Monday, July 30, 2012

Making Your Art Mean Something

One of the biggest problems that beginner artists have is that they simply pick an image they like from a calendar or the internet and copy it. That might be a good way to practice, but if you keep doing that, your end product won't have much meaning. It's someone else' idea, someone else's rendering of their emotion.

Even if you have to paint with crappy reference material, I encourage you to make your work your own personal interpretation of something important to you. "But I'm not an interesting person," you might say (as I did before.) "I don't want to talk about myself. There's nothing exciting to tell." But think about it. Each time you talk, you are expressing yourself. Anytime you interact with any other person, you are revealing something of your nature, your past, and your experiences. There is no-one on earth who has nothing exciting to tell.

To infuse more symbolism, deep meaning, and unanswerable questions into my art, I've decided to turn to poetry! Before I begin each artwork, I will now make a poem about the theme I'd like to explore. Something intensely precious, painful, frightening, or wonderful from my personal experience. This poem will set the tone for the piece and be like my guide map while I'm creating the work.

The first painting I did this way was "May I Come Out Now -Mou Iikai-". In this poem, I wanted to express the sinking feeling that comes from knowing I ended a precious friendship(s). I don't know if I'll ever be able to surface again, if the friendship will ever be mended, or if I'll have to stay in hiding; ignoring this person(s) forever. Also, "mou iikai" is the chant that kids say in Japan when they are playing hide-and-seek. It's like "Are you ready yet?" In this poem, I wanted to ask, "Are we finished being angry with each other? Mou iikai? Is it enough yet?"

Ever hidden, ever concealed, motionless.

Sounding! Two fathoms.

Sounding! Thirteen fathoms.

Sounding! Twenty fathoms.

Entangled, surrounded, barely breathing.
In a sepulcher of one’s own making.
Deluded, not by a mirage of water,
For water is the mirage.
Will it come to an end?
Are enemies eternal?

May I come out now?

↓ The finished piece, below.


I'll reveal the poem for my next painting. What imagery does it evoke for you? Can you understand what it might be about?


They said:


The vanity I concede,
But to the others I say
They were the paltry attempts
Of this infantile, trembling thing

Trying to appear strong.

Let me know what you think of today's post, and watch for big, meaningful paintings ahead! <3 JUURI

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

JUURI's "Sweet Summer" Show on July 27th!

↑ "Kakigoori Girl" Mixed media & gold leaf on wood. {SOLD}

Be sure to catch my upcoming summer show of my newest works on wood! These smaller pieces range from 4x6" to 7.5x11" and feature candy-colored girls, Japanese traditional sweets, and plenty of gold leaf.

The show will be available to view online at swoongallery starting July 27th (Friday.) If you'd like to be part of the show preview so that you can claim your favorite pieces before the general public, email hello (at) There will also be a number of smaller watercolors available.

If you have any questions, you can email me at watashi (at)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Ombré Obsession + "Sweet Summer -Amanatsu-" Sneak Peeks

I am so crazy these days about ombré gradations. I just now realized that they seem to be showing up everywhere from fashion to hair to interiors (I'm a little late on the trend, I know.) I think it's time that I used some beautiful gradated colors for the backgrounds of my paintings.

↓ Clothing


↓ Nails


↓ Hair (Charlotte Free always looks gorgeous with dip-dyed pink hair!)


↓ Accessories


↓ Interiors


On a side note, I was scouring the internets trying to find a place where I could buy a few yards or ombré fabric to sew some pillows and cover some chairs in my house. ALAS, I could not find anything anywhere. Why on earth is it so trendy yet so hard to find? Etsy store idea, anyone? Anyway, after adjusting my keywords I finally did find one shop who had some. Ahhhh AliceInStitchesArts, you've saved my ombré-obsessed life! Once I make the pillows, they may show up in my home goods shop FashArtHome so keep a beady eye out.

The other side note is that I'm almost finished with all my small pieces on wood for my upcoming show "Sweet Summer -Amanatsu-." These have been fun and delightful to paint, although now I'm ready to start a giant painting! If you'd like to get on the exclusive preview list for this show (so you can see all the pieces before anyone else does) please email hello (at)





Monday, July 9, 2012

Alexandra Levasseur's Mesmerizingly Colorful, Sketchy Girls PART II

Here are some wonderful work-in-progress photos from the fabulous Alexandra Levasseur, whom I interviewed last week. I was truly intrigued at her process and super curious about the method in which she combines acrylics and colored pencils. These give a lovely peek into her universe.

Enjoy, and be sure to check out her website and shop!







Monday, July 2, 2012

Alexandra Levasseur's Mesmerizingly Colorful, Sketchy Girls PART I


Every now and again I find an artist whose work resounds so strongly in my soul that I can't paint or draw for days. I don't understand why this happens to me. Maybe it's because I'm basking in the amazing awesomeness of their work, and I can't quite figure out how I will ever draw or paint something satisfactory again. In any case, I like having these slightly weird yet wholly consuming experiences. My brain is filled with their work for days on end! I'm like a crazy maniac, heehee. Once again, thanks to ever-vigilant Supersonic Electronic for the reminder of today's featured artist.


My recent obsession is Canadian artist Alexandra Levasseur. I am crazy about the raw energy, sketchy quality, funky shapes, and use of negative space in her paintings of girls. Oh, the bright colors! Oh, the way the floral patterns are absorbed seamlessly into the figures! The super-contemporary scrawl of shapes and letters! You should read about her drawing a day project and the interesting meaning behind these glum-looking ladies. I also identify with the theme, since lethargy and dull moods are often an obstacle I have to overcome, as well. Though I have nothing like her excuse of a frigid Canadian winter ^^


Alexandra sells prints and originals of many of the paintings you see on her site. Add her Etsy shop to your favorites, on the pronto. I command it!

Check out my interview with sweet Alexandra below.


J: Your style is a super unique mixture of detail and rough, sketchy style. How did you develop it? Have you always painted like this?

A: I don't really know HOW I did develop it.... I think it is just my natural way of creating images: half well planned, half spontaneous and emotional. This "style itself" certainly strengthens the concepts of contradiction and bipolarity that are always present in my work. I didn't always paint like this, I have been experimenting throughout the years and I am still!


J: I see that you are Canadian but studied in Costa Rica and Spain. Why did you decide to go there? What influence did these countries have on your style?

A: I left Canada at the age of 18, to do a one-year student exchange to learn spanish in Costa Rica: I've always been attracted to latin-american countries. I eventually decided to stay there to study a B.A. in Fine Arts / Graphic Design. After that, I went to Barcelona to specialize my career by completing a postgraduate in Illustration.

Ten years of tropical climate and wild nature of Costa Rica versus hard cold seasons of Canada and all the differences between some cultural aspects do influence my work on a daily basis.... for sure! I think it may have influenced more my themes and ideas than my style. Barcelona was indeed very inspirational for being a city full of art/artists.

J: Your "one drawing a day" project is amazing and your ideas seem endless. What inspires you to keep thinking of fresh imagery for your work?

A: My "one drawing a day" project kind of turned into "3 drawings a week" project because I started to add more and more details and plan better each one, etc.... But still it is a spontaneous and everyday work.  

My starting point for each piece is always the mood of the moment: the emotion i want to communicate either through the eyes of my characters, their face or the body language. I always try to find the way to link it with the weather conditions of the day/week and try to add some content that will tell a little story to the viewer. My work is very personal, it reflects childhood memories and nostalgia, love, lonelyness, etc.... And I'm obsessed with floral textiles, wall papers, fabrics of any kind....... ! As a part of my process I take a lot of photographs to use as references and I cut out magazine parts or images found on the internet, make a big collage out of this to put together my ideas and then draw it on paper. 

In part II, you'll be able to hear a little more from Alexandra and see some exclusive, super-special work-in-progress pics from the artist herself! Until next time, <3 JUURI