The first things I notice when I look at Veronica Jaeger‘s paintings are the soulful gazes of her characters and the little but vivid details details. The reflections on the subjects/character’s eyes, the highlights on their lips and skin, their eyelashes, and the veins inside of their eyes. Combined with bold surrealistic elements, her works can leave lasting psychological impacts in our minds.
(Above) “Metamorphosis” (2016). Oil on canvas. 48″x 60″
Will you tell us a little more about yourself?
I was born and raised in Venezuela, and moved with my family to the US in 2000. I have been living in South Texas for the past fourteen years and it was here where I found the opportunity and the time to go back to school and study art formally, which was what I always really wanted to do. I have a bachelor’s degree in architecture (art was not an option back then), and that aspect have had a big influence in my work.
How did you become an artist?
As long as I can remember, I’ve always felt the need to express myself through art, particularly through drawing and painting. If the question refers to when I became a professional artist, I believe it was while I was attaining my MFA at UTPA. Many things became clearer to me. After graduating, I started practicing being a real artist and that is what I have being doing since then until today.
(Above) “Medusa” (2015). Oil on canvas. 10″x 10″
(Above) “Thirteen Weather Balloons” (2016). Oil on canvas. 60″x 40″
What is art to you?
Art is imagination, a personal sense of beauty, creativity, an escape from reality, and a communication of thoughts and feelings about anything.
Are you a full time artist? What’s your typical day like?
I am, if you leave out all of the freelance works I do, which also consume my time and energy. However, most days, I sketch and write ideas on my sketchbook, search for inspirations, read (a lot), and look at my favorite art books about my favorite classical and contemporary artists. When I feel I have enough ideas and happy with the compositions I make, I start the painting process (which is my favorite part). I generally work at two to three paintings at a time. I do all these while taking care of my family, which includes my pets and my two-year-old.
(Above) “Ant Woman” (2015). Oil on canvas. 48″x 24″
How do you describe your works?
They are imaginary portraits, mostly of women transforming, adapting, holding, or becoming something while merging with geometric elements. I see them as objects with a functional, timely, and limited use.
What are the most important aspects/components of your works?
Portraits, geometric elements, and the color combinations. And – sometimes – feet, strings, plastic ears, and clouds as well. I use them over and over to create different compositions in a consistent manner.
What are the things you try to show/communicate through your works?
My intention is to mock the palpable reality and its false sense of order, normalcy, security, and stability to generate a state of wondering and questioning about life and humankind, its possibilities, and complexities. There is a sense of absurdity, a doomed scenario of where we as humans are going, like nostalgia about the future if things continue in this destructive path, which is in our nature.
(Above) “Lunar Girl” (2015). Oil on canvas. 24″x 24″
(Above) “Lunar Girl” (2015). Oil on canvas. 24″x 24″
If you have to choose, which 3 artworks are your favorites? Please let me know the reason as well.
The Caryatids have opened up some possibilities for me to continue developing the concept in my future paintings. I see them as columns of an imaginary structure, like the caryatids in the Ancient Greek temples. I feel that they can go up or down, depending on how I rearrange them. And, “Stellar Girl” (see below), because I also see some potentials of developing it in other ways without losing its simplicity as a portrait. Plus, I like the color combination and the night sky . . . something that I have never tried before and I have always liked.
(Above) “Moon Caryatid 1” (2015). Oil on canvas. 40″x 30″
(Above) “Moon Caryatid 2” (2015). Oil on canvas. 40″x 30″
(Above) “Stellar Girl” (2015). Oil on canvas. 24″x 24″
How did you come up with the perfect titles for your works?
I have a small notebook where I keep a list (which I update constantly) of words and phrases that I like and I’ve read in books or listened somewhere. Sometimes the titles come first and the works later. It could happen the other way around as well.
What are the main sources of your inspirations?
Many things, but what inspire me the most are the things I read, and I mix them with the things I see. Such as: The weird beauty and colors of Netherlandish paintings , Rococo portraits, and Mannerism artworks. I also enjoy looking at the works of contemporary artists like George Condo and Alan Feltus, Latin American artists like Fernando Botero, Remedios Varo, Frida Khalo, and Alfredo Castaneda amongst others. Things that are geometric and architectural inspire me, too.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working in a series of new portraits for an upcoming local show. These portraits have more psychological connotations even though I’m still implementing the same elements that I normally use in my paintings. I will also be a part of a local group show at the Brownsville Museum of Art in Brownsville, TX. The title of the exhibition is “Un/Provincial: Art of South Texas”, and it will run from May 25 through August 7, 2016
(Above) “Martian Structure” (2015). Oil on canvas. 24″x 24″
(Above) “Circle Pox” (2015). Oil on canvas. 14″x 1″