The devil made her do it
Jacquelyn Bond has been making art ever since she can remember. After moving to Portland, Ore., six years ago, the 34-year-old full-time artist and former Sacramentan is returning to the River City to reside and also to show her paintings. Her watercolors often depict young, barely clad, voluptuous and ample-chested female subjects paired with elements of cheekiness, sexuality, anger and darkness—like mad-cow-diseased bovines, snakes and devil horns.
She’ll exhibit several of her paintings at Side Show Studios’ May group show, Women Uncovered, which includes more than 30 other female artists, and also A Bitchin’ Space June’s show, Make Art or Die. Here’s what the fair-haired painter—who does resemble many of her subjects— had to say.
One doesn’t see too many figurative paintings done with watercolor; it’s stereotypically co-opted by hobbyists who paint flowers and still lifes. What attracted you to this medium?
Well, I always used inks before, [and] I was never very good at acrylic or oil. I tried watercolor after getting a set as a gift, and it was like magic. I don’t use it in the classic way, but more like I’ve tuned it to my needs. It gives my paintings a breath of life and fragility that I just can’t capture with any other medium.
Did you study art formally?
What artists have you been inspired by?
I have been greatly inspired by Alberto Vargas, Gil Elvgren, [Tamara de] Lempicka, [Frank] Kozik, Boris Vallejo and Norman Rockwell. … Colors inspire me, feelings, memories.
You use a lot of biblical imagery, like snakes, apples and lots of devils and devil horns.
I’m very intrigued by religion in general. I find a lot of the stories in the Bible thrilling and beautiful. And, come on, the whole idea of the devil is pretty damn sexy. The ultimate good vs. evil: That stuff begs to be painted. … Um, the devil made me do it.
Did you grow up with a religious background?
No, not at all. I didn’t even have an interest in religion until I was an adult.
Are you religious now?
Lots of your female subjects are depicted in suggestive way, undressed with ideal anatomy. Do they use their sexuality as leverage, or are they vulnerable for it?
Both. I paint women because women are beautiful. Often they are looked down on or penalized or objectified for being strong and attractive. I also feel that as a society, we are so obsessed with what we look like that we have lost all sense of self.
My painting [“Does this make me look fat?”] is depicting a “perfect girl” asking, “Do I look OK? Am I OK? Do you think I’m good enough?” The lack of self-esteem in women is terrible to me. I want to show women that are strong, beautiful and vulnerable all at the same time.
Besides showing in galleries, do you get commissioned for illustrations to magazines, books, etc.?
Yes, I do commissioned paintings, and I’ve also done wine labels and illustrations for books. I even had a clothing line [Blue Collar Ink] featuring my designs for a while. I’ve also been in Official PlayStation Magazine; I’ve [done] posters for [Portland’s] Holiday Ale Festival. My “Wake Up America” painting and my “The Christ” painting have been produced as posters.
There seem to be three themes that repeatedly pop up in your work: religion, sex and politics. It’s the taboo-conversation trifecta, especially at dinner parties, as the etiquette goes.
It is just natural for me. I paint what is on my mind or how I feel at the time. I’m not held by any creative boundaries in my work, so I just paint what is in my daily life or personal beliefs. I’m not a very good speaker, so I use art a lot to express myself.
Speaking of dinner parties, your painting “The Dinner Party,” with the mad-eyed, mouth-foaming animal heads atop nude human female bodies in front of a blood-red background is reminiscent of a PETA stunt. Do you happen to be a vegetarian?
I am not. I see that painting as more of a depiction of the way we use and see women as meat, something to use and exploit. I’m guilty of it myself.
Why are all of your painted ladies so buxom? They look flawless, like pinups for Playboy.
Ha! Well, I have to say, I have a strong pinup influence in my art. I also tend to draw things in the extreme; I want these women to pop out and get your attention.
Anything else you’d like to add?