Interview with Jennifer Bothast (Part 1)

When did you first decide to become an artist and why?
I’ve wanted to be an artist since I can remember. I think I have always had this innate need to create, evident even from when I was a small child. I think being an artist is something you are born as, not something you strive to be. It has to do with an awareness more than a career choice.

Who and what are your influences ( ie other artists, friends, family, a tragedy) ?
One of my favorite paintings is Duchamps’ Nude Descending a Staircase. I am fascinated with trying to not just capture the light as in impressionism, or emotion as in abstract expressionism, but the fluidity of movement and the quality of the line as it defines a space. I am influenced by the stained glass windows I remember walking past in church every Sunday and the depth of emotion I felt in tracing the stations of the cross. I wanted to take that feel of the sharp edges of colored glass and humanize it with more depth and warmth. I paint as a form of self-healing. It is self discovery at its finest. I often don’t even realize I am dwelling on something until I recognize it in one of the paintings.

You use the female figure in many of your paintings, what draws you to this subject?
Again, a lot of this has to do with the quality of the line, the curves, and the fluidity of movement. Plus, I think there is probably a deeper obvious connection in portraying myself as I’ve moved though this journey in my life.

Freedom dancerWhat was your inspiration for “Freedom Dancing”?
Freedom Dancing is one of my happiest pieces. I started this just as I was falling in love with someone new. Yes, there is a sense of music and dance, movement and wonder, but under that is all that excitement you get in a new relationship. It’s almost like a sense of euphoria.

What are you working on currently?
I just finished “Walls And Windows” a couple weeks ago. Usually, I only work on one piece at a time. I get so absorbed in how I feel with that one particular piece. I couldn’t imagine moving onto something else. It would be similar to having an affair in a committed relationship. I know that probably sounds insane, but I really get very emotionally involved in a lot of my work. I’m still in the infancy stages of a new sketch that will eventually be transformed into a painting I know I will call “Just Driving Through.”

Where did you learn to draw and to paint?
I’ve always drawn, always. I think my parents paid for private lessons when I was in grade school and middle school. Then, I went to a magnet high school where I majored in Fine Art and I briefly went to Ringling School Of Art and Design. All of that said, I’m learning a lot now just from experimenting with my own work and pushing myself in different directions. I really want to experiment more with textures and try to expand into much larger pieces. Each one fuels the next.

What do you do when you’re not creating art?
I work in a skilled nursing facility in the rehab department near Jacksonville and I am doing the best I can to raise my three children as a single parent. It’s always a juggle, and there’s never enough time in the day, but I paint for me because I have to. I need it as much as I need food and shelter and human connections.

What is your favorite subject to draw or paint?
Even though a lot of my work showcases human figures, the work itself is really more about following myself along my path of emotions and beliefs. The most important visual imagery has to do with the line, color, and composition. The reference to physical beings is secondary to the message.

What do you like most about the art you create?
I like the boldness and spiritual freedom I feel in a lot of the pieces. It’s really important to me that there is movement across the canvas. It is absolutely a process of self-discovery. I guess what I’m saying is the part I like the most is in the act of the creation itself.

Where can patrons see and purchase your artwork?
Right now my work is back home with me and can be seen and purchased through the web. My work is currently on display through I also often set up a few pieces to exhibit at the Jacksonville Artwalk, which is held on the first Wednesday of every month in Hemming Plaza, in downtown Jacksonville. Since I have only recently considered getting my work out there, I am now applying to other art exhibits in the area. I have my fingers crossed.

Jennifer’s Artist Page on Art eXposed


One thought on “Interview with Jennifer Bothast (Part 1)

  1. Pingback: Art eXposed » Blog Archive » Interview with Jennifer Bothast (Part II) : Promoting Artists

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