interview and portraits by Beata Kanter


 

JAY MIRIAM 1/3


 

 

Beata Kanter: How did you start painting?

 

Jay Miriam: Rocks. My love for rocks propelled me into drawing, and later on mountains inspired my approach to color. 

 


TWO WOMEN AND A DOVE

OIL ON LINEN, 2017


 

 

BK: Do you think there’s a period that your paintings naturally inhabit?

 

JM: Yes, in the present. I’ve recently begun to see, understand and be exposed to other painters my age. There is a very interesting fluidity in their work. They are artists who know the rules and are breaking them in a unique way. They are practicing a more liberal approach.

 

BK: Do you agree that in order to break the rules, you have to learn them first?

 

JM: I never really understood the rules. I’m not sure if I’m breaking them or following them.

 

BK: But you have a base. You know about human anatomy, proportions, etc. …

 

JM: I believe those skills do not require a formal education. I think anyone can paint and draw, if they are willing to really see.

 

 

 


JAY MIRIAM 2/3


 

 

BK: Your personal affairs, intimate relationship… do they influence your work?

                       

JM: They do and they don’t.

 

 

I see a lot of inspiration all around me. It is a combination of people’s gravity and spirit.”

 

 

For instance, I do these mental exercises where I pick a body part and focus on it for a week straight. Say it’s something like… nostrils. I will study people’s nostrils. The best place is the subway. I try to get a seat so I can look up. You can always tell how someone is feeling based on the flare of their nostrils. That also changes the way their mouth moves, how the cheekbones align, how they might then hold their head. This one tiny part of the body can help dictate the entire emotion of a person’s spirit.

 

BK: …Incredible. Where do you imagine yourself ending up at the end of that subway ride?

 

JM: Coney island. I would love to spend a day in Coney Island any time of the year.

 

BK: Why?

 

JM: It feels like history somehow stopped… there. You can have a funnel cake, go on a rollercoaster, you could be in New York in 1990, 1980, it doesn’t matter because you’re in Coney Island.

 

 

 


 

LOOKING ABOUT INQUISITIVELY 

OIL ON LINEN, 2017


 

 

BK: Where have you been outside of New York?

 

JM: When I was younger my family and I would constantly road trip across the country. We’d spend a lot of time getting lost on the road, stopping by small towns, national forests, etc. I remember hugging a lot of trees as a kid. The furthest destination though, is Augustów, Poland. A small city close to Belarus where my family is from.

 

BK: You’re Polish! Does your heritage influence your work?

 

JM: Hard to say. I eat a lot of pastries.

 

 

 


 

PASTRIES ON MARS

OIL ON LINEN, 2017


 

 

BK: Would you agree that your choice of color is not based on reality?

 

JM: It’s hard to say what reality is. We don’t see all the colors that exist. Humans don’t have a full spectrum of color available to us. There’s a ton more colors out there that we cannot see.

 

BK: Who can see them?

 

JM: I’m not sure… I just know that we are limited. I recently looked back in an old diary, one that I kept from the ages of fourteen to fifteen. There was a passage about how I wanted to be a painter, and in it was a sentence that said something along the lines of…

 

“I think I should be a painter because I see more colors in a rock than I do in a rainbow.”

 

BK: You do?

 

JM: Yes. I believe that there’s no such thing as a color to define something. All objects are built up of layers of colors, so as a painter when you create something you decide which layers you’re highlighting.

 

 

 

 


JAY MIRIAM 3/3


 

 

 

 

BK: Have you ever experienced synesthesia?

 

JM: I didn’t know that was possible until the first time I dropped acid. I think it was the Spring of 2009.  I was with my friend in a ravine. The water was cold but it was hot outside. You know, spring temperate air. As I lay there the water ran through my legs and body. Suddenly every sound that I heard became a wave of color around me. The sounds of the water, the sounds of the birds, everything was just this panorama of color of sound.

 

BK: How beautiful... I envy that free spirit.

 

As a painter, you are putting your thoughts and emotions on display. Is there something you want people to know?

 

 


 

LOST MARBLES

OIL ON LINEN, 2017


 

 

JM: Yes. That it’s okay to be lost. The expressionistic qualities of my paintings are constantly questioning themselves, and there doesn’t have to be a definitive answer.

 

“The more open you are to be lost, the more able you are to find yourself.”

 

BK: Do you ever feel like you’ll run out of new ideas?

 

JM: No. Sometimes I need to check my imagination in place, to get back to reality. Otherwise I’m afraid I’ll go crazy. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

for more on the artist, visit her website at dzajg.com

interview and portraits by Beata Kanter


 

JAY MIRIAM 1/3


 

 

Beata Kanter: How did you start painting?

 

Jay Miriam: Rocks. My love for rocks propelled me into drawing, and later on mountains inspired my approach to color. 

 


TWO WOMEN AND A DOVE

OIL ON LINEN, 2017


 

 

BK: Do you think there’s a period that your paintings naturally inhabit?

 

JM: Yes, in the present. I’ve recently begun to see, understand and be exposed to other painters my age. There is a very interesting fluidity in their work. They are artists who know the rules and are breaking them in a unique way. They are practicing a more liberal approach.

 

BK: Do you agree that in order to break the rules, you have to learn them first?

 

JM: I never really understood the rules. I’m not sure if I’m breaking them or following them.

 

BK: But you have a base. You know about human anatomy, proportions, etc. …

 

JM: I believe those skills do not require a formal education. I think anyone can paint and draw, if they are willing to really see.

 

 

 


JAY MIRIAM 2/3


 

 

BK: Your personal affairs, intimate relationship… do they influence your work?

                       

JM: They do and they don’t.

 

 

I see a lot of inspiration all around me. It is a combination of people’s gravity and spirit.”

 

 

For instance, I do these mental exercises where I pick a body part and focus on it for a week straight. Say it’s something like… nostrils. I will study people’s nostrils. The best place is the subway. I try to get a seat so I can look up. You can always tell how someone is feeling based on the flare of their nostrils. That also changes the way their mouth moves, how the cheekbones align, how they might then hold their head. This one tiny part of the body can help dictate the entire emotion of a person’s spirit.

 

BK: …Incredible. Where do you imagine yourself ending up at the end of that subway ride?

 

JM: Coney island. I would love to spend a day in Coney Island any time of the year.

 

BK: Why?

 

JM: It feels like history somehow stopped… there. You can have a funnel cake, go on a rollercoaster, you could be in New York in 1990, 1980, it doesn’t matter because you’re in Coney Island.

 

 

 


 

LOOKING ABOUT INQUISITIVELY 

OIL ON LINEN, 2017


 

 

BK: Where have you been outside of New York?

 

JM: When I was younger my family and I would constantly road trip across the country. We’d spend a lot of time getting lost on the road, stopping by small towns, national forests, etc. I remember hugging a lot of trees as a kid. The furthest destination though, is Augustów, Poland. A small city close to Belarus where my family is from.

 

BK: You’re Polish! Does your heritage influence your work?

 

JM: Hard to say. I eat a lot of pastries.

 

 

 


 

PASTRIES ON MARS

OIL ON LINEN, 2017


 

 

BK: Would you agree that your choice of color is not based on reality?

 

JM: It’s hard to say what reality is. We don’t see all the colors that exist. Humans don’t have a full spectrum of color available to us. There’s a ton more colors out there that we cannot see.

 

BK: Who can see them?

 

JM: I’m not sure… I just know that we are limited. I recently looked back in an old diary, one that I kept from the ages of fourteen to fifteen. There was a passage about how I wanted to be a painter, and in it was a sentence that said something along the lines of…

 

“I think I should be a painter because I see more colors in a rock than I do in a rainbow.”

 

BK: You do?

 

JM: Yes. I believe that there’s no such thing as a color to define something. All objects are built up of layers of colors, so as a painter when you create something you decide which layers you’re highlighting.

 

 

 

 


JAY MIRIAM 3/3


 

 

 

 

BK: Have you ever experienced synesthesia?

 

JM: I didn’t know that was possible until the first time I dropped acid. I think it was the Spring of 2009.  I was with my friend in a ravine. The water was cold but it was hot outside. You know, spring temperate air. As I lay there the water ran through my legs and body. Suddenly every sound that I heard became a wave of color around me. The sounds of the water, the sounds of the birds, everything was just this panorama of color of sound.

 

BK: How beautiful... I envy that free spirit.

 

As a painter, you are putting your thoughts and emotions on display. Is there something you want people to know?

 

 


 

LOST MARBLES

OIL ON LINEN, 2017


 

 

JM: Yes. That it’s okay to be lost. The expressionistic qualities of my paintings are constantly questioning themselves, and there doesn’t have to be a definitive answer.

 

“The more open you are to be lost, the more able you are to find yourself.”

 

BK: Do you ever feel like you’ll run out of new ideas?

 

JM: No. Sometimes I need to check my imagination in place, to get back to reality. Otherwise I’m afraid I’ll go crazy. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

for more on the artist, visit her website at dzajg.com