Artist Interviews 2022
By Laura Siebold
Jamy Kahn is a fine artist whose art expresses thoughts and ideas, energetically woven into a thought process. In her interview, Jamy talks about her early exposure to art, her fascination of abstract art, and the role of the female in her art. We learn about how the pandemic has influenced her art, and important moments in her career. Jamy Kahn is based in Los Angeles, California.
Your masterful technique of blending colors, shapes, and words defines your signature style. How did you develop your unique style and what fascinates you about the profession of the fine artist?
I developed my unique style through the art of traveling very deeply emotionally inside myself over many years, and uncovering what was there. Thoughts are like dreams, in that they are protoplasmic, and we “program” them through our existing ideas and belief systems. I employ both psychology and spirituality to communicate some of these essential sensibilities to others.
You state that your work is a visual representation of emotions, thoughts, and ideas.
Can you explain to us how you symbolize the “thought process” in your paintings and 3-dimensional art objects and how the whole collection of your work can be read as a story?
I am fascinated by the capacity of paint to move and flow and change shapes and forms. Paint can configure into realistic or imaginary objects and patterns which replicate organic, microscopic, even molecular structures. People report seeing curious shapes and creatures in my art. In my mind, thoughts are made up of energetic components - which reflect everything we see and experience. How does an experience we have as a “thought form,” join with another thought and then another, becoming a “thought process?” In this way I imagine what a thought might look like if it were physical. My “Story” pieces speak of sequential actions and / or thought patterns, which become our habits.
We are curious about your background. Did art play a role in your upbringing? When and where did you decide to dedicate your professional life to art?
My parents were art collectors of primarily Impression and Post Impressionism. They were also kind enough to hang my art work on the walls, along with the famous artists which they collected! My home was filled with musicians from all over the world, who often gave piano or violin concerts in our house.
There was much culture of all kinds in my early years. This is also what inspired me to learn several languages, to which I make reference in my pieces and in my titles. I love plays on words, and sometimes it seems fitting to name a particular piece in another language due to its meaning in that form.
My background is in architectural design as well as in fine art. I built baby cities and did art as a child. I went into art because of what I can make and because abstraction speaks to me as a language in and of itself. I can “read” abstract art and seem to understand it, and want to take it further in its presentation and theory, working through the subconscious mind.
In your opinion – what is the voice of the artist and how can we utilize art to change people’s perspectives on the spoken and unspoken truths of our existence?
Art reaches inside, reflecting the artist as well as an individual’s personal response to a piece of work. I actually made a painting named “VOIX”( Voice) because of how important communication is to me. Self expression is great but listening to what others have to say is even more important, so that we can connect! So why do most people prefer talking, rather than listening? I wish to bring people together, in my life and through art. People need to pay attention to, as well as be responsible for what they are saying to one another. One of my favorite quotes is, “Life and death are in the power of the tongue.”
Many of your pieces, most notably your “A WOMAN SHOULD NEVER BE TOO THIN OR TOO HUNGRY” collection is heavily influenced by the female body. The “Notre Dame Du Choix” busts you exhibited at the LA Art Show in January 2022 pays attention to the beauty and stature of the female shape and highlights the freedom of choice.
Which role does the female play in your artwork? What influenced your choice of the title for your collection?
In the last century, it was Wallis Simpson who stated: "YOU CAN NEVER BE TOO RICH OR TOO THIN". This unfortunate concept of a person, particularly a woman, helped to frame a woman’s body as imperfect and never good enough. And this idea inserted itself into our thinking as a culture, affecting so many females of all ages and damaging their body image. So I was inspired to make a painting which I called ”A Woman Should Never Be Too Thin Or Too Hungry,” as a response to the impact which Wallis Simpson’s saying had on those who took it to heart. The print of the original acrylic painting on canvas ended up in a lot of famous peoples’ collections around the country, at the time of its first publication.
The different collections showcased on your website touch many social topics and inequalities. The collection “BREAK/2020” displays a wide variety of single-use, non-recyclable items, and seems to criticize waste and overconsumption.
As the collection was created in 2020, within the high of the pandemic, is there more to it than what we can see on the surface of the artwork?
EXHIBITING “BREAK 2020” at the L.A. Art Show was a most informative learning experience for me. I so much enjoyed hearing the myriad of comments people shared about the piece, each with his or her very unique and different interpretation of this combined. Yes, the meanings of this piece can be many. And Covid definitely influenced my composition which displays the rubber gloves, the mask up in top right corner, etc.
I believe that there is or was the physical Covid, and then there was the psychodynamic Covid. No matter what, each person was affected by the PROCESS of what Covid meant to them and to their families. My newest series of work, entitled “People In Doorways” relates to Break 2020. This series of combines is very exciting and definitely continues the conversation about the effects of this last two years on all of our lives.
How do you utilize language in your High Spirits, Rites of Passage and Creation Series and how do these three series relate to each other? Elaborate.
These series titles describe the nature of “Process.” We tend to think too much about the object and end result of what we say we want to have, do, or be. And yet it is only through embracing the nature of the” Process” involved in getting somewhere, that we do in fact achieve a desire or goal. Our major learning or lesson seems to occur during process, through experiencing our goal as a lot more than just a projection of a want, need, or desire. When we fight this truth, we are out of alignment with the core design of that for which we are aspiring, which involves following the pathway in front of us, step by step.
Have you ever collaborated with another artist during your career and what was the outcome of the collaboration? In your opinion – what is the greatest opportunity that arises from collaboration?
In 1986 I was scheduled to have a show with Andy Warhol in Beverly Hills. It was a collaboration of his recent work, and mine as well. Unfortunately, Warhol passed away one month before the show. But the owner and curator of the Stella Polaris Gallery saw a meaningful relationship in our imagery and concepts.
I also provided the artwork at the James Doolittle Theatre in Hollywood during the 1980’s, to accompany Lily Tomlin’s one woman play, “The Search For Intelligent Life In The Universe.” (My paintings graced the lobby as well as the upstairs bar/lounge areas). It was a lot of fun to be able to participate in these and other opportunities, especially to meet the people involved.
What is the collection or artwork you’ve created within your career span of over 35 years that you’re most proud of and why?
I am always learning from my artwork, each body of manifestation being an expression of what was going on at that time. I am most excited about making my current series, “People In Doorways,” and “Cities In Doorways.”
What is the inspiration behind your art, its message, and what challenges does it pose for the viewers? What are your plans for a future series?
My mission statement is “To support and uplift the spirits of others.” This means that I wish for people to accept and embrace their deeper feelings, within the sacred personal journey of realizing their own greater purpose in life.
Kindly contact Kourtney Hunter, Jamy Kahn’s Art Representative, for inquiries:
PHONE 501 400-3397