In the Slide Library, with the Alumni...
Visual Resources Technician and UFV BFA Alumni, Jennifer Pride, interviews Visual Arts Alumni members to find out what past grads are up to, where studying the Visual Arts has taken them, which artists they enjoy today, and any advice that can be passed along.
CHRIS JANZEN - BFA Grad 2010
|Chris Janzen's recent painting,
I met Chris on our first day of Senior Seminar with Carl Peters, in 2010. Everyone sat in pairs or groups of who they knew, which is pretty standard. Seating and the socialization of students is always a fascinating part of the first day. Especially in Senior Seminar, as these were the individuals I was going to be doing my BFA Graduation show with, and I barely knew any of them! I sat up front because I am blind as a bat, and Chris sat a couple rows behind. We watched The Marx Brothers' film, Duck Soup, which Chris howled through from start to finish. I knew then this guy was awesome!
Chris has come back to UFV to do an exhibition in the Visual Arts Gallery, from March 18 to 29, 2013, and I was priviledged to have him as my first "In the Slide Library" interviewee.
JP When was the moment you knew you wanted to pursue the arts?
CJ I remember being told that as a kid I should become an artist... I mean, I was
encouraged to "do" art, but it wasn't until my first year at UFV (Painting I) where
things really clicked. I realized for the first time that it wasn't about what you
make; that art is a way of thinking and expressing yourself. That's when I knew
I wanted to pursue the arts (and actually, that I had been doing this already in
What did you learn about yourself during your BFA experience?
Honestly, I learned that people like me (that I'm likable?) and were genuinely interested in what I was doing/thinking/expressing. I guess I learned that my art and I matter.
What advice can you give those in the Visual Arts you wished you had received during your studies?
Be yourself. Take risks. Listen to those around you. Care about what you are doing or don't do it!
What is your favourite medium?
It's still easy for me to say "the camera," yet my reasons seem to be shifting. For me, I feel like the camera is always there to document my work, but on top of that I just love being in the darkroom and having the responsibility of every step of the process. I think the inevitable inclusion of mistakes in this process is what keeps me coming back.
Has this favourite medium changed since graduating? If so, what brought on this change?
Yes, unfortunately, now this medium has become a list of "great ideas" that may never be realized. I am going to be making a switch to digital eventually here so hopefully that will help me fulfill some of these dream projects. What brought on this change ...hmm...[my son] Oliver Finn, Job, Life, etc.
When did you make the decision to pursue teaching?
I knew starting at UFV in 2005 that I eventually wanted to become an art teacher, but oddly enought it wasn't really an active part of my thinking as an art student... the teaching part sort of came afterwards and grew from there.
The show you are exhibition is actually the work of your Senior Art students from Hope Secondary. Why is it important for your students to go through this experience?
This year I have a small group of self-designated senior art students that have voluntarily signed up to be challenged, to take their work to a higher level. I believe that part of this includes showing the work and going through the process of setting up a show. I'm still a little nervous about what this will entail, but I know that it's going to be worth the risk! I think I may be more excited than the students at this point, but teenagers are hard to read sometimes.
Favourite artist at the moment?
Okay, here's a list: I still love Jenny Saville, Jeff Wall and Andy Goldsworthy, but recently Van Gogh and this crazy watercolour painter named Walton Ford.
The show RESPECT THE PROCESS: CELEBRATE THE JOURNEY FOR THE LOVE OF ART is on from March 18th - 29th, 2013 in the Visual Arts Gallery, Building B (Rm B136). Thank you to Chris Janzen for the interview.