Good talked to abstract artist Jen Sievers about her inspirations and beautiful range of abstract artworks.
Interview Natalie Cyra. Hero image Sarah Starkey.
How long have you been an artist?
This question has two answers. The first one is: Since I knew how to pick up a pencil. I drew obsessively as a child, and declared from an early age that I’d be an artist when I grew up. I studied, and dropped out of, fine arts at uni – replacing it with a more practical pursuit – graphic design. Weirdly though, something was missing for ages. Over 15 years of being a graphic designer I painted on and off (mostly off), a move to the Waitakeres made me explode with inspiration, and I started painting again. A lot. That was two and a half years ago.
What inspires your work?
Ah, so many things – light, colour, movement, being alive, sometimes random swooping lines made by street lights on the motorway. It all translates into joy for me – joy in the moment and being alive. The fact that I can express that joy in paint really thrills me.
What is/are your most popular piece/s of work and why?
My perspex portraits are my most popular work. I’m intrigued about why. I think there’s something magical about capturing a feeling in an artwork – and portraits are a way that people can read those feelings easily.
Do you have a piece you are most proud of?
A minimal artwork on paper called “Impossible Things”. I’m proud of it because I was able to paint something that feels completely authentic and uncomplicated.
One of your series is called Best Wishes – can you explain what this series aims to evoke?
Yes! Best Wishes are an absolute passion project for me. I’m a huge believer in the benefits of mindfulness, and try to practice it whenever possible. Best Wishes is a series of mini abstracts and each one it genuinely and mindfully painted – really focusing on a specific emotion. For example, joy, courage, happiness, strength, contentment and wonder (my new fave!). The idea is that they’re created to give as gifts – you pass on a wish of joy, courage, or any of the other wishes, to the person you’re giving it to.
This year, you’ve collaborated with Veuve Clicquot to celebrate innovative women in the spirit of Madame Clicquot, who 200 years ago, created the world’s first blended Rose Champagne. Who is your personal inspiration?
Wow, that’s a huge question. I think my current inspiration is the entire sisterhood of incredible women of this generation. Whether they’re business owners, artists, makers, mothers, sisters, daughters – I feel like we’re all in it together now. Women encouraging and empowering each other – lifting each other up. We are strong because we are united, and that what inspires me.
The collaboration included creating a bespoke perspex artwork for the anniversary, as well as also painting as a life-size polo horse statue. Tell us about the design process of these.
I feel so honoured to have been asked to do this, how often do you get to paint a life sized horse? Such a unique and sculptural surface. Before I painted the horse, I did a perspex abstract painting for Veuve Clicquot. My inspiration came easily, and immediately made sense. I wanted to capture the joy and celebration of champagne, with the boldness of the amazing Madame Clicquot. I then took inspiration from the bold beautiful label of the VCP Rose Champagne – it has a beautiful pale pink background with a vibrant square of rich yellow – which you can see reflected in the artwork. When time came to paint the horse, I took some of the same brush strokes and composition, and expanded on it across the surface – it was quite an organic process, but such fun!