Jay Sullivan - I Am The Canvas

Do what you know.

These were the words that were stuck in my head when I embarked on my art-making endeavors after 30 years of being a commercial creative director.  There were thousands of directions my art could take but what did I really know?  And what did I want to know more about?

I knew about creating media and communicating thoughts, ideas and concepts.   I also knew myself after spending that same 30 years exploring my personal history, psychology and “issues”.   I wondered, “Could I turn art-making into a vehicle for continued psychological self-discovery and learning?”

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Sentry B Web
All the King’s Horses
Photography
The Art of Enough

Being an “over achiever” all my life — many times not in a good way — I started to wonder, when is enough, enough?

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Clown Nose 4255
My Mother Made Me Laugh…  
Mixed Media
The Art of Enough

In the end, objects representing the pain of my childhood ended in a big ball, a big ball of objects entangled in brown jute twine, fishing line, rope and red and white polka dot material.  Then in a process resembling ritual…

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Conversation Cards
Performance
The Art of Enough

I was searching for a way to create a more intimate exhibition experience for the particpants and for me.

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Small Surprises
Online Documentation
The Art of Enough

Small Surprises began when I was given this guidance:  “I think you should seek to have pleasurable moments during ordinary experiences”.

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Family of Man
Family of Men
Photography/Mixed Media

Family of Men was conceived out of a need to reclaim the sense of family that I lost in childhood.

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Dad’s Belt
Video

Dad’s Belt began as an exploration into re-associating the feelings I had connected to my father’s belt but it ultimately became a creative process through which I substantially reduced my fear of conflict.

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Glove
Photography/Mixed Media

Glove was the result of a process that reconnected me with my estranged and long deceased father.

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My Father’s Ashes
Photography/Mixed Media

When my father died, his ashes were sent to me. I put the brown box on a shelf in our laundry room and forgot about it. When we moved, the brown box found its way to a closet in my basement. And then through a series of events, the ashes ended up in my mother’s garage 30 years after my parents divorced.

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website title image
Re-Remembered
Monologue with Photographic Set Pieces

Creating the Glove series brought up many childhood memories.   At first, all were negative experiences that reinforced my perception of my father with all his faults and tragedies.   However, during the process of creating Glove, I was able to see these experiences from a different perspective.

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Before
Pinhole Camera Photography

In the summer of 2015, I decided I wanted to be 14 years old again. That magic age where I explored, played and MADE things; tree houses, go-carts, sulfur burning science experiments, and B&W negatives in the closet of my bedroom.

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Man Child Man Cave Man Child
Video – In Process

In Man Child Man Cave Man Child  I seek to understand more fully how evolutionary psychology, personal history, kinship and cultural forces affect my emotions and behavior.

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Commercial Projects
Varied Media

Jay has produced and creative directed hundreds of commercial projects for companies such as Sony, Mattel, Merck, Disney and many, many others. Media formats have included video, installations, print, eLearning, and live stage productions.

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