Friday, March 23, 2012

Featured Local Artist: Jules Buck Jones

Austin artist Jules Buck Jones mixes his media in East Austin and is a member of Boozefox, one of our favorite local art collectives.

 The natural world is a big part of your art - when and how did nature & art come together for you?

As a kid I drew a lot of monsters. Hybrid animals. I watched a lot of Godzilla and Voltron. A lot of this got pushed aside in my formative years, as I concentrated making images of other things. When I started grad school in 2005, I had a new interest in depicting animals and new ideas of what I could do with that.

I know mixed media is kind of your thing. What's your favorite medium/material at the moment?

I’ve been predominately making large scale drawings for the past several years now. The drawings used everything from graphite to acrylic. Lately I feel I have beat that over the head. Recently I have been playing with more sculptural, video and audio pieces. Something about making a million collages sounds really appealing to me right now.

"Felidae" by Jules Buck Jones

How did you end up in Austin? Why did you stay?

I moved here for graduate school in 2005 from Virginia. While I was in grad school I got some gallery representation around Texas and received some opportunities to show and work with local art institutions.  I got a small studio in a really awesome complex in East Austin called Monofonus where I work today.  Texas has been treating me right, and I feel if it ain't broke, why fix it?

What does the future hold for you and your art?

Oh, well, like I said I have been trying to branch out and work with an expanded toolbox of media. This is exciting for me as it presents all types of new avenues for the work to go down.  Where this will take me, who knows, but I am having a blast and I feel great knowing I am growing and learning new things as an artist.

"Canidae" by Jules Buck Jones

Tell us about your spirit animals.

I have 2. The hawk and the fox are my spirit animals. They serve different purposes. The hawk I see a lot and tells me of day to day things like love and work and friends. The fox I see less often and has bigger stories for me. More internal things about myself as well as external macro ideas of the cosmos and such. My hawk has been following a mountain lion lately. They can form a hybrid beast similar to a griffin. Seems pretty unstoppable.

Check back soon for another installment of Featured Local Artist

Customer Of The Month: Kathleen McElwaine

Kathleen McElwaine, a full-time local artist, has been shopping at Jerry’s Artarama of Austin since we opened in 2005. The staff of Jerry's thanks Kathleen for lighting up the store whenever she shops! 
Check out her work here!

How long have you been an artist?

            I think I was about 7 years old when my aunt & uncle handed me a notebook that said "ARTIST" on it and I decided that's who I was. (laughter) That's all there was to it, I didn't go back. And that's the truth! I started drawing and they gave me good pencils and a drawing pad and took me to a museum that had artists working and I sat on the floor and copied them. It was the first time in my life I stayed out of trouble, and people liked to have me around instead of wanting me to go away (laughter), and they always told me how nice it looked and what a good job I did and so I just kept repeating that until I believed it.

You recently retired to pursue art full-time, tell us about that and how it happened.

            More than anything else, I was getting so many opportunities with the little watercolor paintings that I had started doing during my commute to and from work, longhorns and flowers and little faces. With one marketing opportunity after another and the time that they took and they were all successful on one level, so it was time to give them all of my time. And that is a really exciting thing, but it's also scary because people start putting contracts in front of you - this afternoon I have an appointment with an attorney to start trying to figure out how to read some of this stuff and figure out which direction I'm going to go! And then also, I get to teach, because I have the time to, which is really probably my first love and the best part of all of this.

"Whimsical Longhorn" by Kathleen McElwaine
So how has your life changed since you’ve begun concentrating on art full-time?

            Well, I actually find less time to paint (laughter). That's the hardest thing and probably one of the biggest disappointments. But to be thinking in terms of pursuing my entire future based on art is so exciting, I look at every art supply as an investment - it's not "I'm going to try this, I'm going to try this, or this…" - I'm not doing that anymore, I’m figuring out just exactly what I connect with and I stay with it.
            And you know, the other thing, as an artist I have really had to leave the herd. I don't know a different way of putting it, I always wanted to be an artist just like everyone else I knew who was a successful artist and it just hadn't worked for me. I had to run out and figure something else out for myself. Like I was always told by people for years, “People don't go to restaurants to buy art,” you know, "I don't want to have an art show at a restaurant" but this spring I got a $600 check from a little coffee shop here in Austin, because of a show I put on there.  So it's figuring out what works and really trying it and giving it your very, very best. You never put work out there you're not proud of, and you stick with it and now it's paying off.

"The Champion" by Kathleen McElwaine

Tell us about the mediums you work with.

            I don't draw much anymore, everything starts with a paintbrush. Watercolor is my initial medium. As a child my teachers required anything I did in color first had to be done in watercolor and so I guess I did the original Artist Trading Card, I think, because we always took quality watercolor paper, tore it  - nobody ever got scissors out - just tore it into a small piece and did a thumbnail sketch of whatever you were going to do. And you kept doing them until you were happy with the composition and so I still do that. Or I do it again, because I  gave it up for years but when I started painting on the bus, that's what I started doing, those little thumbnail sketches. Then my medium of choice is oils. And what's interesting is with the time I have to paint, I have started doing all of my underpaintings in acrylic and so a lot of my watercolors are being taken into finished pastels and so I don't think I'm leaving much out there (laughter). Watercolor, pastels, acrylics and oils.
What's your favorite part about Jerry's?

            Oh, I love Jerry's. I shopped at Jerry's online before I lived in a town that had one. My favorite part about Jerry's, I have to say are the people. Y'all have let me stop people in the aisle and make recommendations to them and y'all have let me teach, y'all have let me do demonstrations. I like the way that most of you have tried so many brands and I can ask you questions and find the experts on the new ones. I like Lukas paints - I like the artist grade Lukas paints and if y'all hadn't been here, I would have never tried it. But I really just have to keep going back to the people!

Check back soon for another installment of Customer of the Month from Jerry's Austin!