JUNE 2017

MORE BEDTIME STORIES

JILL MCVARISH INTERVIEW

We sat down with artist Jill McVarish to learn all about her latest collection on display through the end of the month.

903: You mention you like to tell fantastical tales with your art. How do you come up with your whimsical ideas? 

JM: I don't usually set out to narrate a story when I choose my subject matter. I'll arrange a scene that may involve some fantastical juxtaposition of characters,symbols and situations. I have a preference for wild and funny imagery like that in children's stories, but ultimately, it's up to the viewer to fill in the back story and bring their own interpretation of what's going on.

Sometimes it feels like I don't find my ideas as much as they find me. I may start with a seed of one or two ideas that may germinate for months or years until that last piece falls into place and a clear picture of how to proceed pops up. They often turn up at inopportune times, so I've installed a chalk board in my studio and keep a list of them as they show up so that they don't get away.

903: The details in your work are quite amazing, particularly with costumes and attire. Do you use historical images for reference or do you come up with your own ensembles? 

JM: I suspect that the elaborate clothing in the paintings reflects my own love of fabric and costume. I choose the clothes carefully because they often create the context of the piece, the time period and the identity of subject. I love historical garb and while it would be tempting to dress everyone like a Tudor, I think it's important to reflect the time we live in now and only do it when it serves a contextual purpose.