Meet Australia’s whirlwind of an artist, Jodee Knowles and her army of ghostly skinned, bug eyed beauties. We feel that she invokes a contemporary alternative to 20th Century figurative painter of distorted bodies and fervent line work; Egon Schiele; endowed with statement pattern and print.

Jodee’s distinctive style emerges through the observation of human existence, condition and emotional life experience and the ways in which people deal with the circumstances in which they find themselves in; we feel resonates with [an inspiring author of Jodee’s] Milan Kundera’s ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’ which records the frailty of an individual’s fortune. The trade mark eyes are haunting but hypnotic, full of sadness and vulnerability and yet there is still a sense of playfulness amidst the delicacy of pale bodied figures, the eyes being the main focus of Jodee’s fascination. Working with figurative artists and portrait artists also allow the artist to grow in her understanding of composition and the human form, which then proceeds to Jodee’s embellishment of style to create her characters, like babies, coming from the artist herself. She has always found herself to be sketching little entities.

Initially Jodee envisages her concept, what she is trying to portray with her characters, followed by compositions of the collection and inviting models into the studio to be photographed for visual reference. Subsequently, experimentation leads to new pattern ideas, colour palettes, all stemming from the initial idea. The process develops organically through primary and secondary research, from working with the models. The artist finds the physicality of creating her work to be the easiest stage. It is developing the concept into a sellable collection that harvests the balance of what Jodee is close to and what others can relate to, which proves to be the most challenging.

After finishing art studies, Jodee was encouraged by fellow influential artists to share her work with the world. She was lucky enough to be supported by artists Stormie Mills, Anthony Lister and Matt Doust, helping her become the person Jodee is today; allowing her to see that the possibility of transforming her passion into reality. As a result, her most memorable moments to date consist of; her first exhibition in Los Angeles, a teaching residency at all girls school and first immense mural and video installation; transcending to current work for another solo show in Sydney for early 2015 and an approaching residency in Paris, with the ideal of developing something new with her a style and presenting the opportunity to work with a fashion designer.

Unlike the norm of a painter, Jodee often begins with layers of flat paint which she then works over with copic markers, bic pens and posca pens, instead of beginning with a sketch transformed by paint. Her subjects tend to find themselves on mat board, paper and wood, ready to be recreated into impressive murals used with similar mediums. Jodee finds that, currently, ‘working bigger is better.’

Jodee’s family is a huge driving force, being the crutches in times of self- doubt, weakness and fright, the periods that we are sure most artists go through that can cause creative drive and belief to falter. Her mother is a major influence in inspiring her to be the best person she can be. Her loved ones, without a doubt, know that she is where she is meant to be, doing what she is meant to do within the arts industry and provide a continuous stream of support. Jodee is drawn to the strong emotional content and distinguishing styles of the painter and installation artist Anthony Lister, encompassing street art, expressionism and contemporary youth culture to present slices of society with rough and figurative vigour; Matt Doust, a capturer of honest raw emotion and beauty through hyper realist painting and sculpture, photography and film artist Matthew Barney.

Jodee hopes to create further work in LA, Japan and Paris and we are in full support and anticipation of where her art will take her. Kundera says, ‘there is no perfection, only life.’ We say, Jodee breathes life through her perfection of the imperfection of human essence. Here’s hoping it won’t be long until we get an eye-full of a Jodee Knowles mural in the flesh.

Keep up with Jodee at www.jodeeknowles.com

Feature by Amber Scarlett / amber@thirstforvision.com


SÝN Magazine

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