According to Jenne, the most asked question is “how does he do it”, but the true question that needs to be asked is “why”.
It was slow descent into madness that sent him into a tailspin of emotions. Soon after he had finished a well-received charity event in April 2019 that featured a live painting of retired MMA fighter Georges Saint-Pierre, a lack of inspiration troubled him. He realized that no amount of applause from the many distinguished guests, including Saint-Pierre himself, could fill the void of accomplishment. Discouraged, he took his dissatisfaction onto the streets, visiting many pivotal sites in Montreal’s rich history to look for a direction, paintbrush and canvas by his side.
Evolving into abstract modernism yet preserving a uniquely Canadian spirit, Jenne’s latest work is as much an expression of frustration as it is an ode to Mother Nature. Each piece may be described as brushstrokes of mad genius, yet none can be found as the clash of snow and ice helped to unfold a beautiful medley of colors and textures. A bird’s eye view of nature, as intended by nature itself. It was on a cold day of November that it all came together. In the midst of Canada’s chaotic weather conditions, there was peace.
In post-coronavirus isolation, Kevin Jenne started working, furiously. He meditated and imagined. He saw shapes, heard sounds, and felt genuine emotions. In a lake, as sunlight bounced around a craggy bottom of algae and pyrite. Or an alleyway, where Harry Houdini took a violent blow and died senselessly. Stories came to him like a rush of adrenaline spiking through his veins. By the time he was done, another blank canvas, even larger than the one before, begged for his attention. Kevin Jenne has found his direction.
It was in a household of artists in the Eastern Townships of Quebec that Kevin Jenne would secure his career into the world of painting. His mother was a painter herself, and his machinist father encouraged him by crafting several hand-wrought iron easels still being used today. Primarily influenced by the Group of Seven, a well-known movement of Canadian landscape artists, his early works were an interesting melange of figurative and urban-esque expressions that fit well with his live painting performances. But as time evolved, so did his art. According to Jenne, American painter Mark Rothko and the later works of French legend Claude Monet are his primary source of creative inspiration.
No matter the style, Kevin Jenne is a true artist of the current times. While the COVID-19 pandemic has been a major cause of distress for most people, his art became a perfect medium to express frustration through physical action. As the world will eventually emerge from isolation, he hopes that the paintings can inspire hope for those who have lost loved ones, and those who are suffering without any system of support. Through his art, he reminds us that we are all in this together.
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