
We long for the past when it stops being assessable to us.
Kelsey Jenkinson is a 27 year old artist in currently living and working in Austin, Texas.