Saturday, 28 August 2010

Beauty and Spirituality; Digital artist Jeff Wack

Digital Artist - Jeff Wack
In this post I want to show some works by Jeff Wack, who is an artist, illustrator and graphic designer based in Los Angeles. Wack works with digital tools in making his art, photographing his subject and then manipulating the image with computer software and occasionally embellishing his giclee prints with traditional mediums.

Paying Homage
There are two reasons why I have chosen to show Wack's work. The first is because his work is clearly referencing and paying homage to earlier artists like Botticelli, Klimt and Mucha.

I saw a piece by Wack recently and it was immediately obvious that it fell into the homage category. The piece which is called 'Acqua Mossa LA', (see below), clearly pays homage to Gustav Klimt's painting of 1904-07' called 'Water Serpents II'.

'Acqua Mossa LA'
Copyright by Jeff Wack.

'Water Serpents II'
Gustav Klimt, 1904-1907.

Below is Wacks reworking of another famous piece, that of Alphonse Mucha called "The Moon".

'The Moon'
Copyright by Jeff Wack.

'The Moon'
Alphonse Mucha,
(from The Moon and the Stars series), 1902.

"The Birth of Venus" is one of the greatest pieces of sensual and erotic art and below you can see Wacks interpretation of that famous piece of art.

Copyright by Jeff Wack.

'The Birth of Venus'
Sandro Botticelli, 1485-1486

EroticArtLover: What is your motivation for paying homage to earlier artists? What is interesting about 'reproducing' an image that has already been created, instead of creating a new one of your own?

JW: Artists of all mediums have paid homage to one another across time — it is the visual identification of those ideas that have inspired great artists to best their own efforts. As much as I have been satisfied in creating my own original works, I have always had an immense admiration for several artists and genres — from Renaissance and Art Nouveau to Deco or Pin-Up styles — when it comes to figurative female representation.

The challenge of recreating certain pieces with my own artistic twist is immensely gratifying. Giving them the look of a more photographic (or “real”) interpretation and presenting actual models posed in a familiar piece forces a viewer to rethink their conceptions of the original work. It is also an exercise in which close examination of the original work puts me more in touch with what the artist saw and ultimately expressed in the original work. I've found, as with most great work, certain artistic liberties (such as proportions and physical contortions) need to be taken in regards to the human form, however.

I don't try to replicate exacting poses of some original works because of the realism I am attempting to create but there are many shots of body elements I take and piece together to recreate a look. Often I attempt to hit a “middle-ground”, or in some cases a more personal aesthetic, while still paying a deep appreciation for the finer sensibilities of the original work.

Beauty & Spirituality
Idealised beauty and picturesque scenes has always been used in art, but with the mass media's abuse and trivialization of beauty, artistic renditions of beauty for beauty's sake can now quickly appear kitsch, sentimental and tripe.
There is nevertheless an emerging Zeitgeist (a general thought or feeling) in some artistic circles, that working with beauty and creating aesthetically pleasing artwork is a valid and worthwhile endeavour. Artists in general, work with subjects close to their heart and artists who create erotic works of art pertain not only to the tactile and physical, but also to the spiritual and emotional.
The connection of beauty with erotica seems obvious. It is usually the physical appearance of an individual which we are first attracted by. However, for most people beauty in itself is not enough, if they want to create a lasting relationship with deeper meaning. Aesthetic beauty is skin deep and the classical idealized human beauty often fades with time. That is why emotions and spirituality play an important part in the development of a relationship and therefore also in relation to the erotic.
Which brings me onto my second reason for showing Wacks work. In the work shown below, Wack has created mildly erotic imagery with a distinct sense of aesthetic beauty and spirituality. Wack's work is sensual imagery where spirituality is seen to play on the connection between the female and nature (cosmos, the seasons, etc.) and the tantric tradition.

Copyright by Jeff Wack.

'La Bella NevaehLleh'
Copyright by Jeff Wack.

'Winter Soul'
Copyright by Jeff Wack.

Copyright by Jeff Wack.


Copyright by Jeff Wack.

'Inner Spark'
Copyright by Jeff Wack.

'Palm Flower'
Copyright by Jeff Wack.

EroticArtLover: Why have you chosen to work with beauty and create aesthetically pleasing images?

I have consciously chosen to deal with a more idealized form of female figurative representation as an expression in my series of work. Although stark realism and overtly sexual or even macabre themes are genres I can fully appreciate at times, I decided to stay away from those in general, just as I have ( up until now) specifically avoided putting in elements that give a context of obvious time and space. All the settings in which the models reside are usually tied to an organic atmosphere or landscape avoiding modern visual cues such as dwellings ,urban life or time specific costume accents. I do however include certain models tattoos which are very commonplace these days if I feel they may enhance the interest.
I very much see the connection between earth and the female in all their manifestations, creator of life, nurturing spirit and object of beauty and desire.

EroticArtLover: Are you concerned about letting your art become or appear sentimental?

JW: I suppose that would be in the eye of the beholder ultimately. Several pieces I have are not going to appeal to a lot of viewers looking for visually harder constructs of psychological or sexual tension and I am acutely aware of that. However I have attempted to infuse each piece with a certain aura of energy, symbolic ethereal surrealism, and interesting technique as to hopefully take them out of the context of overt sentimentalism. My intent has been to create something pleasing to both sexes that depicts a womans wonderful sensuous power, and while not disregarding their innate sexual energy, neither making it the main focus.

EroticArtLover: I am aware that your beautiful piece "Oceana" have won you a number of awards. What in your opinion, is it that makes this work so special and successful? What qualities set it apart from your other work?

JW: This work has gotten awards ranging form the XTO Award, exhibited at the Farmani Gallery in New York to the international "Master Winner' award from Erotic Signature. It will be touring several cities this coming year in their ArtUndressed Show.

I think having the figures appear suspended in a "state of water" gives the viewer the freedom to decide "what's happening" — whether she's "rising up" and "breaking free" of the seaweed or some other explanation. Combining that with the serene composure expressed in the model's face and limbs along with the light emanating down into the water and bouncing on the figures and the motion trails, each seem to elicit a general response of visual beauty that is commonly shared. It's also my belief that, for most people, being in water triggers a sensation of deep primal visceral freedom — this art resonates with that sensation.Even though I have some other works in a very similar vein , Oceana has been the most represented in gallery showings so far.

For more information and to see more works by Jeff Wack please visit his homepage here.


  1. Interesting work. Love the Klimt inspired work. Particularly like 'La Bella NevaehLleh' which is very evocative of Tamara De Lempicka's work "La Belle Rafaelo".

  2. These paintings are beautiful. I love all the homage pieces in particular. Very well thought out with great talent.

  3. Mr. Wacks comments bring new understanding and insight in to his work. His thought processes open the work up to greater appreciation. Great paintings.

  4. These new pieces are spectacular! I've been a fan of Jeff's work for quite some time. But now, with this in-depth interview and his fascinating explanation of the genesis and execution of these pieces, I have an entirely new appreciation for his creative process. Again, spectacular!
    John Towey

  5. Jeff Wack has impressed me over the short time that I've viewed his artwork. His recent work blew me away. As an artist, Jeff is very creative and as a person he's great to know". Carl

  6. It's been my pleasure and privilege to see Jeff's style evolve and blossom in to what it is today. Having delivered some of the best commercial airbrush artwork of the last 2 decades, Jeff brings an extraordinary professionalism to the "fine art" genre of female forms he's compelled to paint. I look forward to seeing every new work, wondering if he can "best" his best efforts. The last piece is no exception — Jeff has set the bar high for himself, and consequently, for other artists to come.

  7. I have been a great admirer of Jeff Wack's work for some time. I find his pieces evocative of another era. One of peaceful beauty and grace where one can for a brief moment drift away into that peace, and rest in it's serene beautiful calm. Something sorely missing in todays world.
    While his subjects may be nude there is nothing of the overt sexual nature pandered to by so much of what is in our face today. Rather just graceful beauty to be appreciated and admired.

  8. First off... I had no idea Jeff Wack's "Venus" was inspired by "The Birth of Venus"... Wow... That's amazing! To get straight to the point...
    I really appreciate this article on the artist Jeff Wack. I've seen his work for years and it's such a great thing to see people taking notice of his amazing talent. Thank you for this interview... I loved it when Jeff Wack said "I very much see the connection between earth and the female in all their manifestations, creator of life, nurturing spirit and object of beauty and desire." The interview was enjoyable. Thank you interviewing one of our modern greats that's finally coming center stage through interviews and pieces like this!

    Oh, I also love the piece title "Fall" that Jeff Wack did as well. I just love it!