Jesse Lane Texas, USA, Labyrinth, col­ored pen­cil, 29 x 23" (74 x 58 cm)

International Artist - - Contents -

Grand Prize is a four-page ed­i­to­rial fea­ture in Amer­i­can Art Col­lec­tor mag­a­zine Drawn to Life

In the col­ored pen­cil draw­ings of Tex­as­based artist Jesse Lane, the over­all nar­ra­tive is one of the most defin­ing fac­tors of the work. The pieces are au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal in na­ture—with many be­ing self-portraits— and rely on themes of per­sonal strug­gle, re­cov­ery and dis­cov­er­ing new­found strength. The sto­ries are open-ended, which al­lows the viewer of the pieces to in­ter­pret their own mean­ing and con­nec­tion to the art­work.

Lane has worked hard at hon­ing his skills over the years. He says, “Peo­ple re­fer to artis­tic abil­ity as a gift. But the truth is, art was never a gift for me. When I was 14, my art teacher told me I was the worst in class. I be­gan with lit­tle self-con­fi­dence, but I was driven. I started out draw­ing anime and then pro­gressed to re­al­ism and nar­ra­tive por­trai­ture.”

Over the years, his work has be­come bolder and sim­pler with highly de­tailed fig­ures against stark back­grounds. Lane adds, “I iso­late my fig­ures in pool of light, dis­ap­pear­ing into dark­ness. I es­pe­cially en­joy the beau­ti­ful sub­tleties of skin tones. With each piece, my skin tones be­come more in­tri­cate and re­fined.”

Work­ing in col­ored pen­cil is some­thing that Lane en­joys be­cause of the pre­ci­sion it re­lies upon when draw­ing the com­plex­i­ties of the hu­man form. “Most peo­ple are sur­prised when they find out my pieces are draw­ings, not pho­to­graphs,” he ex­plains. “While each im­age I cre­ate is sim­ple, it is also quite de­tailed. There are so many splotches of color and tiny wrin­kles in skin.” In 2016, Lane had his first solo ex­hi­bi­tion at RJD Gallery ti­tled Face Re­al­ity. The morn­ing af­ter the ex­hi­bi­tion closed, the Sag Har­bor, New York, gallery was de­stroyed by a fire and five of Lane’s ma­jor pieces were lost.

“I had to start over. I had to face re­al­ity,” Lane re­calls. “I felt small and the chal­lenges seemed over­whelm­ing. But as much as the fire up­set me, every day I still had the op­tion to go into my stu­dio and cre­ate new work. Some­times tri­umph isn’t hav­ing some sort of amaz­ing come­back, but push­ing through un­for­tu­nate sit­u­a­tions and get­ting through to the other side. Some­times stub­bornly per­sist­ing is the most im­por­tant thing some­one can do. And some­times push­ing for­ward leads to new suc­cess and new art. Since the fire, I’ve taken more time with each piece and I’ve reached a new artis­tic level.”

Lane used the fire as a cat­a­lyst for his aptly ti­tled work, Face Re­al­ity, which hangs in the gallery’s new lo­ca­tion in Bridge­hamp­ton, New York.

My In­spi­ra­tion

Labyrinth was in­spired by a haunt­ing feel­ing of loss… and the road to re­cov­ery. The man’s hands are hold­ing his head as he’s is try­ing to re­gain a sense of self. Wa­ter runs down his face, sug­gest­ing heal­ing. His eyes are shut, pro­vid­ing a sense of in­ner con­tem­pla­tion as well as mys­tery. I think there’s a labyrinth in all of us.

My De­sign Strat­egy

Even though the eyes are shut, they are still the fo­cal point. Al­most ev­ery­thing in the im­age cir­cles around the eyes. The most light and de­tail are on and around the eyes. The face emerges into light and dis­ap­pears into shadow. The shad­ows have a lot of pur­ple in them, which adds con­trast to the yel­low high­lights.

I cre­ated the im­age to be very sim­ple, yet elab­o­rate. There are many tiny wrin­kles and splotches of color, but they all add up to form a very sim­ple im­age. The com­po­si­tion, light­ing, color and de­tails all work to­gether to es­tab­lish the eyes as the fo­cal point.

My Work­ing Process

I be­gin by block­ing in a small black area on white Bris­tol board. This helps me judge my val­ues as I work. I first ren­der the fo­cal point, usu­ally the eyes. This lets me know if any­thing I do later com­petes too strongly with the fo­cal point.

At first, I work in light lay­ers of pen­cil. These lay­ers start out as big blocks of brown or tan. I con­tinue by adding smaller splotches of color that give the skin a more or­ganic look. These are pinks, pur­ples, yel­lows, orange and at times gray. In the end, I add very fine points of color though stip­pling, which is muted by the pre­vi­ous lay­ers. The re­sult is a textured, con­stantly chang­ing skin tone.

Con­tact De­tails

» Email: jesse@jes­se­lan­eart.com

» Web­site: www.jes­se­lan­eart.com

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