Stimulated by literature and philosophy, Javed Jalil’s artistic pursuits started in his Los Angeles days. Certain situation and experience took him to a state of mind where he realized ‘art’. Hence, art for him is a process of anticipation, saturation and realization, where the artist works as a receptor and multitudes of reality intervene. Having his college degree in art from Kansas Bethany College in 1987, Javed Jalil later completed his academic training on a vast range of art-related disciplines in several reputed institutions in the United States. We recently had a chance to catch up with the artist and discuss his exciting new body of work.
Starting off, tell us a little about your childhood. How were you as a child?
I was born in Dhanmondi Dhaka, beside the mystic lakeside, which is how I put it. I did my schooling at Maple Leaf. My school days were filled with imaginary, curiosity and observation towards very ordinary things and life itself. I was always concerned and sensitive about my environment with lots of questions in my mind. I found my inner world relating to the outer into a state of confusion, seeking for a way to realize even not being totally aware of it. Observing strange reflection in the streets and the play of people is a timeless recall. School was a place I felt shy and absorbed, not being able to interact well. I was always seeking a way to merge, perceiving something that cannot be defined.
What has your experience been like studying in the United States?
I studied in Kansas and a few other Art schools in Los Angeles. But never could involve myself in the school system as I always had limitations with institutional procedures. At Kansas, I felt strange with lifestyle and the environment; it wasn’t filling for me but later in Los Angeles, I found myself more tuned.
What does your artwork represent?
I seek for forms from the shared reality of the virtual, synthetic and the physical. The human form, animals, insects and concrete structure stimulates me. I use male and female forms into an intertwined human agenda not only by the choice of sexes but also where the energies flow in reciprocal chemistry and create a human story where the fabrication is explored more internally and illusory can be structured visually.
Your art has a whimsical interplay of shapes and figures. Are the compositions pre-decided or are they spontaneous?
The interplay which takes place in my pictorial space is an incorporated animated scenario of thoughts. I put various elements which stimulate my pattern and rhythmic sensation into play almost like creating an artificial world that derives from the natural. I emphasize on intricate overture of lines and tonalities with colours as the atmospheric residue of my sensitivity. I reach for the energy of lines and impulsive connectivity almost like electricity passing through. So, the planning is just the association of motifs but the flow is intrinsic inner impulses moving spontaneously, creating its own journey.
I seek for forms from the shared reality of the virtual, synthetic and the physical.
You also have experience as an art critic. What is the ideology you follow while evaluating an art piece? What makes art good?
To me, the definition of art critic is not a process where art is evaluated to reach for a certain judgmental stature. Rather what I seek for is to awaken various perceptive roots and explore to bring them to light. It is almost re-inventing the visual into mirroring states of thoughts where the artist can realize and apprehend his work in diverse ways. What I do is create doorways to facilitate the viewer to heighten their ways of seeing and anticipating the work. By that, originality and creative process are dissected and the artist is revealed to an exploration of his or her worth of understanding.
Can you share with us the story behind some of your notable series like ‘The Linking Web’ and ‘Cryptic Monologue’
Cryptic Monologue and Linking Web are interrelated and amplified into one another, just how I like to put various motifs pushed in together in my work. It is a tendency to anticipate life, where there is no one single thing- everything is everything intertwined. It is the very moment focuses that enhances us to be engaged. Cryptic Monologue implies on a conversation with the self, where one finds absurdities, hallucination, worldly surroundings and many intrinsic thoughts that can never be uttered in general. We all go through that but are very cautious within us. I tried to bring out all this saturation of sensations from the external and virtual world and give structure and form within my visuals. So, it is unveiling the inner voices. In Linking Web, I focused on commuting in its various possibilities- how ones internal physical and chemical association effect ones thoughts absorbing from the external. How one unknowingly configures impulses into thoughts and reflects in the external. How one as an element of the environment correlates to these various micro bites of communication and rejoices his existence. This community of multitude connectivity is like a hub that interrelates with everything.
I have a tendency not to restrain myself into a particular theme because I feel the agenda derives naturally. I might start with certain reality topic or concept and discover later the outcome, where it takes me.
Does your work make a stance on current social and political issues?
One of the biggest objectives that I pursue is not keeping a black and white stand in anything. I like to question myself, doubt and be paradoxical to the concepts that concern my interest. Political, human religious and romance are associated with my work in a quest-full way to get closer to what things really are. It is like I chase the understanding which can take me to nature and the reality as it is. I urge to break the superficial and see things as many ways it is possible to experience.
Which artist do you look up to for inspiration?
I am very much interested in the artist’s life, his psychology and the process. In that spectrum, Picasso would be the first for his ability to intertwine life and art so intensely and on to Cezanne, Goya, Greco, Francis Bacon, Van Gogh, David Hockney, Rothko, Pollock and so on. It is the human spirit and enthusiasm that concerns me the most.
A large part of being a successful artist is having a deep understanding of the market. What would your suggestion be for young artists who want to earn a living through art?
Every Artist has to invent themselves from within. I think it is the relationship with oneself, I would put it, getting closer to the self is the primary. Also, knowing what one wants according to the certain personalities that they have created and inherited, which actually can differ according to the individual. Everyone is seeking an understanding of the market. As I said, it is the individual artist’s wish what kind of artist he wants to be, that is something to contemplate on. So, as I see it, to learn about the market and social connection is needed but this not the only means. Success is a versatile thing and demands very much so to one’s perception of need and also the outcome is a mystery. One has to do his art and one can always find other ways to accommodate his thriving. One person’s ways of success may not be applicable for someone else’s success but the understanding can help.
I like to question myself, doubt and be paradoxical to the concepts that concern my interest.
What is your opinion on the current art scene? How do you think technology and the internet are changing the way art is made, viewed, bought and sold?
In our present times, we are overly exposed to unlimited information. We are almost overwhelmed with too many directions to follow. As we are inclined to obsess on, that can lead us to greater possibilities or not being able to process can take us to realms of destruction. Ideas and concepts are like an everyday grocery store but how one will attain them, creating a connection with concepts and be as much real as possible with the self can be challenging. One has to train himself towards conscious awareness to balance himself and the trendy.
This is an era of Artificial intelligence and human nurturance. An artist has to feed in the artifice perfections and human frivolities into a blend of high mindedness, where art, science and all branches of information can be utilized by the artist with sensitivity and depth persuasion to enhance humanity, cherishing it within self and all frontiers. The artist has to intertwine together things with his own spirit and use technology as an extension of his senses.
The art scene is full of amazement but it is difficult to find artist seeking oneself into attainment of all these vast kaleidoscopic creative approaches. More of getting carried away with a herd mentality of acceptance and success, leading into a superficial approach.
Lastly, what are you currently working on?
I am using the motive Dragonfly in my work and various elements as the times I am living demands. The present states of surrounding the times we’re living with this invisible entity and insecurity- all these subtle and direct phenomenon are definitely leading me to expressions as my energy demands.
I have a tendency not to restrain myself into a particular theme because I feel the agenda derives naturally. I might start with certain reality topic or concept and discover later the outcome, where it takes me. To know the creation beforehand totally takes away fascination and possibility of something different and in all means, we could not achieve the replica of our thought. Imagination leads us to another climax of imagination. How close one can dig into a certain discovery is what that counts.