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contemporary american artist Marcus Antonius Jansen

::: bio/statement
::: expressionist paintings
::: artist interview

"Artists are no longer bound to Galleries for sales in the 21st Century as long as Internet is available to the masses for free, which I am almost certain will change one day soon."
Marcus Antonius Jansen

American expressionist artist American Urban Artist Interview

marcus jansen

Marcus Antonius Jansen Artist Interview - August 2006

+1 ::: Why are you an artist Marcus?

I do not know why humans were created as artists. I don't believe this is a decision one actually makes, rather a calling or a recognizing that we are all artists in some way shape or form. I just happen to be one of those individuals who have found that calling within me and pursue it professionally while being accepted by others for doing so.

+2 ::: Could you tell us some more about your paintings?

My paintings are mixed media works on largely canvas but not solely. They are works that are a depiction of my own soul and thoughts using vague gestures of the urban environment that is constantly in a change of decay or rebuilding, as a platform or stage to communicate to others. They are a cross between various Expressionistic approaches such as Abstract Expressionism, Expressionism, Graffiti art, Digital elements and pop art. I deemed them Modern Urban Expressionism.

+3 ::: A lot of artists paint pretty landscapes or nudes, so why do you paint the urban landscape? Do you see beauty in the dark back streets of the city?

The Urban landscape is this century's center of happenings, good and bad. It is also where most of us have to be associated with at one point in order to survive and make money. The Hopi Indians refer to the Urban environments as "Prairies of Stone". Beauty is everywhere if we just pay attention, indeed this is probably one of my key messages in the work. Even a "dark back street" can be fascinating, in fact may bring out more character than a classic pretty landscape where everything is "perfect" or what the majority perhaps considers "pretty" to be.
Life is perception and with my work it allows us to explore other perceptions. Being that a lot of artists as you mentioned paint pretty landscapes, it was not of interest to me to do the same.

+4 ::: What artists have influenced you, and how?

Probably more than I know, however the Urban landscape itself has been a huge inspiration. As I see it it as a collective art piece of mankind on a huge concrete canvas where everyone has a voice. Either through Billboards, Graffiti art, posters, you name it, we are all represented in this environment of expression. First influences have certainly been Graffiti artists in New York in 1970's while I resided there and how this form of expressive art changed the landscape of urban America and now the world cities that include romantic cities like Paris France, Amsterdam Holland etc. Robert Rauschenberg, Hundertwasser, Jackson Pollock, Pablo Picasso, Dali, and Jean Michel Basquiat were also influences. Pretty much the best in their field have inspired me.

+5 ::: What other interests do you have (besides painting)?

My family. I have a beautiful wife and two beautiful sons. We are fortunately able to spend a lot of time together due to my being at home and working from home in my studio. I like soccer and various forms of art, music, performing arts, etc. We are a very artistically open minded family.

+6 ::: What inspires you to paint and how do you keep motivated when things get tough in the studio?

I get inspiration from anywhere now a days. My works is in many ways biographical. People that know me know that much of my past is in my work. Infact it would be safe to say that you can always find me in my work through various characters that represent a certain mood or situation. With that, I hope that others build a dialogue trough the work. The daily News inspires me, since we are so hammered with it these days, much of it being distorted news or not quite accurate news, I try to dig for facts from various "reliable" sources and come up with my own interpretation through art of what I feel about the subject, to serve as a voice rather than just a pretty picture on the wall. This is a time where artists should focus on the now and act as their own voice rather than just painting for the industry in my opinion.

+7 ::: How have you handled the business side of being an artist?

By now I have gotten use to it, after almost ten years. I also have support from my wife who occasionally does the administrative side as well as responds to emails etc. We have a publisher in Seattle and a copyright agent in New York City that handles licensing as well as two Permanent Galleries, one in Beverly Hills Los Angeles and the first solely committed Jansen gallery in Paris France. We work with famous auctioneers in France and have much local support.
Since I knew nothing about the business of art when we started professionally ten years ago, I was able to learn what needs to be learned from scratch. This allowed me to make many learning experiences that I used as opportunities to expand my knowledge of the contemporary art scene and market.
I am now quite comfortable with what we have accomplished. We have International clients and sell a majority of my work online from In addition we are collected by Museums internationally and many consider us as leaders in the contemporary Urban art movement that has been boiling for quite some time on an underground level. We are proud to have been one of the first in visual art that were actually online selling urban work in this genre since 1997. At that time there very few artists that were making a living online that we encountered and there was no other "urban works" available. You can find it everywhere now. My first book is being released in November 2006, it will be available online and this will be another step in the forward direction.

+8 ::: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Within the next ten years I envision us to have a Marcus Antonius Jansen Gallery besides the one in Paris now and will be in Various more Museum collections around the world.

+9 ::: What's the best and worst parts of being a full time, working artist?

Best, is you see your family all the time and have no one to answer to except your wife and kids :-)
Worst, you don't get out as much anymore, unless you make it a point to go out and meet people. You also have to be productive at all times, but isn't it like that anywhere?.

+10 ::: What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?

The same way you craft your art piece is the way you will have to craft your career. Artists are no longer bound to Galleries for sales in the 21st Century as long as Internet is available to the masses for free, which I am almost certain will change one day soon. You are your own business person. Do not sign your work away. Make sure you keep the rights over your work. It is yours!

More artist information can be found at the website of the artist.. Marcus Jansen
View more artist interviews at here.. Painter Interviews

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