UWF painter draws inspiration from life and faculty


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“The gaze is important,”said Jordan about the style of his work.

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Kenny Jordan had never even picked up a paintbrush until 2011. But after the Pensacola native and now studio art major took his first painting class at UWF, that all changed.

“I didn’t know how to hold a brush or what to do with it,” Jordan said, as he described first getting started as a painter.

From the perspective of his instructors, Kenny has come a long way. Lydia Toy, a painting instructor at UWF, called Kenny the “best painter in the department.”

Even after winning ”best painting” in two recent student art shows, and a studio full of large impressive paintings to his credit, he remains humble and aims to keep growing his work.

“I like figurative work. Academic painting I like as well, but at the same time I like to be intuitive. I don’t like being stuck in one particular style,” Jordan said when asked how he would describe his style. “Everything is learning, though,” he said.

He acknowledges that he owes a lot to some of his mentors. Especially Marzia Ransom, who was his first painting instructor and the person who persuaded him to take more painting classes.

“She said she wasn’t going to allow me to take the classes I was taking, and she was going to force me to take a painting class,” he said, light-heartedly as he talked about his first class with her.

Jordan started as a visual media major, but after getting into painting, it has been his focus at school. “I invest a lot in it,” he said.

Jordan said the arts program at UWF has helped move his art forward, adding, “It has helped me out a lot. I think it depends on the student, because we have great instructors, and if you really go for it, they give you everything you need and the correct information to put you on the right path.”

Some of Jordan’s favorite artists include Rembrandt, Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt, but he is quick to give credit to the instructors in the department that have helped him and supported him throughout the years. He said he has drawn more than just technical knowledge and technique from them. Jordan said sometimes the instructors can teach you more than just what is on the syllabus.

“I look at all their stuff. I learn just by being in their class and not necessarily doing the work, but I will spend about 75 percent of the class just watching them,” Jordan said.

“You can tell which ones take it really seriously, and it means a lot. And once you pick up on that, then you understand; I don’t have to treat these paintings like assignments anymore.”

“They (my paintings) all mean a lot of things, I dive into a lot of symbolism… they recall a lot of events in my life but at the same time I try to make them timeless,” Jordan said, as he described his pieces “Since 87 I was Chosen,” which are portraits of himself and his brother.

“I let them speak for themselves because I want them to speak to the viewer as much as they speak to me,” Jordan said. Here he is with another self-portrait entitled, “‘Soliloquy.”