Discover / Meet the Artist
 Jaq Grantford

Interview with Jaq Grantford

"I believe everyone should celebrate everyone's creativity without judgement, but with an abundance of joy that something has simply been created."

 

Today, we'd like to introduce you to

Jaq Grantford @jaq11

 

 

 

 

 

Jaq is an award-winning portrait artist and fine artist based in Melbourne, Australia. 

We reached out to Jaq wanting to find out a bit more about the person behind her inspiring artwork.
Here is what she had to share...

 

 

 

 

 

Do you remember your first interaction with art?

 

My mother used to teach the violin, and when I was about three years of age, two lovely elderly ladies would come for a violin lesson together. I thought they were elderly at the time but were probably younger than I am now!

As one would have a lesson, I would draw with the other. And vice versa when they swapped for their lesson.

They were so encouraging, and I would come away from those sessions feeling elated and happy. It had a tremendous impact on me and was my first memory of art being fostered within me.

 

 

 

 

 

Does spirituality play a role in your creativity?

 

I feel that spirituality plays a part in every part of our lives, whether we are aware of it or not.

I'm drawn to themes that speak of the human condition and, in that way, hope that I can connect to people through my art.

My passion for portraiture is also about tapping into the spiritual essence of the people I paint. What is it about them that is their essence? What is their story?

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you do to keep yourself motivated and interested in your work?

 

I find that the more I create, the more things I wish to create. So my motivation comes simply from continuing to create art.

Should there ever be a day when my energy is low, I do make myself go into the studio, even if it's for half an hour. And usually, that half an hour turns into an entire session where I want to keep going.

 

 

Do you strive to be unique in your creative endeavours?

 

I am always looking at ways to explore my own personal voice in art. So it's not so much about being unique, but about being true to myself. And I think that if an artist does that, then they will be unique by default.

 

 

 

 

 

Do you feel that you chose your "passion", or did it choose you?

 

My passion definitely chose me. But by 'passion' I mean creativity. Art can take many forms, and I've dabbled in writing and music as well. As long as I'm creating, I'm in my happy place.

But my happiest place creatively is visual art.

I'm currently undergoing chemo for cancer (treatable) and what I've found most curious is that my underlying feeling of being unwell disappear when I'm in the studio.

My energy levels are still low, but my mood switches automatically. Maybe that is just because I'm distracted by something I love? But perhaps it's my 'passion' choosing me and supporting me. Who knows!? Whatever it is, I'm grateful to have art in my life.

 

 

 

How does your work comment on current social, political, or environmental issues?

 

I often choose subjects that reflect issues, and I believe it makes for stronger art.

An example is a portrait I painted of my friend, Tootsie, who in 1953 was jailed for two years for being gay in Australia. To me, this is an important subject. And essential for younger people to realise what happened in the past and not take for granted the rights of people.

 

 

 

 

 

How important is having a personal connection to the subject matter you choose to paint?

 

Having a personal connection is crucial for me, especially with my work in portraiture. There's no doubt that if I can find a way to tap into the essence of the subject, then my portrait will be much better. And it will also connect more with the people who see the painting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How has your practice changed over time?

 

Over time I've been able to focus more on what's important to me. I've fine-tuned the subjects I want to explore and realised how essential that is for me personally and the final result.

I've also improved technically. I love being inspired by other artists and use that as a springboard to analyse my own work. And practice makes perfect!!!

 

 

 

Have you noticed the younger generations showing more of an interest in art these days?

 

Art is universally loved by all ages. I run an art school for children, so I get to see first-hand the love of art that young people have. What pleases me immensely is the number of young girls who are so passionate about art and are encouraged by their parents. And it's this younger generation that will break down remaining subliminal sexism about where women stand in the art world.

It's also been wonderful to see young children – as young as eight – interested in drawing skills and learning the techniques behind representational art.

 

 

 

Do you believe that each person has the capacity to be creative?

 

Absolutely. We are all born with a creative spirit that is channelled in the most diverse ways. Maths is creative, and art is mathematical. We all find our creativity in our own manner.

However, what is a terrible shame is when people are discouraged from being creative via unkind works.

I believe everyone should celebrate everyone's creativity without judgement, but with an abundance of joy that something has simply been created.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Curious to explore more of Jaq's inspiring art? Visit her website and browse her collections: jaqgrantford.com