Jaclyn Alderete was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where her passion for art began at a young age. She began using oil paint as a teenager, soon discovering its expressive quality both a challenge and catalyst for further exploration. After moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2001, her interest in nature led her to draw connections between the natural world and the human experience. Through artistic enquiry, she found the resiliency in the power of both nature and humanity to overcome tribulations. Instead of focusing on shortcomings and the inevitable impediments to the human journey, she illustrates that flaws can lead to novel paths of understanding.
Using her figurative depictions and expressive brush strokes to convey the uniquely human spectrum of emotion, she further commands the impression of the viewer through painterly techniques which serve to unsettle the composition. Subjects are often simultaneously distinct from, and merged with, their environments, as part of the figure or background are blurred while other parts are clearly defined. Accompanying her inquisitive and thoughtful figures is multi-faceted symbolism. Among her favorite subjects are birds, insects, fish, flowers, plants, and moving water. Many represent empathy, fragility, vision, and our ever-changing existence. Her use of a broad and muted palette along with powerful contrasts produces a deeply contemplative quality, which, when interrupted by brief flashes of color, informs the viewer’s perception of the motif.
Jaclyn has shown in galleries nationwide including The Modern Eden Gallery, Cactus Gallery, Flower Pepper Gallery, Abend Gallery, and more. She continues to create art on a daily basis. Her hunger for understanding and interest in the strange and beautiful serve as her impulse to further develop her metier.
Name: Jaclyn Alderete
College: San Jose State University
How would you define yourself as an artist? I consider my work to be contemporary figurative.
Why are you an artist, and when did you first become one? I find creating to be incredibly fulfilling. It gives me a sense of purpose, a place to express my ideas, and I’m incredibly lucky to be able to spend a great deal of time pursuing my passion. At this point in my life, I can’t imagine doing anything else. I think most people who decide to pursue a creative career path have always felt a need to make art in some way. Like most artists, I think I’ve always been one.
What art do you most identify with? I most identify with figurative work because that is what I do, but I often see a landscape or abstract piece that I connect with right away. Whatever the genre or subject, I enjoy seeing work where the painter’s unique marks are evident and central.
What themes do you pursue? My themes vary between works, but there is always an underlying need to reflect on our many human experiences.
What inspires you to work? Relationships, struggles, lessons, our interactions with each other and the world around us. Everything feeds that impulse in some way.
Color: I don’t have a favorite, but lately I have been enjoying adding pops of Quinacridone Magenta to my compositions.
Book: My favorite book since age 14 is 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez.
Movie: One of my favorites is ‘Stalker’ by Andrei Tarkovsky.
Food: Fresh green chili.
Quote: “I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my shit.” Erykah Badu
Can we talk a bit about your process at the beginning of a project? How do you conceive of it? How do you build it in your mind before you start? Most of the time I have a specific idea or theme in mind. I don’t do a lot of planning, because I’m usually too eager to start, which sometimes gets me into trouble. Other times I just want to paint, and I let the piece evolve more organically. I often find the piece changes quite a bit during the process, and I’ve learned to be open to those changes.
What Role does the artist have in society? An artist’s role is to ask questions about themselves, the world around them, and how they relate and interact. Through their work, they encourage society to do the same.
Do you suffer for your art? No, what I gain from making art is invaluable. I work hard, and like any job there can be stressful times, but my art is where I feel replenished and lifted.
You seem to use a lot of symbols in your work. Do your works tell stories or are they simply decorative elements of the project? The answer is both. I try to find a balance between meaning, content, and visual appeal.
Should art be funded? Why? Absolutely. Art is essential to our well-being and is often a direct reflection of who we are as well as our place in history.
What famous artists have influenced you, and how? John Singer Sargent, because of the soft and gentle way he captures a person’s likeness. Caravaggio, because he is the master of light, of course. Jenny Saville, because of the fearless way she paints, and her vision of the human form.
What other interests do you have outside of art? I love being in nature. I haven’t had the opportunity recently, but I used to enjoy hiking every weekend. I’m also a huge animal lover, and have a cat and two birds to treasure.
You seem to be very aware of the history of works. Where do you see films, photo exhibitions, art performances today? We’ve got the world at our fingertips with the internet. Although there is nothing like seeing a piece in person, I am not always able to, so I enjoy viewing art documentaries wherever I can find them. We also have the privilege of seeing more closely into an artist’s process via social media.
How would your life change if you were no longer allowed to create art? Without the ability to create art, I think life would become very bleak.
What are your next projects? I am currently working on pieces for various shows: a couple of them coming up at the Cactus Gallery in Los Angeles, and the re-opening show at the Abend Gallery in Denver.. I am also beginning a new body of work for an exciting opportunity at the beginning of 2018.
What’s the best advice anyone gave you? “Paint the personal.”