NATURE IN ART
Upon opening up Jeremy Silva’s webpage I was intrigued. His art popped out of the screen, rainbows of vibrant colours matched with natural elements. I knew this guy had a deeper story to tell and as I read the words that lay on this page, it made sense. I hopped onto a call with Jeremy where he sat in his New York Studio surrounded by his creations prominently visible against crisp clean white walls.
Our conversation instantly flowed into incredibly emotional and deeply engaging topics that surrounded his life – from the conservation and preservation of nature, to religion and “making it” as an artist in New York City. His easy going and gently, bright aura emanated through my screen (despite the late night call for him!) – qualities I was immediately drawn to in his work.
Jeremy Silva was brought up in a large Catholic family on the Big Island of Hawaii. His sexuality brought on many struggles growing up, including “bullying and religious guilt.” To escape these frustrations, he would wander into nature “to hide and be alone”. The time he spent in nature allowed him to quite naturally realise how everything around us is connected and alive. “Everything was conscious to me.” He said.
“Because of this connection I felt, I started to see how we were/are treating the planet in the wrong ways. I saw how we just take, take, and take, without love or understanding of everything’s roll in our environment. I could see how religion poisons our minds and views of the world in so many ways I can’t even say it here.”
Amongst other things, nature and music idols led Jeremy Silva to New York City. He describes Madonna “like a mother and a muse… she gave me the strength and courage to get through a lot of things.” Silva was inspired by the famous American entertainer’s story on moving to NYC and becoming a renowned artist. “I would always dream that one day I would move to NYC and be an artist just like her but in my own way, to tell my story. And it all really happened for me. I moved to NYC in a very similar way 18 years ago and eventually became my own artist. I found my own voice in the world… Madonna’s messages inspired me to have a voice and share it with the world.”
From a young age, Silva knew that he would figure out a way to share the things he’s seen and experienced with the world. “Later on, I understood that my life experiences are quite unique, except I didn’t realise the depth of my uniqueness!“
One cannot help but be intrigued and consumed by his creations. The shapes, colours and textures are a feast to the senses and trigger emotions that are deeply embedded within us – the connection we have to nature. Jeremy’s own unique experiences are the main reason for this. As a child he would play with hot lava, “seeing it form, feeling its heat, creating new land – it all felt so alive to me.” He adds, “I had this crazy garden on the side of a volcanic pit with many kinds of tropical plants and trees. I realized on my own that the more attention or “love” I gave them, the more beautiful they became. In my mind they had feelings, they had moods.” His love and respect for nature did not stop in his backyard. Jeremy has experienced intensely magical encounters with one of the planet’s largest mammals – a female Humpback Whale – that he met “eye to eye” as an adult. “I could see and feel that she had this ancient old wisdom in her. She was as curious about me, as I was of her.”
“I’ll never forget when I first moved to NYC, almost 18 years ago, and I went to the top of a tall building for the first time. Looking down, I could not help but think the entire city itself was alive, like a human nest in the way it works. The way we move, the way we build, it was no different to me than many other life forms on this planet.”
The works of Jeremy Silva represent all of this; “They are alive and conscious. They are full of my stories, and memories.”
Nature is a recurrent theme in the artists work as nature was his place to escape societal pressure and norms that he may not have fit into. His works portray a message that is far beyond the aesthetic beauty. “I want people to look deeper at what and who is around us. To see that there is so much undiscovered magic that we are destroying quicker than we can discover. I want to inspire people to take better care of our world, to start showing our environment and the people around us with more love! It’s truly about capturing and preserving the beauty that we are destroying.”
As we side tracked our conversation on sustainable development across the globe, Jeremy remarks, “I just remember thinking to myself, every time I saw someone cut down a tree or catch a fish I felt extreme sadness inside of me. I really wish they would realise what they were doing. But then, I was just a shy gay kid…” The conscious artist loves to talk about his experiences and stories to help people understand “the bigger picture”. “When they understand the way nature work, they will treat things and nature in a more conscious way.”
Jeremy Silva’s chosen mediums not only bring the work to life but also tell different stories. A 3D piece of art is created; “Instead of canvas, I use light as my base. If you hear my stories, you will start to see what I see. I see swimming whales, dolphins, sharks and other sea creatures. I see sunsets on the ocean. I see lava flows burning, forming, cooling.” In his work, one can notice the shadow of a whale which Jeremy says, “is not something on purpose, it just comes together that way.”
Jeremy matches the medium with the nature source he wants to talk about. “I use glass because it reminds me of playing with real lava, it’s got the same heat, and stiffness. I use driftwood and Black Sand because they remind me of my favourite beach. I use black Pavement paint because when it dries it looks and feels like cooled lava. It’s all there.”
He adds, “everyone sees something different in my work, it’s a very personal experience.”
A team of very experienced and talented glass artists and fabricators, under his artistic direction, are involved in his creations. “They are like my paintbrushes.” He adds, “I do like to get my hands on certain parts of the blowing process, mainly the shaping of the work. As far as the colour, we have a very unique way of getting them into my work, but it’s all a secret!”
Jeremy Silva recently collaborated with best friend artist David Paul Kay whom we recently featured in VAMP Magazine. “I am unable to mention at this time any new shows, I guess we will just have to see what happens next!“