Conversations with an Artist: Jeffrey Palladini
You can't help but become absorbed in the vibrant, saturated colors and purposeful brush strokes, feel the emotion captured in the frame, and want to unravel the mystery of the subjects painted. Jeffrey Palladini's work is a study in moments where the details–life's stimuli, memories, experiences–are simplified, leaving only an intense suggestion. We were mesmerized at first sighting and waited years to finally have the opportunity to carry his work. Here's a glimpse into his inspirations and approach.
Describe the moment you realized art fed your soul.
As a child, I was distracted and a dreamer, always building mental narratives and environments. Applying that in a sketchbook, in clay, in paint, helped it physically manifest in a more focused way. I didn't even realize that there was anything special about it until I started overhearing my parents and other adults comment on my output. Art has always scratched an itch so deep that nothing else could touch.
Pool #30 | 36x48"
What themes do you pursue in your art?
One overarching theme I've been dealing with in my work over the years is the influence on our lives of things outside our control. Modern humans operate under a conceit of control and free will, while in reality the outcomes of our endeavors are mostly dictated by other factors–genetics, environment, physics, biology, history, random chance, and the actions of strangers, for just a short list. It's a concept rich in possibilities as it applies to visual art.
Again Again | 25x33"
In his brand new work, Thread Series, 2019, the random looping and twisting patterns of a dropped length of twine are a seductive metaphor for the way we get from our aims and dreams to the outcomes. But, as Jeffrey reflects, “the more you try to exert control the random creeps in, [and] it turns out that the more you try to represent the random the more control creeps in.”
Thread Series #1 | 16x20"
Thread Series #3 (PaleBlue, Lt) and Thread #2 (BlueAlmostBlack, Rt) | 22x30"
Tell us about what influences the direction for your art.
My influences from art history are widely varied, and you can see influences from medieval European art, to German expressionism, to pop art. I don't consciously think about these influences as I create, but as with other influences like travel, music, and literature, they percolate through and appear in my artwork in unexpected and surprising ways.
That Thing That Follows You | 13x51x19" (angled)
How has your work developed over time?
I love this question. I believe in the gradual evolution of works over time, rather than consciously pulling in new directions. I have always felt that one artwork informs the next, which informs the next, and so on. I've never had any kind of creative block, because as I work on a piece, the next one is already forming in my mind. Sometimes, this takes me off on little tangential forays, but mainly it carries me down a consistent aesthetic path. You can look at my paintings from fifteen years ago, and follow that forward to what I'm working on in the studio now, and while you will see experimentation and evolution, the changes form a consistent and familiar-feeling continuum.
Shift #1 | 30x30"
Thread Series #6 | 17x24"
What’s the most indispensable item in your studio?
I’d have to say music. From the time I was studying art until now, I've always had music playing in the studio, and I'm not sure I could be effective without it. It gets my creative juices flowing, and I think the rhythms help keep me focused.
Do you collect anything?
No, not really. The one thing I gather and have a hard time parting with, however, is books. I'm a voracious reader of fiction, and once I read something, I end up loving the object itself as much as its content. A book is a really beautiful thing–an exceedingly simple physical object, that nevertheless contains its own universe.
What’s the most inspiring thing you’ve seen, read, watched or listened to recently?
I went with my wife and daughter to a concert by the band TwentyOne Pilots, and was really moved. It was not so much the content of the performance itself (though it was remarkable), but the overwhelming appreciation of an artist creating a thing of beauty from nothing but their own thoughts. Taking something from one's head, shaping it with intention and love, and putting it out for the world to experience is a magic beyond anything else.
What advice would you give to your younger self about your artistic journey?
I'm not a big giver of advice, but I think I'd keep it simple: Focus on the work (and work hard at it–put in the hours), but also be fearless and undaunted in getting the work out there. This thing we do is a form of communication–say something, and make sure people can hear it.
The Long Look Back | 10.5 x 60.5" (five 10.5" plates)
As of October 1, we have installed Jeffrey's new Thread Series in the shop.
We hope you'll come by and see Jeffrey's work in person and allow yourself to fall into his portrait and "random" paintings and find your own connected interpretation. As he explains, "Our identity is made up entirely of bits of past, present, and future, and is never static."
Come visit or we're happy to connect over email or voice to voice. Follow this link to view Jeffrey's works for sale at Poet and/the Bench.
See you soon,
Bonnie & Jeffrey