I was recently interviewed about my Les Amoureux series for a photography magazine in Korea, PHOTO+
The magazine in Korean so I have the question and my response below. Side note: I wrote it so that when they translated it to Korean it made sense, so I didn’t use any conjunction.
Here is the interview;
Les Amoureux “The Lovers” from the artist Jen Mitsuko
Lea: I am so curious about every people’s face in all your works is veiled. Are there any reasons for that?
Jen: Yes, of course. I purposely veiled the faces because it does not matter who the person is, she is merely an idea of a woman. She can be anybody, any woman that is in love, the idea is what is important. Also, the person being veiled is one specific element that I took from Rene Magritte ‘s “The Lovers” painting.
Lea: Is there any meaning for the red color in all your work?
Jen: Red symbolically represents heat, love, and passion. I wanted to convey all of those elements in this series.
Lea: I heard that you are usually listening to music when you are working. Are So, what kind of music did you hear during your work in this series? Is there any music you want to recommend?
Jen: I love music, and I love how it affects my mood, and it alters my frame of mind. I would listen to Ryuichi Sakamoto & Alva Noto, fennesz + sakamoto M83, Boris, Boris with Merzbow, Menomena and Brian Eno. Any music in the genre of Noise, Ambient, Electronic. I also enjoy some Classical, and Indie music. I would recommend any of those musicians I listed above, but I also just found a French band called Caravan Palace, which I will be, making art to soon!
Lea: I think this series (Les Amoureux“The Lovers”) have a low chroma. Why did you express like this?
Jen: I use muted colors so the red would really stand out. Visually it draws your eye to the red area first, then your eye moves throughout the piece.
Lea: Where did you get the idea of this series? What is inspired you?
Jen: The idea came from a painting that I saw at MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) in San Francisco. Rene Magritte, a Belgium surrealist painter, calls this painting “The Lovers”. The painting depicts a man in a suit and a woman in a dress. Fabric covers their heads and they are kissing through the fabric. I thought the piece was so beautiful and it stayed with me for years. It was not until after I met my partner and I fell in love with her, that I began working on this series. Being in love made me appreciate “The Lovers” painting even more. I wanted to express the stages of being in love, and what it felt like to me.
I used surrealism for this series because being love feels surreal, like a dream. French artist created Surrealism; therefore, I used a French title for this surreal series.
Lea: I think this series have a story. If so, Could you explain the story?
Jen: Les Amoureux is based on an idea. It is the idea of being in love, and the different stages of love. From this idea a non-linear story appears. You can visualize a woman falling in love and her excitement. You can see her feelings; she becomes weightless, like a wonderful dream. She reaches an enlighten state by being in love.
While making this series my Grandmother died. She raised me and we were very close. This event greatly affected me and caused the series to evolve. So by the end of the series the love has died or the lover is gone, and she becomes isolated because the loss is too great.
Lea: I dare to say, you are good at photoshop. How long did it take to complete for one piece ?
Jen: I am experienced with Photoshop, and some pieces are more processed than others. The longest piece took an hour but most take 10 minutes. Sometimes I think creating the title is the most difficult part.
I try to do most of my work with the camera because I am not a master at Photoshop. I have more experience working with cameras then computers. A lot of pre-planning goes into each shoot. Just finding the right location can take months, but when it all comes together it is like a beautiful dance as the idea becomes reality.
Lea: This series title is LesAmoureux“The Lovers”. Everyone has different thoughts(or meaning) of Love. Then, what is your ‘love’? How did you express your ‘ love’ In your art-piece?
Jen: Love is not something I can describe in words it is a feeling. These feelings make my heart beat rapidly, and sometimes breathing can be difficult. The emotions leave me feeling weightless; because of this love I feel I can do anything. In the series I attempt to communicate this feeling through the surrealistic style.
Lea: What is your plan for the future?
Jen: My plan is to continue working on art and expand my audience by exhibiting in different galleries. Some of this series has been exhibited in a gallery here in Portland, OR. I do not have all the pieces printed out yet because the smallest piece is 5 feet by 3 and a half feet and are expensive to print. When I print a new piece out it is for an exhibit. Right now I am working on three new series, but I still have a more pieces that I want to create for “The Lovers” series. I just got back from New York where I started one the new series and in November I will be in Paris, France for FotoFest 2012.