Artist Spotlight Series: Jaime Rovenstine

This artist extraordinaire is the latest in my continuing Artist Spotlight Series featuring the best and brighting artist stars on the rise. I know you will fall in love with the organic creations of Jaime Rovenstine just as I have. 

Jaime Rovenstine

Kansas City, Missouri

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 What is your training? 

I have a BFA in Fine Arts from Columbia College Chicago.  

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I have a lot of my early college paintings in my basement, and it’s interesting to look at them, because I can tell where I was trying to go with them, but I just hadn’t quite figured it out…  (Not to say I have it all figured out now.) My paintings have certainly evolved since college. I think I have become a much better painter over time.     

What inspires you and your designs?

First and foremost, color. All my paintings start with a color scheme, usually of just 3-4 colors. I see color palettes everywhere. In nature, fashion/home magazines, style blogs, in movies. I went to Mexico last summer and was struck by my bright red nail polish against the aqua blue-green of the ocean. That color combo inspired a painting I finished recently, Jellyfish in a Trifle.

Jellyfish in a Trifle 30x30

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The forms in my paintings are most inspired by natural organisms and biospheres. I have come to see my paintings as small windows into some sort of dream-world. Some paintings feel like they’re underwater, some out in space, some in the mountains.  

After color, I mainly rely on intuition. I just start painting and see what  happens.  Each brushstroke informs the next.

What is your favorite piece? 

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Seven, which was painted in 2012, has always remained a favorite. I feel like it has a solid composition and these hidden, delicate details that you have to see in person to really appreciate. I  always want my work to look good from a distance, but to get even better up close.

How has the your area influenced your work?

I can’t say that where we live has influenced my work aesthetically, but I do know that being in Kansas City has allowed me the opportunity to show my work in a way that may not have been possible in Chicago or New York. The art scene is just smaller here. Artists are supportive of each other. A lot of collaboration happens.

What is your favorite restaurant in (your city)?

Lulu’s Thai Noodle Shop, hands down. The answer is always, “YES, I do want to go to Lulu’s.”

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Also, Succotash for brunch. Westport Café for happy hour snacks/drinks.

What is your favorite cocktail?

At home, an Old Fashioned or a Manhattan. I enjoy spirit-forward sippers (i.e. boozy).

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At a bar…I usually ask for whatever the bartender recommends. The cocktail scene in Kansas City is blowing up right now. Manifesto, Ca Va, Voltaire, Julep, The Campground…this city is full of amazing bartenders and they’re putting KC on the map!

 How do you balance personal life and work?

I don’t. But I have to say, I don’t really buy into “balance” anymore. It’s just impossible.

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I actually work full-time at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, in addition to painting.  I paint during the evenings and on weekends. When I’m preparing for a show, balance is non-existent. I work all day, and paint all night. I don’t have much time to see anyone and I don’t get much sleep or eat well.   After a show, I allow myself a good break to see my people and read and do whatever I want. Sometimes, I don’t paint again for a month. It’s a rhythm that I have fallen into and works for me right now.

More than finding a balance between personal life and work, I’ve had to learn the balance between a disciplined art practice and rest. At some point I got the idea in my head that if I wasn’t in the studio, making something every day, I wasn’t a true artist. I‘ve come to realize this is just not true for my life. I live in seasons. I’ll have a few months that are busy and hard and productive and this will wane into a slower time, where I can paint if I’m feeling it, or I can invest my time in other things that bring me life. As hokey as it sounds, I’m trying to learn to honor my feelings and what my heart needs in the present moment.

Dream trip?

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Today…probably Italy. Or Greece. Or La Rochelle, France (where my mother’s side of the family  immigrated from.)   I’m in a constant state of wanderlust.

Dream commission?

Anything for Emily Henderson or one of her design projects.  

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Or for Tina Fey. Because, Tina Fey.

Or Mindy Kahling.  I think she’d be into my work. Have you seen her instagram? Her clothes are amazing. She is a total color explosion.  Mindy, if you’re reading this, hit me up.

Your favorite host / hostess gift to give?

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A small plant or a bottle of wine. Whatever I can pick up at the store on the way there…

Who is your style icon?

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At the risk of sounding incredibly American-girl-cliché…French women in general.  A girlfriend and I went to Paris a few months ago and we just marveled at the chic street style. (And tried to take as many inconspicuous photos as we could…) That gamine, tomboy-yet feminine, effortless thing they manage to pull off so well…obsessed. Although my paintings are really colorful, my closet is mainly black, gray,  and camel (camel? butterscotch? you know, that rich beige color.) With jeans. Add red-lipstick. Done.   

Your favorite up and coming artist?

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Hope Gangloff.

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Kirra Jameson.

 What is your most treasured possession?

I have a box with all the emails and letters my husband and I exchanged when we were first dating. We call it the emo box.  We were young and besotted. I love it.  We’re celebrating our 9th anniversary in July. I’m 28. You do the math.

What are you reading?

I just finished The Goldfinch by Donna Tart. I absolutely hated it. I don’t understand why it is so popular.

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I’m now about halfway into A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which I’ve had on my to-read list for the past ten years. It’s such a sweet book!  Next up…I’m re-reading the Harry Potter series with my teenage sisters.

 What are you listening to?

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The Radio Department, New Order. 80’s new wave. Dream Pop. And Beyonce.

The Ricky Gervais show podcasts. I’ve been obsessed with Karl Pilkington since 2006. Here’s a fun fact: most of my paintings are titled after Karl Pilkington quotes.  He is completely non-sensical, which lends itself well to titling abstract paintings.

 What are your favorite blogs / publications?

Blogs…

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Cup of Jo,

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Style by Emily Henderson,

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Oh Happy Day,

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Bleubird Blog,

Oh Joy, SF Girl By Bay, Design Sponge, Sprudge (my husband works in the coffee industry.)

I’m not much of a magazine reader,  because they’re just instant-clutter.  

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But I’ve received Country Living for the past several years. My mom keeps re-subscribing me.  It’s actually less country and more contemporary living. They feature Etsy sellers and great homes and designers (like Emily Henderson.)

Domino-Magazine-Spring-20141-1000x618 I’m also pretty excited that Domino is back!  

Other than that…it’s just books and npr.org.

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Here are just a few of Jaime’s amazing works…

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photo 2 in-process

photo 3 in-process detail

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Bungled in

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