Briefly describe the work do you do.
My work is primarily acrylic collage integrating Asian papers and foreign script calligraphy (Russian, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, etc.) in works exploring the design concepts of texture, color and rhythm. I paint detailed negative space to create the landscapes and incorporate image transfers to balance the design, and I carry the paintings around the sides of gallery wrap canvases.
At what point in your life did you decide to become an artist?
At 12 years old I attended a class at the Cincinnati Art Conservatory and wandering the museum on my own every weekend firmly planted the seed of art in me. Plus my Father, while a successful executive continued to do pen and ink works every year for our holiday cards, so I witnessed a continuous example of artistic resolve and commitment that has influenced me to this day.
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.
An intellectual and a well traveled business person, I take every available opportunity to visit museums and galleries around the world, where one can find gems like the impressionist paintings in the Gothenburg Sweden museum, all of which I had never previously seen, or the eerie work of H.R. Giger in its idyllic Swiss valley. I love art history. And I pickup foreign language press everywhere I go, which often appears in my collaged work.
What types of conceptual concerns are present in your work? How do those relate to the specific process(es) or media you use?
I am primarily interested in the exact moment when a viewer perceives the image is not a “picture” but a carefully crafted construct of component parts, shreds of paper and splashes of paint—from across the room it looks like a landscape, but as one approaches, the image suddenly becomes mysterious writing and fibers and paint. All those elements make the painting an image worth exploring, and I want the layers and “surprises” to intrigue for many years. In order to craft these images, my process involves many layers of paint, collage, various mediums, scraps of cloth and thread, abstract expressionistic splashes, scrapes and pours, etc., as many as 20 to 30 layers in a finished work.
We once heard Chuck Close say he did not believe in being inspired, rather in working hard everyday. What motivates you in your studio practice?
As each piece is painted in layers, my process involves allowing drying time for each consecutive layer and I usually have 5 to 10 works underway at any given time. Because the process needs continuous layers to move through its “ugly stage” to a finished work, I am constantly drawn to the “next step” and a partially completed piece may sit for months awaiting the final layers. Seeing the half completed works supplies motivation every morning… Also, this quote hangs in my studio: “A man who is excellent at making excuses is seldom good at anything else.” Benjamin Franklin
When artists living or non-living influence your work?
Departed: Pissarro, the Fauves, Picasso, de Koonig, Ad Reinhart and Edward Betts
Contemporary: Gerald Brommer, Katherine Chang Liu
When you are not making art what types of activities and interests do you engage in?
I am very involved in the local arts scene as well as the local community, fund raising for art installations and community beautification. When I have time, I write short stories and poetry, and play musical instruments.
About Jay Batista
- Education: BA, Miami University; MA, Ohio University
- Jury inducted member, League of Milwaukee Artists, Board of Directors 2011 to 2014
- Elected Member, Public Arts Board, Grafton, WI 2011 to 2014
- Member, Cedarburg Artist Guild, 2011 to 2014
- Works in private collections in 12 states and Europe
- The 510 Gallery, Dayton, OH
- The Sadler Gallery, Milwaukee, WI
- The Cedarburg Art Museum gift shop, Cedarburg, WI
10/1999 Art Guild Annual Show, Nashua, NH
11/2010 Show: “Hedgerows,” 510 Gallery, Dayton, OH
2/2012 League of Milwaukee Artists Spring 2012 Show, Milwaukee, WI
9/2012 League of Milwaukee Artists Fall 2012 Show, Hartford, WI
7/2012 Show: “Landscapes,” 510 Gallery, Dayton, OH
12/2012 Members Show, Cedarburg Cultural Center, Cedarburg, WI
1/2013 League of Milwaukee Artists 2013 Spring Show, Cardinal Stritch University Gallery, Milwaukee, WI
8/2013 Cedarburg Art Guild Juried Members Show, Cedarburg, WI
9/2013 Gallery Night & Day Featured Artist, “New Works in Acrylic Collage,” Sadler Gallery, Milwaukee, WI
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.