Artist Spotlight: Jennifer Berkowitz

What does a day in your art practice look like?
Sometimes my work flows freely and the paintings almost seem to paint themselves. Other times it’s a dirty brawl where I have to wrestle the image free. Much of the day can be spent preparing ideas through sketches, writing, collages, looking at images, reading the news. There are also moments of exploration without an end in sight – cutting up old paintings, painting over old work, or even slicing through a wooden panel to see what I find.

What would life be like without art?
Frightening, and destabilizing. Making art helps me metabolize life, understand myself, and pull out some of the thorns stuck in my side. The time in my studio is an element of survival.

What is the hardest part of creating your art?
Getting out of my own way – avoiding overthinking, fretting, anything that pulls me from the zone.

Looking Up 29×22 inches

What inspires you?
Everything, when I slow down and notice. A piece of dust in the light, when I’m able to see and listen to it, could be all I need. In the same way, an emotion, a sensation, or a memory could move my work when I take the time to engage.

Who would you most like to collaborate with? Why?
Babies, dancers, boxers, sex workers – people who use their bodies.

What is the best advice you’ve been given?
When I heard Alex Kanevsky say that a painting is finished right before it’s done, I felt delivered, saved from overworking paintings. Thanks, Alex.

Grande Chaumiere 39×24 inches

If you could change anything about the art world, what would it be?
The world of art is a gift – one I have been grateful for my whole life. It’s the business of art that I would like to fuck up so that it stops making everyone need to impress, compare, rise above, be noticed, sell, and play the game while pretending to be above it.

What advice would you give your younger self? And to others.
Myself: Drink more, work less! Others: Trust yourself!!

What do you wish to accomplish with your art?
For myself? To be free to explore and enter the flow without anxiety or judgment. For others? To make them surprised, moved, or changed in some way that makes their lives more profound, or simply better.

Peeing in the grass 40×30 inches

If you had the chance to live during a different artistic movement other than now, which one would you choose? and why?
I adore the women expressionist painters in post-war New York. They were so strong, and everyone was groping in the dark together to find a new medium of expression and redefine painting.

How has personal experience influenced your creativity?
Life’s events fuel each series of my work. Moving to a new city–FLOATING. Children growing up and leaving the house–COMING OF AGE. Trump elected President–BETWEEN MOMENTS. Covid–FALLING.

What are your words of wisdom for someone starting out in your field?
Trust yourself, surround yourself with people who love you.

How do you make the leap from an idea in your head to the action you produce?
I try to get an idea out of my head and into my body, where I can feel and respond to it. My head is an echo chamber where ideas can be complicated and arrested.

Thunder Said Rising 48×36 inches


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