Friday, June 19, 2009


Artist Interviews Artist

Highlighting RAA member JAMIE LEE OHLAND
as interviewed by Board Member Shana R. Goetsch

Front to Back, Jamie Lee Ohland

Jamie, could you tell us briefly how you got involved with the Riverwest Artists Association?

Long story short: I’ve known Mark Lawson for about half a decade and worked in the MIAD gallery for many years, as well as, helping out with other art events throughout the Milwaukee area. I very much enjoy hanging art shows, getting to know all the artists and those in attendance, installing the work so every piece looks its best, basically any activity involving making a gallery run interests me! So, when the opportunity came to help start the RAA inaugural show I offered my services.

Could you give us a statement about or an explanation of your current work?

This could be a very long answer... I usually work on multiple projects all at once. Some projects could take a couple years to complete certain thoughts while I finish several smaller, albeit just as important ideas, within that time frame. I rarely set personal goals with time lines in mind because I feel that hinders my creative process and the natural pace of things. With that stated, the work I am currently showing at the RAA is a very recent series of drawings, drawn out of the pure need to draw. The selected works out of the series of 120 took place within a pivotal week for me in early June. At this time, my garden started sprouting and while I attended to these tiny shoots of green I was able to recognize just how much I needed to tend to within myself, those darker corners I had purposely forgot about in order to pursue/maintain a failing relationship. With that realization in mind I wanted to capture those small moments of joy within my garden and celebrate them! I also needed to address the darker corners, which are represented by blind contours I drew while watching the black and white version of 'The Three Penny Opera' in German, a story I feel is quite timeless especially when applied to our current situation in the United States.

Room, Jamie Lee Ohland

Speaking of ‘timelessness’, how does your work differ, if at all, from the art you have created in the past?

My art has always been a representation of my thoughts, feelings, and observations of the time in which I created the work. If you can imagine all the thoughts one can accumulate over a lifetime there is an exciting palette to work with. I am just now allowing myself the right and pleasure to speak the truth even with my seemingly smaller observations. For a long time I was afraid I would be judged in reaction to my work, but then what benefit would it bring anyone to keep anything relatable behind closed doors? How can anyone learn without sticking to your convictions or making leaps of faith? I try to keep this in mind with everything I do.

Sam, Jamie Lee Ohland

What is your background in art? When did you get your start/inspiration?

My mother started me out by putting a pencil in my hand and guiding my hand over pieces of typing paper. Eventually, after many scribbled ramblings I started telling my mother what I was drawing. My mother kept my first drawings from when I was two years old. One drawing was of my grandpa’s hummingbird feeder which I drew the house in the background and the other was of a turtle. I still have a deep affinity for birds and turtles, and I never stopped drawing.

Mother, Jamie Lee Ohland

What is a typical day in the studio for you? How do you work? Where do you work?

I don’t really have a studio and I rarely have a whole ‘day’ to work in it. My work usually comes with me in the form of sketchbooks, small crocheted lace forms, smaller wood panels, or performances throughout the city. I create art on my way to work in the morning or while waiting for the bus, while drinking a beer by myself at one of numerous local establishments, while walking by the lake or in my garden, while making breakfast on Saturday mornings, anywhere and everywhere! Someday when I make the big bucks I would like to have a studio but I probably will just use it for storage.

Sam, (work in progress) Jamie Lee Ohland

Your proudest artistic moment...What has happened (moment/event) that made you finally think, “Yes, I am an artist!”?

As a kid I never questioned if I was an artist or not, I just knew I loved the art of making and presenting work. In middle school I didn’t have an art program so I worked vigorously on drawings and designs all the time just to keep sane. In high school when all depressive hell broke loose, I needed art to keep me alive. It never occurred to me that making art could also be a college focus or career, so when my teacher Mrs. Frederick told me they have higher education for people like me I couldn’t believe it. I nervously applied to several schools and was accepted. The reality that I was going to school for something I really wanted to do didn’t set in until my senior art show in high school when I witnessed a few people I never met before cry in front of my work. It was at that very moment in which my core was shaken and I realized that I directly had an effect on people using my primary language, visual art. I have felt blessed ever since.

Narcissus and Gold Man, Jamie Lee Ohland

What is one question that you always wished someone had asked you about your work? (and then give us that answer please)

Good question! I don’t I have a general answer, perhaps I have questions for specific pieces. I have been adding to a body of work called, Deep Sleep While Flowers Creep, since 2006 and most if not all the work is heavily steeped in symbolism. I took great care into researching the symbolic significance of specific animals, plant folklore, and the use of medicinal herbs, all of which I used to create ‘portraits’ of those whom I feel closest to. There often were times when I wished people would ask me what that flower meant or why I chose to represent such person as this animal and so on because everything even down to the colors (sometimes size of the work) would characterize the people I was portraying. I wanted to tell them all these stories I shared with the people I was painting, drawing, and crocheting. I wanted to tell them why my mother was represented as a single, bent over honeysuckle on a field of pale yellow. I am still delightfully surprised that even when people don’t know exactly why I chose what I did they are still able to feel for what I was going for. This occurrence is always deeply satisfying.

Leemer Cat Howls at the Moon at Night
, Jamie Lee Ohland

Artists Jamie Lee Ohland and Shana R. Goetsch both attended the Milwaukee Institute
of Art & Design, and received their bachelor degrees, in May of 2008.

Jamie's current work can be seen at The Jazz Gallery, along with our NEW show, (re)cycle (re)visit.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

(re)cycle (re)visit Milwaukee!

Opening night is this Saturday the 20th!
The Jazz Gallery is located at 926 East Center St. in Riverwest
Come see this excellent exhibit
Reception at 6PM on 06/20/09
Don't miss it!

stop by the gallery this Thursday for a sneak peek of us hanging the show!

Monday, June 1, 2009


Call for Artists!
Submit your recycled fine art to us, starting this Wednesday 5-8p. We will continue to take submissions on Thursday 5-8p and Saturday 12-5p. There is no fee for your entry.

Need further details on submissions? Just scroll down and click on the Call for Artists...(call originally posted on May 1st)

This show will be up starting on June 20, 2009!