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James Janknegt: “You can’t paint sanitized, Sunday school art…”

James Janknegt
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"It's part of the deal, if you're gonna be an artist, to be as honest as you can."

But you do seem to create art that has very specific meanings in mind. Do you worry about limiting what the viewer can get out of a piece?

There’s a painting I did of Easter morning zinnias. They look like firecrackers; Jonah’s on the vase; in the corner, there’s an airplane.

 

Easter Morning/James Janknegt

 

I just needed something in the corner to make your eye move into that corner! People were trying to figure out what it meant, but sometimes an airplane is just an airplane.

To me, the role of art is to make something beautiful. Very simple, that’s the prime directive: Make something beautiful.

 

James Janknegt - supplied
Bug Tools and Beyond/James Janknegt

 

It doesn’t have to be figurative or narrative or decorative. But my feeling is: The history of our salvation, starting with Genesis to Revelation, is indeed the greatest story ever told. What’s better? As an artist, why wouldn’t I want to tell that?

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