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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
Grain and Weeds/James Janknegt

 

Part of the problem today is that we do not have the same visual symbolic language. In the Renaissance or the Middle Ages, the culture was homogeneous, and symbols were used for hundreds and hundreds of years. If I put a pelican pecking its breast, no one [today] knows what that means. We’ve lost the language. So it’s challenging.

Are you inventing your own modern symbolic language? I see birds, dogs . . .

You kind of have to. It’s a balancing act. In art school, they say, “Just express yourself! You’re painting for yourself; it doesn’t matter what everyone else gets out of it.” I’m not doing that. I’m trying to communicate with people.

 

The Wise Bridesmaids/Janknegt - supplied
The Wise Bridesmaids/James Janknegt

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