Artist as Conduit
By April Sullivan
Jarrad Hamilton is a Dallas area artist whom I met a few years ago when he entered some of our Veteran exhibitions. Jarrad is from Augusta, Georgia where he started making art at two years old. He would draw on scraps of paper that his mother gave him and always looked forward to getting the pink papers, not realizing that the pink ones meant they were late bills or an eviction notice. He finds it interesting the dichotomy of that memory being one of beauty and joy for him, even though it may have been the opposite for his mom.
Jarrad now lives in Dallas, Texas with his wife and children. He makes art for the Neo-Soul or the progressive soul. One of my favorite things about talking to Jarrad is watching his brilliant mind in action. When I asked Jarrad about the medium that he works in, he answered in typical Jarrad fashion – by going beyond the answer of saying his medium is acrylic because he likes the vibrancy of colors.
A medium is a substance that is used to express, so, for Jarrad, life is the ultimate medium. It is where artists get the inspiration to express themselves. A medium can also be defined as a person who can communicate with the dead, acting as a conduit and allowing us to connect. A conduit, such as the copper wires that run through the electrical system to allow the electricity to flow through. So, as an artist, a medium such as acrylic paint is like the copper wires, allowing us to express our artistic energy to the world. See what I mean? Wow!
Jarrad’s artwork comes from his dreams, visions, and daydreams. He dreams in black and white and adds color to it. He sees his work as alive. The energy flowing through it is alive. Each new piece is like starting a new relationship. They go through their ups and downs together. When he begins a painting, even he doesn’t know what it is, or where it is going. He paints the composition as it comes to him, and eventually the meaning is revealed to him, which is always exhilarating.
Jarrad’s art is inspired by his African American culture, his military experience, and, as he said, life in general. He uses art as a form of healing and therapy. He likes to use symbols in his art, because symbols are a way to communicate that which can be larger than words, and represent something bigger than us.
Jarrad’s advice to other artists is to learn how to be yourself. Learn who you are. Think about what you like, not what you dislike. The things we dislike make us more of a human. The things we like make us more of an artist because we want to share those things with other people. And learn your story. Your testimonial is the most powerful thing you have to share.
To view and experience Jarrad Hamilton’s art, visit jarradhamilton.com or find him on Instagram at @he.art33 or Facebook at jarradfineart.