VAM 34 Artist Profile | Simon Jensen

Simon Jensen, Urinal, oil on canvas, 62 x 77 cm

Keep up to date on Simon’s art through the following websites: |

1. Tell us about the artwork you have in VAM 34. Give us an idea of the conceptual framework you used in creating this piece. What inspired it? Why did you choose to use that particular medium? Why that particular perspective, set of colours, subject matter, etc 

The oil on canvas Urinal reflects my interest in interior spaces. I have no interest in creating images that “ask questions” without providing solutions; my interest lies in the visible world. It is a “reality” that I embrace, searching for images that are at once recognizable but often ignored.

The reference to Duchamp’s Urinal of 1917 is intentional and intended to be promote the ongoing discussion of the nature of art and the creative process.

2. How would you describe your creative process? What medium do you use most often and why?

My ideas undergo some scrutiny before being realized on paper as a drawing, then on canvas. For me, the image must have some relevance to the artistic community; it must also resonnate with those with little exposure to artistic language. Strange as it may sound, the creation  of a painting should be a struggle, and not come too easily in the process.

3. Art should be accessible. Agree or disagree? What does “accessible” mean to you? How can galleries make art accessible even to people who’ve never been to an art gallery? If you disagree, why?

I wholeheartedly support accessible art, by which I mean comprehensible on some level by anyone. Ironically, since Duchamp’s Urinal the artistic community has embraced the idea of “anti-art” as art, and novelty as a sufficient criterium. I define art as something  conceptual (addressing an idea) as well as the result of craft (a skill honed with practice).

To illustrate with an analogy, anyone who can follow a recipe is a cook, and anyone who can create a recipe is a chef. Yet anyone can appreciate the chef’s skill on some level, whether simply to satisfy hunger or to enjoy the cultural experience.

It is true that some art is more difficult to de-code  than others. I believe that the gallery could embrace the role of translater, interpreter and educator, to the benefit of the gallery-going public. It is no secret that some art “preaches to the choir” while leaving others out in the cold. (apologies for the mixed metaphor)

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