Artist in residence
Despite his demonic art, Jim Pavelec’s studio isn’t hellish.
Hell is pretty full these days, so I work at home like most artists. I recently moved my studio back into my home from an office location. I felt the extra expense of the off-site studio was unnecessary, and wanted to save money for upcoming projects.
My workspace isn’t very large, but this means I can bounce from my easel to my computer or drafting table with ease. With the new painting techniques I’m utilising, this is ideal for me. I switch back and forth from traditional media to digital several times within a piece. I can work on a drawing, lay some acrylics and pastels on it, scan it, paint on it in Photoshop, print it out, mount it to board and be painting in oils – all in one day. This setup has enabled my creativity to expand to the next level.
I do a lot of my pencil and pastel drawing at a local coffee shop. There’s a long tradition of the artist and the café. The constant coming and going of people has an energy that you can tap into, and working in public opens you up to meeting new friends, patrons or collaborators.
I don’t need top-of-the-line equipment for making art. My easel is a mid-range easel, I made my mahl stick out of things I had in the basement, my palette was salvaged from a local hardware store, my Wacom – which I got for next to nothing on Craigslist – is old, and a lot of my bookcases and other storage items I stole from a large chain bookstore that was closing down. I’m not condoning stealing things, but hey, do what you have to do. Being an artist is a tough racket.
My adjustable easel, where I do most of my painting, would not be complete without the Tom Kuebler shrunken head. It watches over me to make sure that what I’m working on is sufficiently disgusting. A print of a Nicolai Fechin page of hand studies. It’s a constant reminder that I need to work harder, and smarter. My bag of rocks is one of my favourite drawing tools. The bag was knitted for me by one of the baristas at the cafe. For those not familiar with my drawing process, I start by coating paper with a dusting of powdered graphite. I then press a large kneaded eraser into the various textured surfaces of the rocks and shells. Finally, I press that eraser on to the paper, lifting up the powdered graphite and revealing wonderful organic patterns that I use as the basis for my drawings.