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Conversation between Jeffrey Millett and Olivia Ramos.

 

Jeffrey Millett

 

MILLETT: yo yo

 

RAMOS: heyya

 

how's it going?

 

ok

 

I'd like to start with the self portrait, only because it is such a huge jump, at least technically speaking, from our previous conversation about a previous self portrait.

 

ok lets do it

 

something particular about it?

 

Yes - particularly I see a shift in you with this new work, perhaps emotionally, perhaps strategically... not sure.

 

as if you are letting go of control of brush and outcome

 

would you agree?

 

emotionally, content wise yes

 

technically.. its far more precise in making - meaning the infrastructure or base of the painting is more 'refined' then over time

 

it changes as I work on it more

 

maybe that is where the letting go comes into play - i kinda work to destroy the representation of myself (literally) and rely on, an experience or moment

 

intuitively, refining and letting go is an oxymoron ... but maybe you mean you have refined the act of letting go?

 

I'm looking now at the first woman, the sad one with smaller breasts

 

it is hard to think refined but it is much more advanced technically.. maybe I'm not making any sense

 

its the process is contradictory but letting it play out is part exploring - my own experiences, feelings or emotions thru the application of paint

 

*the process is contradictory but letting it play out lets me explore

 

what do you mean by "the process is contradictory"?

 

meaning - having a solid structure for the painting allows me to play (technique-wise) with the paint

 

its creative destruction; the foundation allows for the build up of the paint and, the way i think about it

 

this offers opportunities to destroy or manipulate the image to how i see fit

 

working from photos i have something very finite for reference, a recording of an event

 

using that, i transfer for that to canvas, in what i referenced before as kinda of infrastructure - a base or foundation

 

this kinda sets the template for rest of the process to unfold over time

 

i feel like I'm rambling - does this make sense?

 

yes it does and it makes me curious about your choice of content

 

women and self portraits

 

 

 

 

 

these women are mostly strangers or don't even exist?

 

strangers, images i see that catch my eye or catch me in a moment or emotional state that makes me want to record the event

 

they act as an emotional depot

 

one could say a diary in a way

 

a record of an emotional response or documentation of an event in my life

 

hmm I've never heard you put it that way

 

this idea of a diary

 

a diary of responses to things you encounter

 

specifically women you encounter

 

coupled with self-portraits... I don't know, I feel like the high-level description is a bit broad

 

are the self-portraits part of the diary?

 

yes - all the self portraits I've named with a particular emotion or experience, or feeling attached to it

 

kinda dumb

 

not dumb

 

would you say this work is just for you?

 

the goal was to document 25 words that described my experience or feeling - then paint it

 

ha - that such a loaded question im not sure how to answer that

 

my painting have always been very personal

 

if others enjoy - then that is added benefit; i just feel like im recording my experience thru paint

 

even the women  it's less about them and more about me

 

as awful as it sounds

 

haha on that note, lets talk about "The Ugly"

 

 

 

what does that say about you?

 

a lovely accident haha

 

it kinda of haunts me this piece

 

me too - I mean this woman is something else

 

where did she come from?

 

and I don't mean what picture

 

I mean what emotion

 

what reaction

 

most of the images i paint from are these beautiful people, models, celebrities o my social media feeds

 

so when i save one to paint there something very raw that hits me - it could be desire, sex, pain, love, relief

 

so when i confront that 'image' it is less about what i or we see  or what that particular person or image they want to convey to the world

 

and instead i tackle this idea of the beautiful person with my own

 

with my own...

 

none of the above tells me anything about this piece

 

I am getting the feeling that you are playing safe a little

 

and perhaps in general

 

nah i mean why i have nothing to loose

 

i'm not trying to be coy or anything

 

sure but you are also not taking much of a risk

 

i don't see what you are getting at

 

I'll tell you

 

the way you describe the work, the subject matter as well, is relatively safe

 

allow me to define safe in this context

 

by safe I mean, there is nothing to argue against, there is nothing to discuss really, it is all too personal, too general, too meaningless in a way

 

at least in the way you describe it

 

am I wrong?

 

what are you passionate about?

 

round and round we go

 

hmm let me take a stab at "The Ugly" - if I had painted her, and perhaps part of me wishes I had - It would be about betrayal, about the hidden, about being seduced by a complete lie... could be that she was insecure... but I'll never know.

 

I didn't paint her and maybe I am projecting my own experience, which says some things about me... but that is the point no?

 

if these are about you... then what about you?

 

why is my narrative important? isn't it enough to have painted it - and let the viewer decide or even own the painting for whatever they want to make it

 

your narrative isn't possible if i define mine is it?

 

do you want me to identify with the painting or to identify with you?

 

let me ask you something - do you identify with Bacon or with any particular painting?

 

isn't it him and by identifying with him you love all his work?

 

aren’t you answering your question

 

yes I am - but I am asking you

 

by identifying with a painter, a film, a novel, etc. you then can relate to its author

 

you mean painting?

 

no i mean by relating to any creative work, you are identifying w its author to some degree

 

can you answer my question about Bacon?

 

don't you love him more than his work?

 

isn't Bacon and what he believed more powerful than any single work?

 

i wouldn’t agree w that; for me its about the work; the man is just a vessel, a medium

 

I'm not sure I believe you

 

the man had a purpose

 

of course

 

and his paintings speak to that purpose; recordings, documents - experiences

 

the purpose is a thing of it's own, a thing that could be discuss without the paintings... the recordings, documents, are merely artifacts - they are not experiences.

 

I am not going to ask what your purpose is - I am simply wishing we had such a thing to discuss

 

yes i don’t want to argue

 

I guess - I think you do have a purpose, but you don't want to articulate it

 

and in not doing so, it might have a hard time evolving

 

maybe not

 

you know you wouldn't try to get away with this in architecture school