Jodi Fuchs is my favorite painter alive today. The energy and scale of her work (she paints BIG), the living colors, and the inspired motifs and patterns all resonate with me so much. Her work has a vibration that changes the room it’s in. Some day I will have a Jodi Fuchs original on my wall but until then I’m super stoked to have her work featured on my blog!
Jodi is also a super fun, down to earth, beautiful human being that I’m so lucky to call a friend. We got to know each other over the years in Harijiwan’s living room when he used to teach out of his home in those pre RAMA days of yore. Then maybe 4 years ago we teamed up and produced a holiday art/craft show at her pop up gallery in Santa Monica. It was so fun working with her and my cousin Ashley Wade (of Action Cookies fame!) on the event and we learned a lot .. but never again! Amiright ladies!? So much work you would not believe.. But anyhow, all that to say is we got to know each other pretty well through the experience and I just love her to bits! I’m super excited to share this interview I did with her recently. Hopefully you’ll be inspired by her work and words as much as I am.
Fierce 31″ x 62″ mixed media on canvas 2011
1. There is so much I love about your work its hard to know where to begin! I guess I’ll start by asking about how you first got in to painting? Did you always want to be an artist?
Thanks so much for having me and for your kind words! I’ve always had a creative impulse even though I didn’t study art in school. My education was a never ending series of strange creative jobs– working for photographer’s hand-tinting photographs, as a production assistant on several tv shows, assisting graphic designers on rock star’s tour books, etc. I took some evening classes at Otis Parsons for graphic design but felt like the surface areas were too small for me. I like BIG. I then moved onto classes for faux finishing after working as a set painter on movies and got some great painting gigs. The first was working with a team of artists that marbleized an entire shopping mall in Vegas. That skill set lead to working on high end homes where I learned all about the decorative arts and enjoyed creating environments. The house was the canvas. Then after 20 years of physically challenging work, climbing ladders and painting ceilings, I decided to focus more fully on making my own paintings.
2. Did you go to art school and how did going/not going influence you as an artist?
No, I didn’t go to art school and in a way I’m glad. I learned all about color and color mixing while doing decorative painting and painting sets. I read tons of artist’s biographies and really resonated with the abstract expressionists in NY during the 40’s and 50’s. Sometimes I wish I had more formal training but I also think not going has freed me up to play the art “game” in a different way. I was always interested in the healing arts and studied massage, energy healing, feng shui and kundalini yoga. I think as an artist, “school” can be anything that captures your imagination.
3. I love how your work is so infused by your energy and inspired by your love of meditation and travel. Can you talk a little bit about what your process is when you are creating?
Ah, the great mystery of creating. I tend to follow my intuition and stay out of over conceptualizing my approach. Basically, when I’m faced with a blank canvas, I start with color, anything to get the white out. I’m into mark making and gestures and letting the energy of where I am that day lead the way. Traveling informs color choices and sometimes content as does the meditation. I’m often drawn to sacred imagery but really it comes down to energy. I just want to be a conduit for the creative energy force of the Universe. I think it’s infinite, always available and it’s really about how clear a channel I can be to let that come through me. I don’t paint if I’m in a bad or weird mood. I just do admin stuff instead. lol
4. You were recently in Hawaii and Bali for a while. Can you tell about some of the inspiration and insights you gained while there and how that has effected your work?
The feminine energy of both Hawaii and Bali were so healing to be in and as a painter, I think it’s really important to be in that feminine receptive state of mind. I swam a LOT, many times with wild dolphins which is my passion, and as a result, the work I did in Hawaii was very watery and fluid. I didn’t intend for that to happen but it did and that’s what I love about painting and traveling. It’s a new way to see the world and as an artist I’m creating new little worlds on the canvas so it’s really a perfect marriage.
5. Your prayer paintings are so powerful and fun — can you tell us about them and some of the experiences you have had creating them for yourself and others?!
One day I started making a painting by writing down my heart’s desires on the canvas. Then I filled in the loops of the letters and the negative spaces with color, pretty much obliterating what I’d scribbled, but I loved the result. Even though the words were indecipherable, I knew the energy was still there. I showed the piece to my art publisher and she went to press with it! The Secret Language of Prayers was the name of the piece. I loved that my prayers were now being broadcast to thousands! Talk about getting the word out! I decided to offer this service of creating custom prayer pieces for people and it’s been so rewarding. I’ve done memorial pieces, house blessings, health prayers and lots of marriage paintings where I weave the vows of the bride and groom together. I was even a live painter at a wedding once and wrote the vows on the canvas as the couple recited them. AND it was on a boat.
6. I love that you are doing design consultations for living and working environments now — canyou tell us about it and all the modalities you are weaving into the practice?
Well I’ve studied feng shui with several different teachers as well as Space Clearing techniques in Bali. I love color and I understand energy flow so it just felt like a great melding of all the skills I have to help people create supportive environments in their home or office. I’m offering color consultations, decorative painting, staging, feng shui cures and space clearing to begin with. Even rearranging pieces that you already have can be effective in “upping” the wattage of your space, as well as balancing the 5 elements with objects and color.
7. If you could paint on any surface in any location in any size – on the whole planet – where would you and why?!
I’d love to paint an elephant. Have you seen the decorated elephants of India? Amazing! I’ve ridden elephants a few times in Bali and I just adore them. Talk about a large canvas! It’s also pretty cool that elephants make paintings. I saw demonstrations of this at the park in Bali. The elephants were given paintbrushes loaded with paint and they used their trunks to create a piece. Mesmerizing. And pretty good abstract pieces!
8.What’s cooking for 2014? Let us know about upcoming shows/ travels/ projects ..
2014 for me is about creating a solid body of work as well expanding into products. I’d like to keep creating images for my 2 art publishers and also get my work into more galleries. I’m also applying for some grants so I can continue to travel and paint as well as looking into international artist residencies. San Miguel de Allende is on my radar. It’s a wonderful art town in Mexico and I’ve wanted to go there forever. I have my annual open studio at the Santa Monica Airport art walk coming up on Saturday March 15, 2014. I’m also looking into creating a line of tshirts and contemplating some products I can co-produce with some Balinese artisans. So, just a few things. I also started an art blog, finally, and am excited to write and share my work this way. I’d like to eventually create a book to inspire people to create!
Thank you so much Jodi!
Check out more of Jodi Fuchs’ work online at www.jodifuchs.com
Buy prints and original pieces on her etsy shop
Heart Chambers 18″ x 18″ mixed media on panel
above un captioned images from the top:
Jodi Fuchs in her Santa Monica studio
Living the Dream 12″ x 12″ mixed media
Prayer Painting : Kelly and Chad wedding ring inscriptions 48″ x 36″