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Malaysian Artist Profile: Jeff Jansen

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A graphic designer, illustrator, then a landscape designer turned full-time artist since 2008, Jeff Jansen recently spoke with me about his impressively budding art career.

When he finished high school, Jeff worked for over a decade in the creative industry as an illustrator and graphic designer. Painting was his passion, although he could only afford to do it as a pastime. However, he had one major advantage over other painting hobbyists. It was the time and opportunity he was able to spend with pioneering Malaysian artist Mr. Chia Yu Chian at his studios, where he received instruction. Jeff then took a sabbatical (at age 39) and enrolled as a student of Graphic Design in Perth, Western Australia, which he tells me was more as a time to rejuvenate mind and body than to update his graphic designer skills.

After three years, Jansen graduated and went to Singapore where he worked at a number of top advertising firms for about nine years. During his last two years in Singapore, he attended evening courses at the Singapore Botanic Gardens’ School of Horticulture. After graduating, he immediately agreed to join one of Singapore’s premier landscape companies where he found he loved the work and creative challenges.

A tempting landscaping job offer on Penang Hill brought Jeff back to Malaysia, but he decided that instead of working for someone else, he would find a business partner to form a landscape design firm. He was still painting on the side and gradually started to exhibit his painting at the local landmark A2 Art Gallery. This was when he decided to fully concentrate on doing annual exhibitions with the gallery.

However, he fully intended to appease his love of working with flora, fauna, and landscaping as subjects for his paintings.

His horticultural background dictated that his favourite subjects to paint are semi-abstracts of natural forms. His observation of flora and nature easily flows onto his canvases in a myriad of colour and movement, the layers of colours creating depth and interest. He prefers oils and acrylics, sometimes mixing them because of their bold and vibrant colours on canvas.

He tells me emphatically, “My choice of subjects will not possibly change as I am amazed by the myriad of colours and forms in nature and how it is all so naturally arranged to create so much beauty in our lives.”

When asked about what art styles he liked to best utilize and embody, he replied, “My style of work ranges from realism to semi-abstract. I approach the framed canvas with only ideas and memories of plants and landscapes I have observed. I allow my brushes and colours to be controlled by my mind and mood and in spontaneous brushstrokes. My greatest pleasure and satisfaction comes from being able to move and delight people who see my paintings.”

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Although seven years is not a long time in the career of a professional artist, I think it speaks to his innate talent that his works have been collected by local and international art lovers from many different countries.

Jeff has held several joint exhibitions and a solo titled “Green Conversations” in 2011. Even with being a late starter in fine arts canvas painting, through his natural talent and hard work, Jeff has obviously clarified his techniques and done a lot of experimenting with different media and colours, and his evolution as an artist is apparent when one compares his 2006 work with his current efforts.

If you are interested in learning more about this artist, please contact me at [email protected].

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Source: The Expat March 2013

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