Capetonian artist Jody Paulsen on his art and inspiration

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Jody Paulsen

Born and bred in Cape Town, artist Jody Paulsen says he finds inspiration everywhere around him.

He completed a Bachelor’s of Fine Art degree at the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town in 2009 and received the Katrine Harris Print Cabinet Award for graduating with a Bachelor’s of Fine Art in Print Media. In 2012 he was awarded the Kramer Departmental Scholarship and went on to obtain his Master’s degree in Fine Art from Michaelis in 2013.

Known for his bright and colourful artworks, and using felt as a medium, he opened his first solo exhibition, Pushing thirty, at SMAC Gallery in Cape Town in 2017, followed by a solo presentation, hosted by SMAC Gallery, at Untitled Art Miami Beach in Miami, USA. He also opened his second exhibition, Water me, with SMAC Gallery in December 2018.

Paulsen’s work forms part of various significant public and private collections, including collections at Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa) in Cape Town. Notable group exhibitions at Zeitz MOCAA include All Things Being Equal in 2017.

Jody tells more about his art.

Jody, please tell us more about yourself and your background – where does your love for art come from?

I am 31 years old born, raised and currently living in Cape Town. My love for making things started very young as I would keep myself occupied by drawing and making collages. When I went to school, I enjoyed art and painting, as well as art history, and decided that I wanted to pursue it on a tertiary level.

All Yours (2018) Felt Collage - 89 x 120 cm

Water Me (2018) Felt Collage - 121 x 104 cm

Why did you decide to pursue fine arts as a career?

I was never certain that I could have a career in fine arts. I just worked really hard at art school and hoped for the best when I left. I was prepared to carry on making things for myself even if a career in contemporary art wasn’t an option for me.

Burning Bush (2018) Felt Collage - 124 x 95 cm

Tell us more about your art – where do you draw inspiration from?

My inspiration comes from pretty much everywhere. I try to stay open to anything when I'm searching for ideas. Also, I find that working in studio helps to stimulate more ideas as opposed to waiting for them to arrive.

Career Woman (2018) Felt Collage - 196 x 142 cm

Uganda (2016) Felt Collage - 185 x 169 cm

What medium is your medium of choice?

My medium is felt.

Everything is just Wonderful (2018) Felt Collage - 194 x 148 cm

Snake Woman (2018) Felt Collage - 206 x 127 cm

What themes are most prevalent in your art?

Friendship, relationships, consumption and ambition.

Girl on Fire (2018) Felt Collage - 265 x 175 cm

Tell us about your journey as an artist – what are some of the exhibits you have been a part of?

I studied art for seven years and then started working with galleries in Cape Town. My work has allowed me to travel and exhibit in various cities such as Miami, New York, Milan and London.

Wallflower at the Orgy (2017) Felt Collage - 191 x 144 cm

Lonely in the Canyon (2018) Felt Collage - 318 x 206 cm

What have been some of your career highlights?

Achieving my Master’s degree – I found it very challenging – it took about three years.

Queen of the Jungle (2017) Felt-Collage - 287 x 250 cm

What does the future hold for you?

I am currently working towards an exhibition in Cape Town for the end of the year.

  • Images courtesy of SMAC Gallery, copyright Jody Paulsen
Buro: MvH
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