I recently came across the artwork of Jeannie Paske and an ongoing series she has called Obsolete World. I found the images both magical, fun and sad as well as exposing the fragility of life. I got the chance to talk with Jeannie recently about her work and to ask about what inspired her creations.
Tell me a bit about Obsolete World?
Obsolete World is a place that no longer exists. My work depicts a world on the brink of extinction. Many of the characters are trying to leave and therefore, escapism is a reoccurring theme in my work as many of my paintings portray figures that are on some sort of expedition or migration. There are also a lot of paintings that portray characters just sitting around observing their surroundings in a thoughtful manner as they struggle to cope with the passing of loved ones. Where does one go when they cease to exist? Is it possible to find safety in a world that is falling apart? What will happen after we are all gone?
I see similarities between the world around me and the used up world I’ve created. Sometimes I wonder if perhaps this obsolete world-or something similar- is the world that sits waiting in the shadows. We live in such a throw away society. It is disappointing to see the way humans often treat each other as well as the planet. I created this world as an escape from the the one that surrounds me and I continue to paint because I find great comfort and wisdom in these expired inhabitants. I adore the warmth and beauty of their peaceful world. They are thoughtful and mild mannered. Time seems to stand still here even as it draws to a close. I guess if a world is set to expire it might as well go out with a pretty sunset.
Your images often depict both humour and sadness, was this intentional?
Yes, even though the world I just described takes on a rather meloncholy feel, I see humor-albeit a darker side of humor- in some of the inhabitants as they deal with the fading world around them. I enjoy philosophy, but laugh at the idea taking anything-including myself too seriously. I deeply connect with both sadness and humor in my surroundings and in many of the mundane activities that get me through the day. It definitely translates over to my work.
Where do you take your inspiration from?
So many things. Nature is a big influence as is music. The sky is a tremendous inspiration and it is often the focul point of my work.
I have always been fascinated by astronomy and the likelihood of life existing elsewhere in the universe. I am equally intrigued by death and the many possibilities awaiting us in the afterlife-whether it be something or nothing at all.
When do you know it’s time to create a new world?
I still feel as if I may be able to help this one.
Have you a favourite?
“Mysterious Species Conservation” has always been a favorite of mine. I am writing a book of short limericks based on some of my paintings and this is the title/cover illustration. This painting depicts the conservation efforts of a few of my creatures as one passes off an endangered species to another. Awhile back I thought it would be funny to write a book about conserving make believe creatures. After all, they are a dying breed. When we are young they run rampant through our minds, but as we grow old they seem to disappear. This painting is based on that concept.
Have you any new works you’d like to let us know of?
I will be part of a group show at C.A.V.E Gallery in Venice, California entitled “Paradox Shifts” next month as well as a show entitled “Saudade” at the Mina Dresden Gallery in San Francisco, California that is slated to open Friday, January 28th.
To find out more about Jeannie Paske’s work please visit: http://obsoleteworld.com/ where you can also purchase her work.