Jack Ready says he was born an artist. In fact, he agrees with Picasso that every child is born an artist. Urged to develop his artistic nature by his mother from a young age, now Ready has his first solo exhibit at Culture Brewing Company in Solana Beach. He’s displaying the results of his latest metamorphosis – abstract expressionism.
Ready explains, “The work of the New York abstract expressionists is bold and emotional. Willem De Kooning and Jean-Michel Basquiat are my greatest inspirations. While I’ve learned so much from their work and the other abstract expressionists, I would never want to create art that belongs in the past. I find inspiration in their creativity and use it to make art that is true to myself and the time.”
For Ready, art is all about faces. After being classically training in oil painting and earning a fine arts degree at Santa Clara University, he focused on portraiture. “The human face has always been the most interesting subject to me. It is unbelievable how unique and beautiful every face is, and the stories and emotions that can be told portraying them.”
Ready says he avoided painting faces until his sophomore year in college because he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to depict them correctly. Then he dove head-first into a larger-than-life self-portrait and from that point on, he painted portraits nearly exclusively for the next five years.
Ready uses a painting technique called grisaille, which is a method of creating a monochromatic underpainting and glazing color on top. “Eventually I found the most interesting part of my work was not the realism; it was the elements of expression -- finding ways to convey a deeper meaning or emotion rather than just copying a photograph.”
So Ready took his art in a new direction. He started experimenting with abstract expressionism and breaking all the rules. “I sincerely enjoy learning the ‘rules’ of art so I can find ways to break them. The uselessness of art also allows for full expression and freedom.”
Even though Ready has moved away from portraits, he finds that faces still keep coming through in his recent paintings. He’s exploring ways to depict them abstractly without using a subject. And he’s applying more vibrant color as a tool to convey emotion and meaning in his artwork.
How Ready came to get his first show at Culture Brewing Company is a story about friendship. A longtime friend arranged it as his 25th-birthday gift. It took months to finalize, but now it’s happening. “To me,” says Ready, “Culture Brewing is the perfect venue for this show. They have proven themselves in the past for taking a serious interest in showing art. It is also a friendlier and more welcoming location than an upscale gallery. Even if you don’t like my art, you can enjoy their beer! I feel this venue allows me to promote my art to a wider audience and gain interest from people who may not normally attend art openings.”
It’s an opportunity that Ready doesn’t take lightly. He plans to make this his full-time career. “I have struggled with the idea of working as an artist full-time,” he admits, “because of a fear of having to compromise my artistic choices to sell work. As I’ve grown more confident in my skills, I’m starting to see a future as a working artist without having to settle for less authentic work.”
And he believes San Diego is a good place to start. “Because San Diego is not known for its art,” he says, “I feel that we are all working together as a community rather than competing against one another. The opportunity is here, even if it’s not as obvious as L.A. and New York. The internet age we live in also contributes to a global-art community, making it easy to connect with artists and collectors all over the world.”
While reaching out to the world, he’s staying right here in the beach area. “In five years, I would like to be living and working in San Diego as an artist full time. I feel that every painting I make is better than the last, and I hope to continue growing and producing art for as long as I am alive.”
The opening reception for Ready’s artwork is Dec. 7, from 5 – 9 p.m. at Culture Brewing Company, 111 South Cedros Avenue in Solana Beach. Ready’s artwork will continue to be displayed there until the end of the year. To view more of Ready’s art, go to www.jackready.com.