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Jaime Defends "Turn It Up"

Jaime reacts to her elimination and the judges' critique of her work.


After receiving numerous questions from many of you, I feel we must get one order of business out of the way immediately: "Car dancing" IS simply dancing in your car! Come on people, you've done it before! I've probably made fun of you for it at a stoplight somewhere because while it is EXTREMELY fun it A) NEVER looks nearly as cool as you think it does and B) is slightly distracting to the snickering people around you. But then again the joke is on THEM because while they are groggily lamenting their 9AM commute downtown, YOU have decided to make the best of the unfortunately traffic-jammed situation so TEN POINTS FOR YOU!

If only my misinterpreted car-wreck of a piece, "Turn It Up" could have garnered a few more points with the judges last week! While I sarcastically call this piece awful, let me be perfectly clear in saying that if I were able to keep any of the works I made during the competition, it would be THIS ONE! Yes, I said it and I'll proclaim my love for its ridiculous, literal hilarity from the top of the highest mountain in Chicago (which would be the recently renamed Sears Tower I suppose)! While the work WAS devastatingly literal (guest judge Richard Phillips was spot-on) and perhaps did not succeed in meeting the judges' standards for the challenge, it DID meet MY goal for this particular challenge which was to make the most ridiculous thing I could POSSIBLY make. Now we're all in agreement, right? Good.

At this point in the competition, I was beginning to wonder whether or not I'd ever meet eye-to-eye with the judges over my work. It had become very clear to me what they wanted: work infused with a sophisticated and complex surface and use of materials. At the end of the day, if you have these elements, your subject matter doesn't really matter so much. Because I was unable to provide them with a visually stunning image, I left them with nothing to work with EXCEPT my naive, sunny, cheesy, girly-world narratives (something that, when revealed through an enticing mash-up of swirling, layered formal elements is legitimized and reinforced instead of laid bare as juvenile). As I've mentioned in other exit interviews since last week, the strength of my studio practice lies in my ability to build a story through building up the painting's surface; in approaching it like a PAINTING instead of a PROJECT. This takes time. It takes time for me to sit and stare at the thing, to completely wipe things out, to start over half-way through. When an artist has time to do this, the viewer is presented with a complicated and multi-layered record of his or her THOUGHT PROCESS. While I absolutely should have been able to come up with visually interesting work in the time provided, I was not able to do so while using my current studio practice methods. I would have been better off abandoning my "style" right off the bat and trying to work in an entirely new and unfamiliar way than being so concerned about trying to maintain my "artistic aesthetic" (whatever THAT means) and squeeze it into the time allotted for each challenge.

In the end, "Turn It Up" was all about me. I made it for no one BUT me. After realizing that I was either going to have to COMPLETELY revolutionize my approach to art making for the remainder of the competition OR go down in a burst of hot pink flames and sequins and head happily back to my kitchen, cocker spaniel, cheesy exercise DVDs, boyfriend, and several episodes left of Mad Men, I went with the latter and wouldn't change it for anything! How truly grateful I am for this amazing experience, for the criticism from our judging panel and the fuel it has given me, and for the opportunity to meet thirteen seriously hip cats. ENJOY THE REST OF THE SEASON and God bless!

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