J.E. Crum creates intensely vivid works using the method of automatism. The artist creates variations of the self-portrait with experiments in painting and drawing. Crum defines art to be a journey of self-discovery through personal narratives related to the philosophies and theories about fate, destiny and the meaning of dreams.
My art is an exploration of self, memories, emotions, and the light and dark of all things. My overall intent is to create artworks that express emotions and evoke strong feelings. In my work, I am not concerned with realism as much as I am with creating abstractions, exaggerating color and combining other imagery in a poetic manner. Meanwhile, I use the aesthetic experience as a relaxation technique, working intuitively to create my art, attempting to use the experience to cultivate creativity and just enjoy being ‘lost’ in the process, letting my mind wander within.
The Garden is a painting I created in 2017. I made this piece with liquid watercolors on hand-made printmaking paper, which allowed the paints to continue blending after I was finished. The areas I painted ran into each other as the wet paper began to dry, which abstracted the imagery I created. This technique lends itself to unpredictability I enjoy when creating my work; it also helps keep my ideas open for me to interpret as a fantasy artist.
As I created several portraits within the piece, I was painting these faces thinking about souls moving beyond life, passing on, as spirits venture into new realms. I found myself looking at the imagery that evolved in the piece as I studied it upon its final completion and I began to think about one of my favorite poems by William Cullen Bryant, Thantatopis. The poet proposed the idea that we should consider what nature has to say about dying¬¬, how it is experienced by all and need not be feared. I always envisioned souls entwined in the roots of trees when reading that poem. The hands I painted in the piece are like those trees. I call the work The Garden, as it’s meant to portray a cycle of life and death; we are a collective unconsciousness of souls, are we not?