Jean Christensen

Décembre, 37 x 30cm, 2007

I met Jean Christensen on a Myspace art group called WAN. His collages are amazing and he’s a very nice and insightful guy. I’d love to meet him in person, especially because that would most likely involve a trip to France, where Jean has lived since 1971. His collages are most often landscapes and portraits made up of tiny bits of ‘supermarket junk mail’.

Prague - 1957, 39 x 29cm, 2008

L'Osme, 61 x 81cm, 2005

Here’s an excerpt of an interview I did with him for WAN:
Q-Could you briefly describe your work?
A. My visual work can be put into the figurative category. So, in that sense, it's based on illusion. I choose pictures of things, more often food, and arrange them in such a way as to give the illusion of something else – trees, humans, whatever. The finished product may seem "original", but I don't really consider it as very creative – more like a craft. The same goes for my music.
The only art form I practice with any creativity is writing (but nobody's interested in that).

Q. Who influences you as an artist?
A. As a teen-age painter, I was strongly influenced by the Impressionists and Fauves. Now I'm just inspired by nature. As a writer, I'm particularly interested in psychology and human nature. There, my only remote stylistic influences are Boris Vian and Richard Brautigan.

Q. What is involved in your creative process?
A. My "creative process" is mostly based on observation and the desire to render this. I'm particularly attentive to light/shadow in trees and clouds and also trying to figure out the perspective of reflections on water. Nothing really creative there.
The technical aspect of my collages involves preparing the support (3mm artist's cardboard glued on 3/8 " plywood), choosing a subject and drawing it as precisely as possible, sorting out raw materials according to color and texture from cubic meters of supermarket junk mail and TV guides, cutting and gluing hundreds or thousands of pieces of paper, cleaning then varnishing the finished product. The final phase consists of showing the finished piece to a few friends then hanging it on my wall where it stays forever.

Q. What are you trying say with your art?
A. Apart from my surrealistic stuff which usually contains a certain degree of subversive social critique, I don't have much of a message, as I'm basically trying to transmit a feeling. But the underlying "message" could be that there's a difference between what we see and what we perceive. Art critics, gallery owners and people who intellectualize about art often add their own perceptions, explanations, context to a work. My approach is removing context from things, reducing them to something strictly visual. Once an oyster is only an arrangement of varying shades of green, gray and brown it can become a tree, a flower or a rock, for example.

Pause Pose, 54 x 40cm, 2006

Jean on talentdatabase.com

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