Artist Jacx interprets auto mechanics.
EDITOR’S NOTE: IN THE JAN. 14, 2016, PRINT ISSUE, THE COVER STORY “THE POWER OF THE MACHINE” INCORRECTLY STATED ARTIST JACX’S WEBSITE. THE CORRECT WEBSITE IS JACXART.COM. THE ARTIST CAN BE EMAILED AT JACX@JACXART.COM. WE REGRET THE ERROR.
Jaclyn Schanes, known as Jacx, likes to attend auto shows, but her immediate focus is not getting behind one or another tempting wheel.
Instead, Schanes prefers getting in front of canvases — with an array of brushes and paints beside her — to create artistic turns on the reality crafted by vehicle designers.
Schanes, whose varied aesthetic projects have included glass and clothing, currently is moving rapidly with painted representations of cars according to individual commissions. Working out of a studio in her Ferndale home, Schanes has developed murals to fill office spaces and small paintings to decorate private interiors.
“I want to tell stories about the cars — where they came from and the feelings connected to them,” Schanes says. “I paint with acrylics, which is a slow process because I have to let a color dry before moving on to the next one.”
The artist — an alum of Detroit’s College for Creative Studies where auto design holds great importance — explains her feelings about Detroit’s annual North American International Auto Show.
“I have worked at the auto show for art galleries, been there for fun but, most of all, considered it a holiday of inspiration,” she says. “Beyond painting cars invented here in Detroit, I feel a comradeship with the people in the industry.
“The Detroit Auto Show is a gallery of gems proving the power of the machine, how it can look and what is to come. I am moved by the moving gem, and it moves me to move people with the vehicles through my eyes and out the tips of my fingers.
“Friends from around the world come back to Detroit as if it truly is a holiday, and we celebrate and have parties solely for designers, artists and serious car people. I love the passion and enthusiasm and try to provide my patrons with visions of their cars in a new light. As a Detroit artist, I owe many thanks to the Auto Show for a ‘CAReer!’”
Schanes, 31 and single, also has been immersed in self-portraits using watercolors. She grew up in West Bloomfield and returned to Michigan after trying different forms of artistry in Chicago, San Francisco and London.
Her auto commissions increased as customers learned of her current professional interests: About a year ago, a person at the business end of vehicles asked her for murals to decorate an office wall.
“He wanted a Detroit scene with cars,” she says. “I brought him a mockup on canvas, and he loved it so much that I ended up redoing his whole suite with just paintings of cars. I posted the project to social media, and it turned into a business for me.”
Although finding her own artistic directions that started with childhood drawings, Schanes believes her career was inspired by the narrative collages of an aunt, Hope Kroll of California.
Schanes, who had her bat mitzvah at Temple Israel, has included religious references in some of her work. She exhibited a glass apple with a chai (life) symbol in a group show at the Janice Charach Gallery in West Bloomfield.
Schanes designed costumes for an independent art film starring (Michigan-native) Iggy Pop and has been a designer for retail clothing. She combined artistic and musical talents for Show Pony, a 2010 performance piece at the Re:View Contemporary Gallery in Detroit.
Musical interests continue to be expressed as she does DJ work, some at local clubs using the name Jacx.
Schanes often uses “large amounts of white negative space so the focus is on the composition and awesome amount of color,” she says. “[I am] injecting my personal style into each painting — utilizing brutal-looking brush techniques and color palettes. So while the paintings are similar in style and subject matter, each one remains an entirely unique work of art. I feel that each painting has its own emotion and zone.”
Because Schanes works from photographs when painting cars (“I like to include the individual license plates,” she says), she often works through the night. “I have to keep going. If I stop a painting, it’s hard for me to get back to it.”
One of the artist’s early car-image customers was Larry Moss, chairman of the local Concours d’Elegance. Last summer, Schanes was commissioned to paint a Ferrari, which sold at the event; the person who bought the work later commissioned images of cars he owned. Moss also hired Schanes to paint representations of cars he collects and stores in an Arizona garage, which now displays the paintings.
“Her paintings are so unique that I wanted her to do work for the Concours silent auction,” Moss explains. “Her paintings capture autos in avant-garde ways with different perspectives. A lot of auto artists are purists, and their paintings seem a lot like photographs.”
Schanes, who drives a white minivan for convenience to carry her work supplies, has donated images entitled Corvette and Barbie Car to raise funds at auction for ORT.
“I’m currently working on commissions to do a Porsche and a Camaro,” Schanes says. “People who love their cars want portraits of them.” *
By Suzanne Chessler, Contributing Writer