Painter Jennybird Alcantara is best known for minutely detailed oil paintings filled with a symbolism that draw the viewer deeply into a world both strange and beautiful. At its core her work has a dreamlike narrative that emanates from a central figure, encouraging us to contemplate the complex interconnectedness of opposites as seen through the prism of myth, fable and fantasy.
She took some time from working on her upcoming solo show at Varnish Fine Art, Creatures of Saintly Disguise (June 9-July 28, 2012) to answer a slew of questions about the ever unfolding universe of characters and symbols emerging from her brush.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I did art as a kid, like everybody does art as a kid. Officially I’d say, when I made this kind of announcement in my head that I didn’t want to be a veterinarian anymore, was probably around 11 or 12 years old. I didn't really know what being an “artist” meant, but I knew it was something I really enjoyed, that I was good at it and that I got praise for it from my parents.
My mom and her best friend were crafters. They would make cradles and sell them at these craft fairs and I’d paint the little teddy bear scenes on the front of the cradle. My friend Sheri and I started making little clay teddy bear dolls and little sculpted teddy bears in chairs and things and they let us have a little section of the booth. So from the time I was a kid I was always doing arts and crafts kind of stuff. It would be fun to find one of those cradles, "The first Jennybird sale!"
|Struggle in the Garden of the Porcelain Queen 2009|
Oil on Wood
40 x 60" (diptych)