J. Jay West, Hawaii Abstract Artist
Long-time Hawaii artist, Jay West, creates highly-textured mixed media paintings and sculptures inspired by Hawaii's various environments. She works in multiple mediums blending a passion for recycling with creating one-of-a-kind art. Her work stands out amongst the many talented Hawaii artists due to her innovative use of found materials and ongoing trials utilizing traditional and experimental techniques.
West holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design from the University of Kansas in Lawrence. She completed the degree with a concentration in structural fiber in 1981. She later pursued a long career in graphic design and commercial printing.
In the early 2000s, Hawaii County contracted her to develop and organize value-added art-related workshops as the first artist-in-residence at Hawaii island's first reuse center.
“As an artist, my motivation is emotional, conveying my visions and feelings into physical works of art. As a maker, my inspiration is challenging myself to explore non-traditional materials and develop new techniques. I am passionate about protecting the environment; to that end, I transform my impressions of Hawaii’s environment into abstract land- and seascapes.
My newest body of work reflects an ocean theme. For inspiration and energizing, I seek solitude at one of the many pristine sandy beaches near my studio. I recreate the energy I feel and the patterns of ocean waves with materials including recycled paper, glass, and eggshells.
My mission is to bring awareness to the effects of climate change on our oceans. Out of respect for the environment, I recycle materials that would otherwise go into our island’s landfills.
I am captivated by the thrill and subtle twists that develop in transforming mundane objects and recycled resources into things of beauty and meaning. I feel like an explorer on a never-before-seen path where every new vista fills me with joy."
• Materials, Processes, and Thoughts
“I look for discarded materials in which I envision a new view of an old idea. Be it abstract in design or impressionistic, and each piece is thought out carefully, with the final intention planned at every stage.
Sometimes I collect used materials that interest me for a particular piece. Other times, I gather items for future projects. I often have things in my inventory that I have kept for years. Eventually, these resources will come into my concept as elements restructured into an entirely new creation.”
— J. Jay West