Winter Park Magazine September Issue Cover Artist

We shared great food with art lovers at Orchid Thai Cuisine in Winter Park last night to celebrate my cover as featured artist in the September issue of Winter Park Magazine.

Winter Park, Florida artist Jeff League celebrates cover of Winter Park Magazine.

Art Director Lynne Polley put together a terrific layout and has shared the issue with us here; I especially like her choice of “Titmouse” for the cover, these little birds are quite entertaining at the feeder in the morning…

Titmouse encaustic photography by Jeff League on Winter Park Magazine

From the article:

Artist Jeff League, 41, explores the possibilities of photography on canvas. His recent work combines fine art photography with the medium of encaustic painting (beeswax and resin). The Winter Park resident says the medium, originally used by the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, allows him to explore myth and nature in his work.

League is a visual storyteller trained at the Crealdé School of Art in Winter Park. He uses an involved process to cultivate distinctive visual compositions built upon layers of expanding and saturated pigments, dreamlike textures and haunting silhouettes. This allows League to explore painting, surface texture, and size that he could not in his previous Polaroid or black-and-white photography.

Drawing inspiration from archetypal or representative imagery with mythical references, he uses crows in many of his pieces, alluding to their role as messengers in Greek mythology. The crows, League says, are messengers to the modern audience warning us of our effect on the environment. He keeps his imagery simple, with abstract color painting or ancient maps in the background and archetypal imagery in the forefront.

League’s work is displayed in galleries and private collections across the United States. The Polk Museum, The Museum of Florida Art, Orlando Museum of Art, and The Austrian Super Circuit, in Linz, Austria, have exhibited his work. Polaroid Corporation has selected his photography for its permanent collection.

WHICH ARTISTS HAVE INSPIRED AND INFLUENCED YOU?

I draw my inspiration from many people. California glass artist William Morris’ use of primitive artifacts and imagery is simple, primal and speaks to my soul.
I am drawn to Swedish glass artist Bertil Vallien’s work depicting spirit boats carrying the souls to the afterlife; whether or not you believe in that.
American mythologist, writer and lecturer, Joseph Campbell is a favorite writer and is best known for his work in comparative mythology and comparative religion.
The way that black-and-white photographer Vincent Serbin flaunts the proper way to process photos – cutting, taping, and drawing on photographic negatives – is very expressive to me.
Local artist, personal friend, and sometimes collaborator Tony Eitharong has influenced me. Everyone in the art community knows Tony – what can I say.
The lyrics of Neil Peart, drummer for the band Rush, inspire poetic imagery. I’ve been a Rush geek since I was 10 years old.

WHEN AND WHERE DO YOU WORK?

I do a lot of my work in my head, in that space between asleep and awake – sitting in the morning with my coffee, watching the birds at the feeder. The actual production of my ideas in studio is just executing the steps that I’ve already worked out in my head. I work from the end result backwards through the process. For the past couple of years, most of my studio time has been relegated to nights and weekends, so having it all thought out ahead of time works for me.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE SUBJECTS?

I’ve been fascinated with birds since I was a small child. I’m especially drawn to the crow because of
its high level of intelligence. I’m intrigued by Greek, Asian and Norse myths that portray the crow as either god or messenger.

DESCRIBE YOUR WORK STYLE?

My work could be labeled as natural and figurative presented in an abstract context with emotional colors – both vibrant and subtle.

WHAT MEDIUMS DO YOU USE?

I use a mixture of watercolor and reproductions of antique maps in the background. I build my imagery with a mixture of black-and-white photo transfer, encaustic (beeswax and resin) painting, oils and metal leaf – all layered on and between the layers of wax medium and flamed with a blowtorch.
I’m exploring and now developing my body of work in this subject matter in cast glass. I studied with Daniel Clayman at the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina this summer.

CREATIVE PHILOSOPHY

“Follow the white rabbit” . . .

Gorgeous Museum Catalog!

Imagine my surprise when I opened our mail and saw this!

Jeff League mixed media collaborative exhibition - Visual Unity 2

Last year I was invited by fellow artist Rocky Bridges to join what sounded like an interesting project – Visual Unity 2.  Rocky had previously organized a similar exhibition in 2009 with the Morean Arts Center in St. Petersburg.   The big idea –  organize the artists into teams and work together to create new art.  Rocky had secured the backing  of the Polk Museum of Art to organize a similar invitational exhibit on a larger scale.

Polk Museum executive director Daniel Stetson and curator Adam Justice got together with Rocky and cooked up some amazing artists teams – among them myself and Tony Eitharong.  Brave souls – this type of exhibition can be tricky for both the museum and the artist –  it adds an element of uncertainty for the museum to show previously unseen work, without being able to review and select ahead of time.  The teams were selected to create a diverse body of work, a creative mix of media and styles. Luckily, this was a great match.

Little did they know that Tony and I were already a good team – we sometimes travel to shows together, eat lots of extra-spicy Thai food, drink beer, you know those things that artists do when they hang out.  Here’s a photo while at Tony’s studio,

Artist Tony Eitharong in the studio

In short, we’ve influenced each other over the years. So this was a great chance to actually work on something together, not just give each other feedback on our respective work.

Curator Adam Justice, “Collaboration means compromise. It can also mean association and coexistence. History has proven that by experimenting collaboratively, artists can either build a reciprocating relationship or become segregated rivals. But the potential toxicity of an unbalanced mixture of personality and ideas in an artists’ studio can often be remedied by its own nature; although two vehicles of creativity may forcefully collide, they will likely reconstruct one another into new and unexpected engines“.

View the Catalog:

Read an excerpt of the catalog for the “Visual Unity 2” collaboration between Jeff League and Tony Eitharong

Encaustic photography and mixed media collaboration by Jeff League and Tony EItharong

Tony Eitharong and Jeff League, Untitled, 2010, phototransfer, encaustic, watercolor, wood and action figure

 

Snap! Artists Q & A: Jeff League

From Snap! Celebrate the Photograph

Continuing our Q &A series with this year’s Snap! artists, we decided to talk technique and creative process with local artist Jeff League, whose images can be seen in Snap!’s HOMEGROWN Exhibit(local Central Florida photographers) at Orlando Museum of Art. Jeff’s artistic process is rare and complex with unique and striking results. Here’s what he shared with us…

Snap!: Your artwork is not straight photography, but rather, incorporates photographic elements in combination with the rare medium of encaustic painting. How did you come to this particular art style and process? What about it resonates for you?

JL: I was searching for another medium that would allow me to create my own imagery and be able to express more than I had with straight photography.  I saw a photo transfer demonstration and was intrigued. Building up the piece in multiple layers creates an atmosphere and depth, an almost three dimensional quality not present in my previous work.

Snap! Your images incorporate a lot of nature elements, with birds and trees appearing most often. What about those subjects most intrigues you?

JL: The crows I use in much of my work historically represented the messenger in many cultures; for example in Scandinavia, messenger to the Norse gods. In many pieces the theme involves communication or the relationship of the individual to the global society; the message has multiple interpretations. Like the crow, I want my audience to pay attention to what’s happening to the natural world around them.

Snap! Tell us a little bit about the process of creating one of your images. How does the work unfold from initial concept to the final image we enjoy on canvas?

JL: I start with my idea and pull together my photos, or take new ones for the different elements in each composition. The first layer on my boards is water color paper, or a scan of an antique map printed on watercolor paper. After painting my background in watercolor, I paint on a layer of encaustic medium (beeswax & tree resin, sometimes with pigment added). Next, I scrape and then flame the surface with a blowtorch to level it, then transfer and hand burnish the first layer of photography (photocopied & cut into the different elements so I can place them upside down). The photo ink transfers onto the waxy surface, and I peel the paper away.

Encaustic photography technique by Winter Park artist Jeff League

Transferring a copy of my photo in reverse over the background and first layers of clear encaustic medium.

I repeat this process, building the image in layers, and painting in details by hand, sometimes adding metal leaf or oil stick.

Encaustic technique as demonstrated by Florida artist Jeff League

Painting foreground with a mixture of beeswax, tree resin, and pigment.

I flame and polish the final layer of un-pigmented encaustic to a high sheen, giving it a glowing and translucent finish.

Snap! Your art is included in Snap!’s HOMEGROWN exhibit of local Central FL photographers (hosted at Orlando Museum of Art). What do you hope event attendees walk away with after viewing your work and the collective exhibit?

JL: Developments in technology have made a variety of photographic techniques easily accessible to a whole new generation.  Many artists go through an elaborate pre-shoot planning process, building sets and props, that the casual observer might not even be aware of. For the fine artist, photography is just one of many tools available to convey a message. But for the artist, the message, the story, is the most important part, not just the technique.

Snap!: What’s next for you and your work after your participation in Snap! Orlando?

JL: I’ve been sharing my message through photography, first in black and white, then Polaroid transfer, now in combination with painting. Next, I plan to continue the story by incorporating the photographic elements with glass. The story will continue, but become even more three dimensional and sculptural.

 

The Arts Connection

Encaustic artist Jeff League featured on WMFE’s The Art’s Connection in a video interview at the former Millenia Fine Art Gallery in Maitland, Florida.

Secily Wilson: Hello and welcome to the Arts Connection, your program about all things creative here in Central Florida.

I’m Secily Wilson and this week we’re joining you from the beautiful Millenia Fine Art in Maitland. And the galleries here hold stunning displays of art from this dazzling collection of work by artist Dale Chihuly, whose specialty of course, is blown glass sculptures – to an amazing showcase of work by a local artist. And of course we’ll talk to the president of the gallery shortly to learn more.

Well we’ve moved into the main gallery of Millenia Fine Art in Maitland and joining me now is the president of the gallery Jeff Hall, and Jeff, simply amazing here, thank you for having us.

Jeff Hall: Sure, thank you for stopping by.

Secily: Tell us more.

Jeff: Sure, the gallery located now in Maitland/Winter Park, we’ve moved recently from down at Conroy and I-4. We moved to a larger location, and we now occupy about 30,000 square feet and it’s also a feeder in the headquarters to help assist or other locations in New York, Las Vegas and other part of the world opening shortly.

Secily: Now you have artwork from all over the world, but here in the main gallery you’re featuring a local artist who uses a very rare medium. Tell us more about that.

Jeff: We’re very proud to have by Jeff League as part of our stable of artists, not only is Jeff using a rare method of encaustic which is using resin and beeswax in introducing that with the photography, but he’s also part of the Millennia family working with us, so we’re very proud to see his work move to the next level and we’re excited about the show that we have here and also some things we have coming up for him in New York.

Secily: Absolutely his work is amazing!

Winter Park’s Big Show


Winter Park’s Big Show, Winter Park Magazine, March 2010

WHERE THE SIDEWALK BLENDS… ART, MUSIC, FOOD AND FUN
by Justine Griffin
HOMETOWN ARTISTS Of the 225 artists participating in the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, three are from Winter Park: Edson Campos, Bernie Martin and Jeff League. Artists are chosen by a committee appointed by the festival’s administration.

Jeff League always knew he wanted to be an artist. “It just took me a while to really find my voice,” League says. Originally from Gainesville, League studied music before trying black and white photography, and finally, visual art. League says he found his path in visual art, creating images that he calls “mixed media painting.”

League works with an encaustic medium, – beeswax and tree resin – and then adds photography or paints other images on top. “I saw a demonstration by local artist Audrey Phillips that really inspired me,” League says. “It showed me that you could transfer imagery to the encaustic.”

League’s work has been showcased in galleries throughout Central Florida, such as the Museum of Florida Art, the Orlando Museum of Art and, most recently, in the Lombard Contemporary Art exhibit at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Hotel. Some of his photography also has been selected by the Polaroid Corporation and placed into its permanent collection. League also works for the Millenia Gallery in Orlando.

This will be League’s third appearance in the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival. “The camaraderie among the artists in this particular festival is fun,” he says. “And showing my art in front of thousands of people is great.”