Self Discovery and Spirituality
Authentic, hardworking and dedicated, Jared Fountain is a contemporary painter based in small regional Queensland town, Dalby. His work comes from his soul and he has put much care and attention into his process as an artist, he is currently working on a brand new series of works, which are soon to be released and shown throughout Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. He is also a recent award winner for his self portrait at the ‘Myself’ Self Portraiture Awards.
Get to know Jared:
What progression has your arts practice taken since studying a Bachelor of Creative Arts? ~ I think my work has progressed in the sense that I have decided to take the time to really try and teach myself the fundamentals of oil painting and the simple yet incredibly important technical skills that you simply just don't learn at a university these days. Things like how to glaze, layering, alla prima and grisaille - etc, it has definitely taken me a long time to experiment with all of these traditional methods as I have not had anyone teaching me but rather I do my research and just stick at it, and now I am finally really starting to see the benefits of doing so, but it definitely takes time and patience to learn these things and they aren’t all that easy either.
What is your work about? ~ My work is about many things but primarily its about self discovery and spirituality. I think the reason for that is simply that my instinct to make artwork generally comes from that place within me that is seeking to gain more understanding, so when I am inspired to make a piece, the making and process behind the artwork helps me express any kind of deep feelings and thoughts on a subject that generally are hidden from my conscious mind, so making a painting helps me externalise things and then look at them and try and understand them. Quite often I dont understand the meaning behind a piece until some time after its finished, thats why art to me is always fresh and exciting because its about discovery and adventure, plumbing the depths of the human condition.
Are you working towards any projects/exhibitions at the moment? ~ Yes I am currently working away at a series of paintings that are probably my most ambitious project to date, however I have decided to spend the entirety of 2018 in the studio so as to give myself the time and space to really dedicate myself to making the best series of paintings that I'm capable of making, therefore I won’t be showing any of these new pieces until next year. This is the first time that I have really ever decided to do something like this, up until this year I have been showing regularly and just pumping out a lot of work and that is definitely a good thing, but it’s also easy to get burnt out and then your work suffers as a result. So I made a conscious descision this year to ease my burden in that sense and commit rather to making a bunch of really good paintings that I can truly be proud of.
How often do you paint and do you have a routine? ~ I will generally paint every day however there are some weeks where I do take several days off, just so that I can let the pieces breathe and its also good to give things a rest and when you come back to them often you find that you can solve any of the problems really easily and you just feel refreshed and eager to paint, I think that’s important. My studio routine is pretty relaxed but I will usually try to start the day off with sketches or collages or simply just soaking up some ideas and inspiration which then fuels my painting which will often be from after lunch through until night and depending upon how much I have to do, I will continue into the night until I get too tired. Oil painting can be a lot of work!
You gained representation in 2015, what was that experience like and did it open more doors of opportunity for you? ~ Yes I did, and I have also subsequently decided to leave the gallery earlier last year due to a general disagreement between us, I felt as though I really wanted to pursue this new route in my work and it just wasn’t something that they wanted to be a part of. That said I am very happy now being independent and truly able to stand in my integrity as a painter, it’s important to me that my work is honest and that it genuinely reflects the thoughts and feelings that are unique to myself and I simply cannot be an artist unless what I am producing is the real deal and comes from the heart so it was just necessary for me to go independent again, but there’s no hard feelings at all. With regards to opening doors of opportunity I'd have to say that it definitely helped me to meet some wonderful people, and representation does seem to give you a little extra credibility in the eyes of some people, however knowing what I know now its not that relevant, the work is all that really matters in the end, if your work is good thats all the credibility you need, and if your passionate, dedicated and hard working then you can make opportunities for yourself regardless.
What does success mean to you? ~ Success to me as a painter now is quite simple, if I can make the work that I genuinally want to make, that comes from the soul, and get it out to those who'd wish to see it, to those who truly love art, and to be able to simply pay my bills, rent - etc and have a life from the fruits of my work, that I would consider success. I think it’s pretty easy to get swept up in a bit of a popularity contest, or to think that being represented is the mark of a successful artist but after gaining that I came to realise that those things weren't necessarily what I thought they were. I’m sure if you get represented by the right gallery, and they are truly behind your process, then that would be awesome, but at the end of the day you have to be happy with yourself and if you compromise too much you stand to risk losing the very thing that you may have started making art for in the first place, so that’s why I think a big part of success for me now as a painter is not so much to do with money or fame or any of that but rather producing work that has integrity and that pleases you first and foremost.
What or who is your biggest inspiration? ~ I'm inspired quite often by the fashion world and all the marvellous creations that pour forth from it, it also seems like such a foreign world to me since I have grown up in regional Queensland, Australia and spent most of my time around the rough, tough working class; the fashion world, the runway - etc, all just seems so bizarre in comparison so it never fails to get my attention. Of course there are other contemporary painters primarily such as Odd Nerdrum who is really the master of our time, also Vincent Desiderio another contemporary painter, and then there are just the people I know in person around the country and more locally such as yourself (Chantel Schott) and Grace Dewar, Kirsty Lee, Darcy Campbell, Katy Woods, Dan Elbourne, David Usher, Kyle Jenkins, Ian McCallum and many more, all of these Toowoomba artists are great people and have each contributed into making Toowoomba and the Darling Downs a really unique and vibrant interesting place on the map, I wish more people from around the country would kinda hurry up and realize just how special a place Toowoomba is and it’s going to get better in my opinion. I also must mention that I take a lot of inspiration from unique individuals in Sydney such as Jodee Knowles who is an artist and who also has her own fashion label called Father Superior, and that whole scene down in Sydney with people like Estelita Huijer too, it seems to be a really original group of fashionista's and artists and is really interesting to watch online.
Where can people find you/your work online? ~ You can find me on Intsagram @artistjaredfountain and I have a blog/website www.artistjaredfountain.wordpress.com.
I will be updating both of these platforms soon, however my Instagram is where you will find more regular updates and studio snapshots.
What has been the most rewarding moment you have had from the creation of your art? ~ The most rewarding thing so far would have to be the recognition my work has received both from people on the other side of the country or even overseas, and also from other artists whom I admire, that is always a real treat to have someone who is very successful for their own art platform recognise your work and pay it a compliment, that’s a great honour. Also getting third place for my self portrait last year at the 'Myself' Self Portraiture Award was really special.
Do you have other interests and do these ever intersect with your arts practice? ~ Yes I have many other interests and usually most of them will at one point become intermeshed with my practice, I love music and reading, I like to research a lot of esoteric topics and those things I generally do feed back into my artwork, things such as symbols and different mythical stories or ideas.