By Emma Mendelson
“Art is not for the faint of heart”, an often-felt sentiment by those who have art as their life’s passion. This includes Jeff Britton, whose lifelong passion for art has known many forms. He has gone from the very commercial world of fashion illustration to indulging in his own inspirations while painting in his studio. It’s these kind of metamorphoses that keep Jeff’s art fresh not only for those who enjoy it, but for himself as well.
Jeff has spent his childhood going between his two passions of art and athleticism, his sport being basketball. One passion often influenced the other and he even went to school on a basketball scholarship and inevitably got a painting degree. However, once his athletic career ended, he started devoting his energy even more to art.
The commercial side of his career has been multi-faceted. He worked at Women’s Wear Daily for five years doing fashion illustration, a place where Warhol worked. He did editorial illustration upon request for publications like New York Magazine. He also spent some time teaching fashion illustration at Parsons as an adjunct. Eventually, he became a stay-at-home father and devoted his day to painting.
His children became great influences on his artwork. He has a whole series of paintings that feature toys. He is interested in the structure of the toys and loves their full-color. Since he likes to paint from life, landscapes have also been a favorite subject. The attempt to capture the “speed of life” and work off of natural movement allows him to portray the “…abstraction that lies within realistic imagery” as he says. While he has a degree in painting, he says he has picked up his artistic style from going to museums and just pressing his face up to the paintings of his idols, Gauguin for instance. Artists like Gauguin and Van Gogh’s level of sacrifice has been a source of inspiration to him and it’s this feeling of necessity that he adds to his own work.
Jeff makes a point to do his work for himself first. While his art shows in a gallery in LA and he sells paintings monthly, he is not active in searching for show opportunities. He believes that the work speaks for itself and if art is good, it will find it’s way to it’s audience.
Currently, while he works at the Whitney Museum framing paintings, he is still working hard in his studio in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He is always looking for new themes and motifs to keep evolving his body of work onward. The depth of his art career has left him with a lot of experience to pass on. He advises young artists to keep painting, all the time. He hopes that his tenacious effort at living his passion can help influence others to do the same, in the art world and out. You can find Jeff’s work as well as more information about the artist at his website, http://www.jeffbrittonpaintings.com/.