Focus on: Jen Mann

“In the society of ‘me’, where we document ourselves like celebrities and share our lives online for everyone, the self is a prevalent, and important topic to our generation. Our identities are curated like our online profiles to reflect only the parts of ourselves we choose to keep alive. Who am I? Who are you? What does my life mean? Why am I alive? Mann’s work aims to address these very illusive questions, and explore, but not necessarily answer all of them.”

Tell us a little bit about your story. When did you know you wanted to become an artist?

I’ve always had an interest in people and relationships. That interest found its way into my work in the form of portraiture on many occasions, though people are not in all of my work. I think it’s somewhere a lot of artists start, with figurative works, and over time institutions try to squash that out of us, and so we move away from it… I wasn’t going to move away from something until I had exhausted it, and until I decided I was ready, not because someone else told me to.

Why do you feel that painting is still so relevant in today’s fast-evolving art world?

Relevance is funny. I’m not sure what is relevant really. I just make what I make and hope that it connects somewhere, with someone. If paintings have maintained their relevance, it is probably because paintings are very easily turned into commodities, and people can easily envision them within their own spaces and collections. Paintings are durable, iconic, and have a long history and authority to them.