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Meet Jake Stark, our February Diamond Artist

Artists Features

 To celebrate our 60th anniversary, Liquitex is naming a new artist every month as our Diamond Artist. As well as getting a Liquitex care package tailored specifically to their artistic style, we’re showcasing their work on our website and Facebook page.


Say hello to our February Diamond Artist, UK painter Jake Stark. His prize package consisted of a selection of Liquitex Professional Paint Marker, Liquitex Professional Ink and Liquitex Professional Mediums – learn more about them here.


A systematic theme

As a color-blind artist, Jake Stark sees a very muted palette of color. “Imagine the rainbow,” he says. “Now imagine it as red, mostly yellow with a little bit of orange and a touch of white, and the blue. That’s what I see.”

With shelves of sketchbooks lining his studio, Stark has been painting almost all his life. There’s a systematic theme to his work, and his love of maths and physics is evident in the dynamic and precise aesthetic he consistently adopts. He takes Liquitex Professional Paint Markers and layers the lines, sometimes for hours at a time. In each of his paintings, various surfaces, images, colors, forms and materials come together to form a cohesive whole. 

As he grows as an artist, he’s focusing on creating bodies of work exploring different scientific and philosophical systems. While studying for his Fine Art Practice degree, he primarily explored perception and color theory, based upon his colorblindness and personal thoughts about how his mind works. “Art is a release for me, particularly from depression and anxiety, and it provides me with an understanding of perception. It’s a bit of an obsession, really.” But he doesn’t feel alone in this. “Most artists are looking for answers. It could be a search to better understand the material qualities of paint or an attempt to evoke something in the mind of the viewer. Personally, I make my work to try and understand what I see in relation to what others see. It’s a long, sometimes harrowing process. If anyone is making their artwork with the main aim of making money, they should probably do something else.”



Simple lines with complex depth

During the initial stages of a painting, Stark often sits in a coffee shop with a sketchbook, listening to music. “There’s something calming about the busy chaos of people moving around, and that helps me focus more than sitting quietly, staring at a blank, white page and hoping for something to come forward.” There is one piece of artistic advice that has stuck with him since he was a child, when he was told “there is no line, only the point where one object ends and another begins.”

In the run up to Stark’s final degree show, he received a letter from a lawyer in Los Angeles. Having seen his artwork in a magazine, one of the lawyer’s clients on death row was drawn to the pieces. Through letters, they exchanged ideas that went on to influence Stark’s later artworks. It is something he hopes to create a solo show around in the future.

Stark’s work fundamentally questions the senses. More than abstraction, they represent ideas and sensations of space and reality; a semblance of order within structural chaos. Lines are simple, but even they can become complex. Through this idea, we can understand that the mind is so eager to fill in the blanks that it can see contours that are not actually present.


Minimalism has a clear influence on his work; something that at first seems simple but is in fact extremely complex. Although made up of an arrangement of simple lines, the compositions are intentionally difficult to read, as clear aesthetic delineation would suggest stasis rather than constant flux. “Everything is changing, even if we do not see it,” Jake says. “This opens the notion that if the work is looked at carefully and closely enough, it may alter the sense of sight and hence the wider sense of perception within the viewer. Perception is not just necessarily how we see things, but is the process by which all creativity constructs reality.”


Embracing obstacles

Of his process, Jake says: “I'm constantly reading, from various philosophies to different science papers and psychology papers; trying to look at things from new angles. I’m always trying to gather a better knowledge of the materials I use, like Liquitex Professional Inks and Paint Markers. You have to be willing to explore and your artwork will unravel its secrets to you. Though often a hindrance, my colorblindness opens me up to see new things, so embracing obstacles is crucial.”

Jake Stark is currently writing a book around color theory and understanding perception. Throughout March 2015, he has a solo show at Darkroom Espresso entitled Beautifully Ambiguous, which will feature artworks made with Liquitex Professional Ink and Liquitex Professional Paint Marker.  

February 01, 2015 < Back To News

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