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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."

 

James Janknegt - supplied
Nativity Christmas Card/James Janknegt

 

How does the secular world respond to your works? They are full of parables and Bible stories, but also unfamiliar imagery.

A painting is different from a sentence or a paragraph. Paintings deal with visual symbols. I’m trying to take something that was conceptualized 2,000 years ago in a different culture, keeping the content, in a different context.

 

James Janknegt - supplied
Two Sons/James Janknegt

 

It’s almost like translating a language, but with visual symbols.

I have a definite idea of what I’m trying to get across. But you [the viewer] bring with yourself a completely different set of assumptions and experiences, and I have no control over that. I don’t want to.

 

James Janknegt - supplied
Holy Family/James Janknegt

 

When I look at a painting, it’s a conversation. I’m talking into the painting, and the painting is talking to you.

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