Las Vegas based collage artist Jeannie Hua addresses surface versus the internal, the effect of environment upon the individual, and the tension between passivity versus human empowerment. Here is a recent interview about her art practice.
In your art practice you reverse magazine images to create collages, do you usually go after something specific in these magazines, or is it an ongoing process of discovery that gives birth to new ideas?
I collect colors from magazines. For example, I cut up skies to get different gradations of blue. Or I would cut up pictures of forests to get gradations of greens and browns. From my collections of different colors and values, I set out to build a back ground of colors that either blend or clash with one another. The subjects in front of the backgrounds are premeditated but the backgrounds are improvised from the colors I collect. So I’m not guided by the images from the magazines but I recycle the colors and build up my own images.
In your works you address the role of the individual, do you feel that the current social political environment is enhancing the message you communicate?
I depict individuals who suffer and clash with the current social political environment. The individual in my works feel a duty to be part of a collective that support every member. The individuals that contribute to the current social political environment have no place in my work.
You started your art practice after a professional career in law, what are the main challenges you experienced during the transition?
How I viewed my age and what my age represented were the main challenges during my transition. I found that with hard work and openness to the views of others, I benefited from the close knit art community in Nevada as well as other galleries around the country. In that sense, an individualistic can do attitude got me this far, but would’ve been impossible to succeed without the generosity of the art collective.
What is your take on the current state of the art world, and how do you feel about the role of the internet in artists careers?
I think the art world is closer, more accessible, and eclectic because of the internet. I wouldn’t have a career without the internet. The internet has opened up art to a segment of the population that would’ve been too intimated to discover art. The internet has also opened up more options for people in the know to find new talents and be current on what’s out there. When I tried to break into the art work back in early 90’s, you had to know someone to find work at the galleries or get your work in the galleries. Now, people not in the know can obtain art and the market demand is more of a reflection of what normal people actually want rather than a few art critics dictating taste for others.
Are you currently working on a project or have one coming up in the near future?
I currently have a collage entitled “Judith” from the Judith Beheading Holofernes series in a juried exhibition entitled, “Alterations” at Gallery Clarendon in Arlington Virginia. I also have a collage entitled “Abra” also from the Judith Beheading Holofernes series at at a juried exhibition entitled, “Sign of the Times” at Carlisle Arts Learning Center in Carlisle Pennsylvania. I have a collage entitled, “Pig from Journey to the West" in a exhibit called “Year of the Pig” sponsored by the City of Las Vegas. I also have a collage in a juried exhibition called “Almost Human” at the gallery at Las Vegas Art Institute.
I’ll be attending a month long artist residency at Chateau Orquevaux at Orquevaux France and look forward to taking my art in a new direction.