Art & Culture

GRAVITATING TOWARDS THE SURREAL WITH ARTIST JAMIE LEE REARDIN

I’m captivated by haunting images but can’t bear to watch horror films. I gravitate towards the surreal and shy away from conventional ideals of beauty. I draw long necks and large ears, sunken eyes and deep-set scowls. 

 The early 90’s was when it began, with drawings of characters from favorite Disney films. I forced myself to draw freehand while referencing images on the backs of my VHS collection. I never traced. Tracing made the character lose its magic. 

 Cruella De Vil was the villain who captured my heart. Something about her boney physique, overly arched eyebrows, and overall madness has lingered with me for years. Her influence is evident in most of my work. 

 My subjects are generally women, occasionally men. Strong photography and powerful portraits garner my attention. Unusual faces are my muse. Women with oversized lips, wide-set eyes, prominent ears and unimpressed expressions spark my interest.

 My style evolves often, mostly due to boredom, yet key elements remain the same. 

 I enjoy experimenting with ink, watercolor, gouache, charcoal, markers and pastels. I choose my medium based on my mood and the nature of the project at hand. Drippy black ink is almost always involved.

 A special moment in my career was in 2015, when I attended the New York City Ballet’s Fall Gala during the time my illustrated campaign for the company was in use. Seeing my artwork on 40' banners and marquees sprawling across Lincoln Center is a moment in my career I will always treasure. 

-Jamie Lee Reardin