Artist Interviews Artist
Highlighting RAA member JAMIE LEE OHLAND
as interviewed by Board Member Shana R. Goetsch
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.
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.
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?
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!”?
Narcissus and Gold Man, Jamie Lee Ohland
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.