June 19th, 2008

Nashville artist Jamaal Sheats makes art to last. He discusses his influences, his upcoming gallery showing
and lets us into his studio for an exclusive look at his unique art.

“Give me a quote.” This is what artist Jamaal Sheats said regarding criteria for his commissions. Seeing his work, this is the most direc tion one would want to give him. If you want an accurate depiction, take a photograph. If it’s art that you want, then an idea such as a quote is the most direction this Fisk art grad will need.

Almost seeming unsure how to describe his work, Jamaal cites his fam ily as his greatest influence, along with artists such as Benny Andrews and one of his teachers, Gregg Rid ley. Looking at the copper sheets scattered about the Charlotte Avenue studio, one can almost hear his musician father’s saxophone emanating from the pieces focused on jazz players at work. This is just one of the many themes present in the current pieces along with scenes of lovers dancing around a tree whose “deep roots” symbolize longevity and lasting passion. An umbrella, while comprised of many rods connected in the center, is useless if even one is broken—this man’s art shows unity of purpose and imagery.

His work is often spurred by an inspiration, not even needing preliminary sketches. Other times, there are first sketches, then paintings, followed by an outline of the work directly applied to the copper, aluminum or whatever medium the image will eventually be immortalized into.

It’s been said that writing about art is like dancing about architecture, so, that having been said, this work is on display at Premier Art and Décor on Demonbreun, and he will be having an anniversary show on August 15th. See it for yourself and you will find that words elude you
-Chris Stowe

June 19th, 2008

According to the Artlex Art Dictionary, it is very interesting that some consider an “artist” far too liberal. One might be considered a great painter, but an “artist” is something significantly above and beyond that in achievement. Nevertheless, a distinction is generally drawn between an artist and an artisan, just as there can be merit to making distinc tions between the making of art and craft.

As every definition of art may be different, any definition of artist must be. Whatever the definition of artist is placed, the more interesting question becomes: What makes one artist more significant than another?

Typical factors in such discussions involve an artist’s art education of course, along with the use of creativity, craft, and originality. Of ultimate importance are the qualities of an artist’s world-view, which informs his or her sense of design and style (or Zeitgeist), resulting in a heightened ability to see and to create with discrimination. An artist must do all three of the following: make choices, organize, and create. These are the characteristics which make Jamaal Sheats a great artist.

A Fisk University graduate of art, Jamaal has trouble describing his work, however this is what makes his art unique. Jamaal says his greatest influence come from his family along with other artists such as Greg Ridley, which was one of his teachers, and Benny Andrews.

Even though he is influenced by these great figures in his life, it is inspiration that drives him to create something artistic. Some of his works are entitled “Shall We Dance”, which was inspired by romance between a man and a woman. “Keys to Life” was inspired by an emotional bond between a master and his apprentice, and “Left Behind” is a piece inspired by the feeling of loneliness one feels even in a huge crowd.

Depending on the inspiration, some of his work doesn’t need preliminary sketches. However, sometimes they are sketched, painted, and followed by an outline of the work, which is directly applied to copper, aluminum or whatever else the image will be laid to.

Once you get a glimpse of the finished work, you will be mesmerized by this young man’s talent. Jamaal makes art to last and will continue throughout the years. The late
Oscar Wilde, British poet and playwright, couldn’t have said it better about artists - “The past is what man should not have been. The present is what man ought not to be. The future is what artists are,”
-Jason Hughes