Behind the Mask: JP Whiting

This week, we formally introduce the Calgary Art Market artist and founder: JP Whiting.  JP is an abstract artist in Calgary, Alberta, Canada mainly using alcohol inks, isopropyl alcohol and glycol ether to create organic movement and nature-inspired work. In this post, we peel back a few layers by asking JP a few fun questions so you can get to know the person behind the mask. 

What inspires your work?

Physics, Earth and the Universe! Like most people, I am mesmerized looking at photos of a colourful galaxy, a coral reef from our outer-atmosphere, massive canyons or rivers from space, etc. All these visuals have in fact been carefully articulated over thousands or maybe millions of years to somehow create this beautiful wonder. 

When left in the hands of physics, chemistry (or in my case: ink) can perform an incredibly beautiful dance, parallelling these visuals I am so inspired by. There is a familiarity that even in my studio, the same universal laws and visual language are at play.

What piece are you most proud of and why?

There are pieces I am proud of because they were a challenge and I have other pieces I am proud of because they captured something particularly special. But if I had to pick one piece that resonated with me most because of where I was in my life at the time, it would be: Ipanema Novus. This piece was the 1st piece of art I sold and it represented a threshold I have finally passed through. For years, I was a hobby artist and when I completed Ipanema, something sparked and my life changed so much since. It also happened to be the first of my “First 50” collection which was a crazy idea I had to paint average 2-4 paintings every week and sell each for the cost of materials until I had hit 50 pieces. I say “crazy” but it was really an amazing opportunity to not only chip away at my 10,000 hours of art practice but to meet 50 new people that appreciated my art. I am thrilled that this piece was homed by an old friend of mine 🙂

With abstract art, in particular, how do you know when a piece is complete?

This is explaining something I probably don’t, or couldn’t, fully understand but to answer simply: you just know. I let the painting speak to me until I feel like it’s given me a great story. I let the colours and lack colour bring out emotions and memories in my mind and see where they go with zero judgement. Often these cues help me determine my next move with the painting if I don’t feel it’s quite done yet. 

What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?

My air gun! I used my air gun to encourage my ink to move a certain way. This technique give the more “flowy” look to my art. 

Now for the big question… What’s your greatest fear and how do you deal with it?

Wow, that’s a deep one! I would have to say that my greatest fear, and probably what motivates me to do a lot of crazy things, is the fear of regret. When I have something great going on, I never want it to stop. So often, I will do whatever I can to keep squeezing it in whatever way I can so I can know I got the most of it. But admittedly, I know this isn’t a realistic or healthy thing to try to do all the time so as much as I can, I try to be more present. Take away the pressures and expectations and just live in the moment. 

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