Isn’t the saying beauty is in the eye of the beholder? I think that statement isn’t necessarily that cut and dry. There is some art that is undeniably beautiful, as is the case with some well known artists. I think what’s in the eye of the beholder, is the depth that a piece touches you. The emotion that a work or body of work evokes is often unique to each individual that experiences that artists work. JC Jacinto’s works in his words “are deeply rooted and concentrated on his intended concept,” but readily admits that the emotional effects of his works are out of his hands. His intentions are not to try to invoke a specific kind of emotion. Instead they are intended to push the viewer into questioning the connections between the concept and themselves. He rather wants his “artworks to serve as some sort of door so the viewer can learn more about his specified topic in the series.” He does so by trying use powerful imagery to draw you in at first glance. Art in its purist form is not given a label or a category, but rather enjoyed and appreciated for what it is. For him “concept is everything…” As it should be when trying to communicate something. The mystery, rawness and aggression are devices used to get the attention of the viewer, but are always deeply connected to his concept. Beauty is beauty no matter who appreciates it. That’s just our opinion, and you know what they say about opinions…
Today we are talking with JC Jacinto, an amazing Filipino artist who seems to enjoy letting his work speaks for itself. He has what to me I can only explain as a unique eye for detail, and a tireless drive to create consistently powerful pieces. For me when I first came across his work I was very impressed with the elements of hyper realism mixed with aspects of the abstract. I was captivated by his work because of the way the subject matter was captured. They say some art speaks to you. Well JC’s work definitely did to me. Which is why I’m so excited to have the chance to do this q&a with him. I hope you enjoy his work as much as I do. Let’s get to it then…
What first got you into art, and painting?
My very first memory was of me drawing circles on a piece of paper over and over again. There was never a turning point or a transition period where I decided I want to create Art. I just kept doing it.
I feel there’s a lot emotion in your work. At first glance it could be looked at as dark, but I see more hopefulness in it. Is that the intended message in your work?
No that’s not an intended message, the way you see it says more about yourself don’t you think? I’m not trying to make a viewer feel a specific kind of emotion, I can try and make an artwork look powerful, but I have no power over what people may feel about it. It is easy to interpret mystery and rawness as emotions because it automatically evokes a reaction whatever it may be, those reactions are more like introductions, after that it’s time to get to know the artwork more, the reaction is not the goal. Even the darkness that viewers usually take note of, I don’t make them dark because I want to express something gloomy, they look that way simply because that’s how I paint, I also don’t impregnate my pieces with meanings but I use methods that may push the viewer to learn more and see beyond the surface. I enjoy the open-endedness of things, I don’t want to preach something but I want people to ask the same questions I ask.
My pieces don’t provide answers, they are doors that open to the real concerns I want to talk about.
How big of a part does your Filipino heritage play in your work?
I am a Filipino, and I am an artist. Does my work attempt to address the issues of being a Filipino? No. Am I forged and influenced by my environment which is the Philippines? Of course.
Who were your biggest artistic influences?
I won’t mention names, because I really can’t. This is not only about the artists I admire, sometimes I’m even heavily influenced by the artworks or artists I personally despise. I do have favorites, but I love their works as an audience, I like being a fan to other artists.
There’s a kind of familiarity in your work. Is that intentional?
Do you mean familiarity with other pieces done by other artists? No, not intentional, and that’s something most, if not all artists can’t avoid.
What are some challenges you’ve faced in gaining ground artistically?
Mostly the phase where I was struggling to really know myself as an artist. For so many years it was all about trial and error, the immaturity resonated more because even if I was driven, my mind hasn’t reached that state where I can analyze my strengths and weaknesses and work on them.
I then discovered and accepted the fact that my weaknesses as an artist, are the ones I can actually utilize and take advantage of.
Where do some of your inspirations come from?
When I try to communicate something using Art, it is always about the human condition. My sources are so varied I can’t possibly tell you a straight answer. You can pull an idea out of anything, as in everything you see, hear, feel, taste, all the things you experience and all the things you will never experience. The trick is you need to be ready or be trained to see things beyond what they really are, acknowledge the interconnectedness of all matters so your mind can freely roam through all those connections until you hit a spot or a corner where your psyche can dwell on that place for a while, at least long enough for you to create and finish Art while being in that space.
You have a very diverse body of work. Is there a common theme present in that work, or is each piece different?
That’s something hard for me to fully grasp. I don’t have a formula that intends to tie all of them together visually but I have my own ways of approaching the art making process. I consider this approach as my “voice”, if there’s a commonality between my pieces they all exist in the process, all my pieces suffered, died and revived during this period. I was never comfortable with planning all the steps before I take it, I decide as I go along that’s why there’s a sense of spontaneity in most of the paintings. Cheesy or not, I can’t stop being a romantic.
All my works are participants or characters that morph depending on the series concept they fall under, they all serve a purpose, the purposes are varied, if one piece is created particularly for this or that exhibition then that piece serves as a conduit to communicate the intended purpose of that show, along with all the other artworks present in that group.
I never concern myself with having “regular” imagery just to create an identity. I never had problems with consistency, not because I am consciously making Art that can look good side by side, but because I believe that I am simply being honest with what I do, somehow even if the works may seem varied people can still see “me” in them. I hate copying myself, so I just let the present idea direct me on what to do next.
With so many publications and artists with work out does it ever seem overwhelming? Do the demands of the industry ever get in the way of your creative flow?
I don’t think so, I love the pressure and I like being overwhelmed. I work nonstop anyway, I put myself in that position with or without the “demands”. Sometimes you just have to stop giving a fuck about the whole industry, when there’s noise everywhere the best thing to do is stay silent, shut it out completely and try to hear yourself instead.
I guess a better question is how do you balance all the demands of the craft? Or is it a labor of love?
Time management is a big deal for me, I plan my steps a year or more before an exhibition and I always start early so I’ll have ample time to fail over and over again until I finally reach a stage where me and the artworks experienced and exhausted all possibilities. As you can see, me and my pieces, I want us to go through a lot so yes, it is a labor of love, and hate.
Any advice for other artist.?
Listen to yourselves, your voice as an artist will be heard if it is sincere. See and experience Art as much as you can and allow yourself to be influenced. Relish your struggles, if you are getting too comfortable with what you’re doing then you might have adapted to living inside a box you created, burn down that box and wander off again.