Sunday, June 10, 2007

Magazine Spread About Me!

Sweet Spread Bro!

Special thanks to Vicious Magazine (based in Miami) for the awesome spread. This will be my first (hopefully many more will follow) semi national exposure. Read the spread and feel free to leave comments.

In case you can't read the type (I know it is a bite small) here is the article:

"In the world of modern paintings one can find countless trends, styles, and gimmicks. From works that look like they were shipped straight from kindergarten, to found objects glued to a canvas, to panels painted hot pink accented with chicken feathers, it’s all there. Jeff Musser however, has not forgotten some of the lessons learned that many of his contemporaries have lost; skill and craftsmanship count. Form, composition, color, and technique are all paramount in his work. His diverse subject matter includes: floral still life, personal loss, issues of body image, tattoo-covered women’s backs, and his current projects – portraits of art icons like Wayne Theibaud and Mel Ramos to name a few. But throughout all his work, the 29-year-old exhibits a level of realism normally found only with 40-something heavyweight artists like John Currin for instance.

Born and raised in California, Jeff Musser transferred to the The Art Institute of Chicago and earned his B.F.A in early 2000. Upon graduation he thought that his daytime job, designing Happy Meals for McDonald’s, would leave him plenty of time to paint in the evenings. But once the economy tanked after 9/11, he was another face in the sea of jobless Americans with tons of free time. On the upside, he now had all day and all night to paint. On the downside he now had to deal with issues of rent, bills, supplies, food and how to overcome the much-romanticized notion of a starving artist. Despite literally being a starving artist living on food stamps while in Chicago, his tenacity paid off when the almighty Oprah commissioned a painting from him. 

In 2004, Jeff donated two paintings to the charity We Are the Future at a friends’ suggestion. One of the charity’s founding members, music legend Quincy Jones, was so impressed with the work; he invited Jeff to attend the foundations’ kick off concert in Rome Italy as an honorary guest. Jeff is now preparing for his third solo show set for August 2007 in his hometown of Sacramento California.

"I am heavily influenced by the techniques of old masters like Caravaggio, Velasquez, and Vermeer. I chose realism because it is the foundation of painting and the words “old masters” are used for a reason. I feel one must conquer the basics before going onto the next level of painting. I enjoy the challenge of taking a complicated form and breaking it down into simple brush strokes. 

The dark contrast between light and dark creates tension and helps me tell the story that my subject has to tell. Using paint to create a persons’ likeness and making it look like them is the easy part. The challenge, the task that all artists struggle with, is the intangible aspect. Paint just happens to be my chosen vehicle on how I convey my message. Placing oil paint in the right color combinations and getting the proportion just so, is just practice and tangible know how.

The real question is: how can I present my life experience or that of someone else on a flat surface, do it with depth, using only a brush and paint, and maintain the integrity of my subject matter AND not make a painting that falls apart at any moment?

Sometimes you succeed, but most times you don’t. I’m terrified yet exhilarated every time I begin a new project. The fear of failure keeps me motivated.”