FEATURED ARTIST: Jillian Platt
I’m up to my eyeballs in my own sink of dishes, as it were. But, I appreciated the break from deadlines and mayhem afforded by reviewing the work of those that contributed to the Featured Artist Contest.
And admittedly, what I choose to feature is often colored by whatever is piled in my proverbial sink of dishes at the moment. With my own solo show opening in July, I am deep in historical anatomies being used in my pieces. And what comes across my desk? The work of a phenomenal abstract painter that also does medical illustration.
I am proud to welcome Jillian Platt as AAAD’s latest Featured Artist. The historical anatomies I use are deliberately labored, graphic and anything but beautiful. But this work is soft and delicate and draws me in–regardless of the subject matter. Then there is the abstract work; I’m just lost in the sort of emotional chaos & cacophony of sound emitted by the color & texture of this work. Enjoy.
Early chalk drawings were the first indications of Jillian’s need for artistic expression. Exposed to fine art at an early age & encouraged by surroundings & teachers her talents were solidified at Boston University School of Fine Art.
Jillian wove art & science together in the field of medical art. Her work garnered awards both in & out of the courtroom & operating theatres. She has explained to college students, attorneys & surgeons the cellular work of the body, the mechanisms of destruction & the steps of repair.
Expressions in abstract gently pull the viewer in allowing them private entrance into the artist world. Underlying perceptions & profound realizations of softness, emotionality and solitude reach out for the viewer’ s participation.
“I am formally trained. A B.F.A. in painting from Boston University & a M.S. in Medical Illustration from Georgia Regents University. I have loved to paint and draw for as long as I can remember so…
“It was only natural
for me to study art.”
“The science part came in after college. I had a bookkeeping job and wanted to find a way to make a living using my art. I had heard about medical illustration and decided to take some science classes. One teacher, a physiology teacher, got me hooked on science.”
“It depends on the job, but for the most part medical illustration is like writing a book report. You use references, such as anatomy books, medical reports, patient records, sometimes observing surgery. Graduate school in medical illustration includes medical school courses in anatomy, neuroanatomy, cell biology, surgery (and many others).
“When you graduate you are well prepared in how to read and incorporate all the information in those references. The hardest part is simplifying the information without losing something important and still making it visually appealing.” Editor: I’m sure that the amount of education & preparation required should have been obvious to me, but I simply never considered it. Wow.
“I fell in love with art because it is an outlet for me emotionally. With abstract painting there are no references, it can be purely emotional. Muddling your way through feelings, getting dirty, and really being in your art. It’s a huge release for me.
“Medical illustration is pretty straight forward. I’m generally creating it to serve a specific purpose so there’s not much room for expression.”
Talk to me about your inspiration. “Human physiology is fascinating to me. How it all works together. It’s so complex and beautiful. Any time I have been hired to create medical art is a chance for me to learn. To go into an operating room and watch, or to talk with scientists about a process they are experimenting with, is fascinating. There’s so much creativity in science.
“Abstract art is all about emotion for me. I am a pretty private person and generally keep my feelings to myself except for a few friends. So art becomes, for me, the release.
“Sounds corny, but I really need to be making something all the time, using my hands. Painting, upholstering, making jewelry, gardening. Something is always going on in my head that needs to get out.”
Talk to me about the two artists (one living, one dead) that have most influenced your work, and tell us why.
“My 1st art teacher, a great friend & artist named John Dyer, from NY. He taught me how to use oil paint & the importance of light. Also, how to really try to feel the subject matter that I was painting, the texture, color, temperature. His style is similar to Andrew Wyeth. Anselm Kiefer’s work is gripping. Just to be in its presence is so powerful. It was his work that really moved me and showed me what abstract is all about.
“Dead. That would be Frances Spalding Whistler. The way he used oil paint like watercolor and the ethereal feeling of his paintings.”
Is there one artist whose work you simply cannot abide? Editor: I always ask this question of artists, mostly to gauge their feelings about the public image of art. I almost never reveal the answers, but I’ll say this… I’ve only had about 4 or 5 different answers in the past few years. Apparently we all dislike the same people, ha.
What’s coming up next for you? “I’m doing a mural in my friend Rachel’s dining room. I’m really exited about it. I have been working on a medical animation project for a long time now and am eager to get dirty again.”
You know we have to know about your favorite food. You know you want to tell us… “Sadly, at 44 years old, it’s still pizza with a lot of sauce and a coke.” Pizza is never sad, Jillian. Never ever.
And what about your favorite snack foods? “Anything chocolate. I love chocolate.” Amen. Me too. Did you know that there are people that dislike chocolate? Dumbfounding, eh?
Thank you, Jillian, for being an oddly beautiful connection in what I suspect is a very small world. Your work moves me.