Color Junkie: The Art of Jaimee Todd Thursday 03 November, 2011

Inkblot

A self-proclaimed “color junkie,” Jaime Todd‘s work is  bright, lively and, just makes you feel good. In fact, many have described her paintings and inkblots as therapeutic. Jaimee brings her creative sunshine to artistic venues across New York including the New York Mercantile Exchange, St. Francis College, Climate Gallery and Broadway Suites, LLC. I wondered […]

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Jaimee Todd

A self-proclaimed “color junkie,” Jaime Todd‘s work is  bright, lively and, just makes you feel good. In fact, many have described her paintings and inkblots as therapeutic. Jaimee brings her creative sunshine to artistic venues across New York including the New York Mercantile Exchange, St. Francis College, Climate Gallery and Broadway Suites, LLC.

I wondered how so much of Jaimee’s work could be so full of joy when so many artists create out of the pain they see in the world and themselves. Here, Jaimee explains how her most soothing pieces were created out of frustration, creative inspiration and linking art and social good.

I like your inkblots. How did the idea for using them come about? What inspires your choice of color in them?

Untitled Inkblot

An artist by the name of Margaret Peot wrote about how artists can use inkblots as an art form in a do-it-yourself book and on her blog. I had seen her designs in person and was fascinated by the endless possibilities. Like many other artists, she typically worked in black and white but I preferred to experiment with different colors and paintbrush techniques and came up with some really exciting images.

Totem Pole

Initially,  I wasn’t trying to make any type of commentary with the inkblots; I just created them because I liked the way they looked but then I really became fascinated by what people would see. I became curious as to why they saw different things in the same image and what motivated them to see those images. Interestingly, people tend to get self-conscious about what they’re supposed to see when they look at the inkblots. At a recent art fair, some people seemed nervous that I was trying to trick them or psychoanalyze them.

I think the choice of color is more of a reflection of who I am more so than the actual patterns. I love bright, energetic colors and I’m a pretty energetic person. Even though the inkblots are a bit of a departure from the painting style, I think the color choices make them very much me.

Untitled Inkblot

For the most part, it seems that your work is aesthetically pleasing and, I like how it makes me feel calm. Do you ever create out of frustration or anger or ever try to communicate that through your art?

Some of my more soothing works were created when I was particularly angry or frustrated and they were a way of calming my nerves. I painted Duality when I was in my last year of law school, which was a very trying time for me and I was looking for a way of acknowledging my conflicting feelings about school while trying to find my emotional center. Occasionally, though, I just have to let it out. Medea was created when I was getting fed up reading about hearing about women being abused, neglected or mistreated while I was dealing with my own personal obstacles with sexism.

Duality

I also like your piece of the Yoruba Goddess Yemaya. What inspired that painting?

Yemaya

A good friend of mine that practices Santeria told me about Yemaya (or Yemoja). I really loved learning about this powerful African goddess and wanted to paint her not only to represent her significance but also the power, beauty and vitality of black women.

How do you think your femininity influences your work?      

I think women are very complex and often struggle with  how to define their own sense of femininity against societal expectations. My feminist pieces like Medea and Duality show how a woman can be nurturing and fiery, exuberant and melancholy all at the same time without it being an issue.

Medea

Linking art and social good is also important to you. Can you tell us about how you’ve used your art for positive change?

I like to create art around certain topics to raise awareness about  very important issues and a portion of my sales proceeds often go towards those causes. When the Haitian earthquake happened, I sold the Haiti prints online and at silent auctions to raise money for Wyclef Jean’s Yele foundation. I also sold prints of Medea to raise money and awareness towards finding a cure for Triple Negative   Breast Cancer, a disease that seems to target young black women. I would also like to create pieces centered around the Troy Davis execution and the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I’ve really gotten into photography over the past year and really enjoy the   endless possibilities that it opens up for creative expression. It’s fascinating how my background as a painter has really contributed to developing my photographer’s eye.

Finally, what does living unchained mean to you?

Living unchained means having the courage to pursue your own bliss and express it without being constrained by what other people feel you ought to prefer.

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