The Verve: Wyoming trip sparks interest, then art became therapy

Artist Jared Anderson paints in his Spokane apartment on March 16. He’s a University High School graduate and attended Spokane Falls Community College. (Tyler Tjomsland)
Artist Jared Anderson paints in his Spokane apartment on March 16. He’s a University High School graduate and attended Spokane Falls Community College. (Tyler Tjomsland)

The very moment you enter Jared Anderson’s apartment just west of downtown Spokane, you know you’ve stepped into the world of an artist; a certain scent lingers in the air, an easel stands in front of a window, canvases and supplies rest everywhere and a still life is staged on a table behind a hand-built grid.

Here the University High School graduate studies both live models who sit on a velvet chair or lounge on a couch, and inanimate objects that he carefully selects. Living or not, what he paints always contains life.

“There’s always a connection between the artist and what he/she paints,” he said. “Art brings to life the artist’s subconscious feelings and love for whatever ideas, concerns and goals they have at the time. I think that art is a huge gift to humans; good sincere art teaches love and faith in higher, more-engulfing subjects of life.”

Anderson, 34, was born in Spokane. At U-Hi he was more involved in sports than art. When he was 15, he traveled to Cody, Wyo., where he was exposed to an abundance of traditional Western art and he was amazed.

“I thought, wow, I want to do that,” he said. After high school, he worked odd jobs and eventually enrolled at Spokane Falls Community College where he took some art classes.

During that time, he was hit by a car and life took a turn; nerve damage and chronic pain gave way to depression, and so he painted. “It became sort of like therapy,” he said. “I decided that I’d rather do art than take classes in it.”

He began meticulously studying and doing on his own, including taking tips from the masters by building his own grids and mixing his own paints and thinning agents, which he cooks and keeps in baby food jars. His motivations are pure and rooted in tradition.

“Art today is like homes built today: in a hurry with cheap materials that they just slap together to make a profit and move on. Traditional homes were built with care, one brick at a time,” he said. “Paintings need time and love.”

His paintings are reminiscent of the past: thoughtful studies of people, animals, places and things brought to life by texture, compositional placement, and light. “I use light as a tool to draw the viewer into the painting,” he said.

Living off a settlement from the accident, Anderson lives frugally and paints daily. He has exhibited his work sparingly at Shotgun Studios in Peaceful Valley, at an antique shop, at Art Spirit in Coeur d’Alene, and at Main Market in downtown Spokane.

His goals are to keep learning and keep painting, maybe teach others, and find a studio space. Inclined to observe and study, Anderson enjoys the solitude of his chosen profession, believing it connects him to something bigger.

“Art makes us, we don’t make it,” he said.

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