“Billions of hidden gems are waiting to be discovered! Beauty is all around us, even in the inanimate. I’m fascinated by details that are overlooked—reflections, highlights and shadows, edges, and textures that reveal the idiosyncrasies of the everyday. Still lifes attract me for the challenge of capturing an object in a new, ‘outside of the box’ way. I like to draw out attributes that give life to the subject, like unexpected colors in a shadow, a colorful prism on glass or the fuzziness of a leaf—using dramatic lighting and unique perspectives to pull the viewer in. I experiment with a colorful underpainting and often paint the subject much larger than life, and I’ve been known to turn the canvas upside down to paint! The compositions are my interpretations of real life, rather than a replica of it—an invitation into my world and the beauty that I see. The real joy for me is if my art stirs a good memory or simply makes someone smile.”
What initially compelled you to pursue art?
I liked to draw as a young kid and took lessons. I was attracted to typography in high school but didn’t even know what graphic design was until I got to Tyler School of Art. I majored in it, and it was my career for nearly 30 years. But my favorite memory of college was the four-hour drawing classes. I didn’t draw much during my working career because after being creative all day, every day, I was too tired to draw.
The agency I was working for closed in 2018 and our kids started moving out. We were trying to redecorate our house and we needed some art. I never had any formal training in painting but 30 years ago I had taken some intro classes to the three mediums at our local art association. I dug out some old acrylic paints and brushes. For the first piece, I copied someone’s painting of a surfer and a huge wave on a 40" x 30" canvas. For the second painting, I painted my cat’s face on a 40" x 30" canvas and surprised everyone, including myself! Who knew? I could paint!
Who or what in your life influences your practice the most?
The book, “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.” At age 16, I was selected to attend the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts at Bucknell University—that really opened my eyes. Tyler School of Art. Andy Warhol. And working as a graphic designer/art director. I got paid to play with shapes, space, color, lines, layout, lettering, photos and illustrations all day long! And I used my brain power—a lot—to problem solve. Sometimes, I think it’s good to not be too influenced—if everyone had the same experiences, all art would look the same!
What do you feel is the key concept that connects your works?
I like big, bold, colorful, unique perspectives. I like to discover and point out weird things in reflections, transparency, textures. I want to make people stop and look, and get a peek into how I see things. It’s kind of a “go big or go home” mentality. I realize not everyone will want my saturated color palette, but I feel like art should make a statement on a wall, and not go unnoticed.
Tell us about a moment that ultimately made you look at your art and/or practice differently.
I haven’t been doing it that long (only five years). But during my years as a graphic designer, we were always told to think “outside of the box.” There’s nothing original in this world. So even if I’m painting something that has been painted before, I try to paint it in such a way that it hasn’t been done before. No magical “moment,” but more of a realization. If I was going to do this, I was going to do it my way.
What does your art give you that nothing else can?
Confidence. Fear. Giddiness. Satisfaction—that I can create something that someone might appreciate. Gives me a voice, which sometimes I am afraid to share. It fascinates me to think that you can take an image and enhance it with a plastic-y substance like acrylic and make it look like something real and larger than life. And it’s icing on the cake if someone connects with it and reacts.After 28 years of design and advertising, Jill Brinser seized an opportunity to reinvent herself as a contemporary acrylic painter. In late 2018, she rekindled a long-ignored passion for fine art. Jill paints bold, larger-than-life realistic still lifes of relatable objects, highlighting their subtle beauty and quirks. A resident of Elizabethtown, PA, she keeps a running list of styles and subjects to explore. Jill holds a BFA from Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Temple University. She is a member of the Hershey Area Art Association and the National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society.