I recently visited the studio of the Brooklyn artist Jake Messing to get a glimpse into the life of a full-time working artist in New York City. Jake was recently commissioned to sell a series of paintings at Bergdorf Goodman, the paintings are now on view on the Decorative Home floor on 7. The new Loft installation is a theme based loosely on a overgrown French Chateau showcasing a large collection of the Frédérique Morrel needlepoint animals.
The subject matter in Jake's paintings are lush and robust, Dutch Masters style still life paintings with a modern twist. I especially love the insects and vermin that creep throughout the beautiful elements. Continue reading to learn more about Jake as an artist and of course, enjoy!
400 SQ FT | 1 RM | WALK UP | STUDIO | WILLIAMSBURG, BROOKLYN
Years in space: 2.5 yrs
Favorite Medium: Oils and Acrylics....and watercolors....and graphite
Favorite Subject Matter: The surreal - anything that twists your brain a bit and questions what you're looking at.
Where did you study: Parsons School of Design
How long have you been an artist full time: 6 years
Your studio is in a great location, how did you find it? Through an old friend who had been in the space for years and an opening came up at the right time.
Where were you working before? I had a gorgeous studio in Red Hook, Brooklyn - directly on the water and perfect views of the Statue of Liberty.
Why did you leave? What were the deciding factors to move? Hurricane Sandy hit and completely wiped out the studio. I lost a lot of art and chose to move to "higher ground."
The collaboration with Bergdorf Goodman is a recent venture, but you have worked with other brands in the past, can you please list the other companies that you have partnered with, as well as some projects that you may worked on? Yes. I worked with Tiffany & Co. for about 4 years creating original artwork and graphics for their windows and in-store experience globally. I have also worked doing windows displays and original art/illustration for Nike, Harry Winston, Van Cleef & Arpels, Mrs. John L Strong (no more), Cynthia Vincent and the Brooklyn Public Library to name a few.
Tell me about this series: It is inspired by the Dutch Masters. I was drawn to the decadence, darkness, detail and overall traditional beauty of their work. I tried to emulate that style as much as possible and still put my own twist on it. The flowers in the pieces all bloom at different times of the year, and the feathers are from birds from different regions of the world. Each piece has an element of hidden yet imminent danger to them. I enjoy that dance between beauty and danger.
Where did you look to for resources and inspiration? I found most of my reference images online. I went to the Met a few times to see some of the original Dutch Masters work in the flesh.
Any specific detail or details that you find to be your favorite within these paintings? I love the "dark" or "dangerous" elements to them. i.e. - the snakes/wasps/rats etc. that lurk slightly beneath the beautiful veneer.
Any upcoming exhibitions or installations? I am presently showing in an Art Fair in the Netherlands and am working on getting a solo show with a gallery there in September.
Favorite Museum: Museum of Natural History
Favorite place to go for inspiration: The ocean, my sketchbook, and google
Favorite Art Galleries: Jonathan Levine, Lyons Weir, Driscoll Babcock, Paul Kasmin to name a few.
Any activities that you do as an artist for fun, that you would suggest other creative people to do? I got to a bunch of obscure classes at Brooklyn Brainery and through Coursehorse.com
"Last Voluptuous Moments" 36 x 42 | "Blue Apetition", 36 x 42 | "Thin Paper Veil", 36 x 42
The paintings will be on view until June 10, 2015
The Frédérique Morel loft and paintings by Jake Messing will be on view at Bergdorf Goodman until June 10, 2015. I recommend that you see this exhibit sooner than later, as they're all one of kind pieces.
Lastly, if you'd like to learn more about Jake, you can see he & his finance's home tour [here].