Jane Chafin


The work I’m highlighting for Artwalk Fall 2023 was created in isolation during the global pandemic, extreme political tension, natural disasters, and in a location that is Skid-Row-adjacent, before our recent move to the Brewery. Working on these joyous, colorful paintings created a protective buffer zone between me and the chaotic world around me.

Initially fueled by the organic shapes and vivid colors of Henri Matisse’s cut-outs and Yayoi Kusama’s paintings, I set out to find a language of my own.

Often working from an initial Photoshop sketch, I search the internet and books for images of exotic flora and fauna, both macroscopic and microscopic (leaves, coral, diatoms, viruses, etc.). I skew, warp and distort them in Photoshop until I see something I like. I then draw the resulting shapes with chalk on canvas and work with them until I’m ready to apply paint.

I use saturated color, flat shapes, rectilinear backgrounds and borders; embellished with dots, marks, stripes and flowers to build my composition. I often photograph the work in progress on my iPhone and load it back into Photoshop to work out problems and new ideas.

These paintings are all acrylic on unstretched canvas. They hang loosely by pushpins and suggest banners, flags, quilts or tapestries.

In the end, I want my work to be joyous, a retinal delight, and buzzing with life.

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