Create! Magazine is pleased to share an exclusive interview with J' Atelier9, a sustainable artist who repurposes and recycles discarded materials in her work. This feature is part of our recurring series of in-depth conversations with contemporary artists generously sponsored by Altamira.
J’ Atelier9/J’A9 emerged after its Los Angeles based visionary founder, Janine Tang, began her movement towards a circular economy by sourcing recycled repurposed salvaged materials into her fine arts.
J’A9 reshapes the transcendent beauty of innovative repurposing & recycling, where her art becomes the vessel. She juxtaposes the dichotomy of consumerism against salvaged upcycled adaptive reuses of recycled waste.
Many of the selectively curated eco-conscious materials utilized into her works have an inherent patina, imperfection, and rawness. Artisinally combined, they merge into an insightful tapestry of ethereal, whimsical, and sustainability.
J’A9 translates the interconnectedness of the world through her works by highlighting society’s sensationalism of media, elements of globalization, planet preservation, glorification of capitalism, technological dependence, world conflict, joy, love, nature, fashion, lifestyle, human complexities, materialism, and multiple facets of duplicity.
She dissects aspects of life through societal conditioning and programming from various narratives, pop culture, human controversy, while also creating a wondrous majestic world of optimism and reflection.
Her process of adventure is spontaneously fluid. Her soul will speak to her in unexpected ways. She allows her feelings to guide her way. Often, she will marinate on a concept, and the process of each of the multiple layers will guide her. She begins by creating her unique canvas. Yet, she methodically thinks outside the box to craft artworks from various elements of discarded items, cardboard, newsprint, magazines, ephemera, plastics, wood, metals, and/or repurposed underutilized junk. She will continue to seek adaptive reuses of discarded items which speak to the essence of her ethereal, whimsical, and sustainable disciples and mystique.
Her works envelop a mindfulness by preserving Mother Earth’s precious natural resources. By demanding & creating more repurposing and reusing, this new movement seeks to contribute by affecting lower usage of newly extracted resources.
I love that upcycling and sustainability are at the core of your creative practice. When did you begin creating this work?
I began creating this circular movement within the past year when I was inspired by an article about the ambitious goal of Finland to convert into a full circular economy by 2050. It captivated my attention as I feel over population and excessive waste in established capitalistic countries cannot be sustainable.
Tell us about your process. How does each work begin? Are you inspired by the materials you find or do you look for materials to fit your vision for the piece?
My process begins with "boots on the ground” commercial dumpster diving with an idea of infusing an expressive artisanal dynamic into pop culture, history, conflict, nature, and any aspect of the human experience. Once I hunt and gather discarded materials, I will visualize how to build the canvas by cutting, reconfiguring, adhering, sanding, prepping, priming, and repurposing card board boxes, recycled bags, newsprint, catalogues, ephemera, wood, or plastics. I allow the challenging materials to set the tone in how I want to build an installation or canvas.
Many times, I will hunt for specific pieces and seek out large discarded panels to utilize as the base of my canvas, yet they are not an easy find when you are randomly dumpster diving. It is not a retail store where I can shop for the exact items I want on my list. That would be too easy (to go into art supply or hardware store) and goes against my movement of adaptive reuse and upcycling. Yet, that discipline is part of the challenge and distinguishes my unique process. It is stretching out of your comfort zone to create something with the items you have discovered and gathered. It forces me to remain open and speculative.
How do you decide when a work is finished?
Usually, my instinct will let me know this is the final result of your story for the piece. There are times I struggle with whether a piece is completed. I will stare at it and step away to refresh my perspective. If there is a little voice of dissatisfaction in my head or a unspoken disturbance within my logic, it will trigger me. As a perfectionist, I will go back to modify it.
What helps fuel your creative inspiration?
My creative spirit is fueled by the overall greater vision - fragility of the human spirit, the hypocrisy of our society, the struggles of feeling contentment, the narratives behind our history, the conflict of discrimination, the greed of capitalism, the glorification of violence, the advancement of tech and bio technologies, the brainwashing and propaganda of media, the correlation of our planet and habitat, the importance of security, the simplicity of life, and ecological impact.
What are your next big goals for you as an artist?
My big goals: I would like J’ Atelier9 to be supported and recognized by avid art collectors, curators, museums, influencers, critics, gallerists, artists and loyal fans in order to gain more exposure, expand my visible traction, and increase my reach globally. I would like to work on a commission or large-scale installation project to continue my movement of repurposing and touch others across the world with sustainable fine arts.
How long have you been using Altamira? What has your experience been so far on the platform?
I began using Altamira a few months ago and have taken advantage of utilizing the chat appointments with its founder. Each discussion with Mr. Facchinello has been insightful. I appreciate that Altamira is a PIONEER in as far as a new platform to support emerging artists by providing them exposure and a needed marketing tool. There hasn’t been a platform like this to my knowledge. I have enjoyed navigating the site and used my voice to provide insight and feedback. I understand it still has growing pains and much more to structure internally, yet I am excited and honored to be a part of its infancy run and will continue to support it.
So far, it has been educational & an added alternative for artists, curators, collectors, and fans to join an intimate platform with engaging accessibility and respectful banter. I am extremely enthusiastic to be a part of this pioneering Altamira community.
Altamira is a social commerce platform that assists contemporary artists in gaining recognition and selling their work online. It allows art fans, lovers, collectors, critics, and novices to discover the top art of today, each day. Altamira welcomes new artists to apply and join their exciting community, for details and to submit your work please click here.
Alicia Puig has been a contributing writer for Create! Magazine since 2017. Find more of her work: www.aliciapuig.com