Who: Ava Jeune
Artist’s Chosen Location for Interview: Hope Mausoleum (4841 Canal Street): In the shade of someone’s tomb.
Q: How would you describe the human condition?
A: I would say it has a lot to do with people accepting the fact that they’re incredibly flawed and trying your best to improve it. There’s this expectation to act like you aren’t flawed in order to be perceived in the best way, but that’s not human at all.
Embracing your flaws is what makes us human.
And I’ve only gotten to this point about 6 months ago – where I could make my flaws my strengths. Or at least try and make my flaws my strengths. I went through a couple of years of a nomadic state without committing 100% to anything. I based a lot of my writing out of that – the interactions and things that I know from my nomadic state. It was a flaw in a way – not being able to fully commit – and I turned it into a strength through my writing, and that also influences my art.
The writing is something called writing videography. I don’t know if that’s actually a thing or not, but it’s what I do. I wanted to put my poetry out there but in a different way since there’s such a saturation of text on the Internet with poetry. So I splice together different visuals – I don’t sing or anything – and put music over that while I audibly say the poetry that I’ve written.
Q: What color do you wish could be part of your body?
A: Blue. I wish I could be blue. It’s such a beautiful color – whether it is super deep or that Carolina blue. For my art show, all of the figures in my work are blue. I didn’t want my art to be a political or race thing. I just wanted it to be about how you feel, and that came out as blue.
Although I would love green, too. There’s that awesome alien movie where she’s all green. I can’t think of the name of the movie, but her green is so awesome.
Q: What’s different about your thoughts in the morning when you wake up versus your thoughts when you are about to go to sleep?
A: In the mornings I’m super groggy, so I’m not fully on point. I’ll be lucky if I remember something I wanted to write about and write it down the night before.
My thoughts at night are everything I have to do that I didn’t get to accomplish. It’s all about getting this, this, and this done, and seeing how that will fit into the week’s plan.
For right now, it’s a lot about my art pieces and what I want to put out there. I am doing this work that is very visual and I want it to be meticulous to a level that I feel comfortable with. I’m thinking about these little tiny fixes that I can do. It’s not that I feel like I want to be – or even can be – perfect in anyway, but I want to be proud of the work that I put out. That’s my most consistent thoughts at night.
And I did dream about my art one time. I don’t remember exactly what it was, but I was making the art in my dream. I remember hearing that when you’re learning a new language and you start speaking it in your dreams then that means it’s sinking in. So, I took dreaming about my art as a good sign.
Q: What’s something that you think can make you behave in a way you’d usually never expect to behave?
A: I’d have to go back to the human condition factor, specifically with when you are interacting with a group. Sometimes the feeling of the group can be really aggressive or really odd, and that affects you, even if you don’t want it to.
So, I guess when I’m out of my elements I’ll get a bit quieter. I didn’t feel that when I was traveling, though, because I felt so free. There weren’t any restraints about who you were supposed to be, so I didn’t have this urge or need to observe. Because that is what I will do when I enter into a new situation that I’m actually joining or becoming a part of. I observe. I want to see how people are behaving and then move from there.
Traveling is different because you aren’t trying to join the group. There’s this wonderful sense of freedom with that, and I miss it, but I’m also having this great sense of satisfaction from committing to something and seeing it through. It’s an amazing feeling to start something and see it come to full fruition – it’s rewarding in a different and just as deep way.
Q: When do you give up on a paintbrush?
A: Oh, there are so many reasons why. With my oils, I would leave the brushes for days, and that would just ruin them right there.
The other reason is if hair keeps falling off when I’m painting. If that is happening, then that brush is done. It’s so difficult to go back and get the fibers out of the painting, and it can ruin part of the painting. So if the brush is shedding then I’m done with it. And that happens quite frequently.