1008: Myakka Fork
In this segment produced by students at St. Petersburg College in partnership with WEDU, Bradenton resident and fine art painter Jake Fernandez has spent years on a project that focuses on the beauty of the Myakka wilderness.
Hello, I'm Dalia Colon and this is WEDU Arts Plus.
This first segment was produced by students
at St. Petersburg College in partnership with WEDU.
Bradenton resident and fine arts painter, Jake Fernandez,
has been featured in exhibitions around the country.
But it wasn't until he visited the Myakka wilderness
that he began to paint his masterpiece.
- The purpose of my art, it's hard to pin down
but I think that I like the idea of putting something
that gives you a window into a different form of reality
My name is Jake Fernandez and I am an artist.
The Myakka Fork project
is one that could be classified as durational.
I'd moved back to Florida from New York City
and was incredibly taken by the nature.
The sheer intensity of the color.
The greens almost hurt my eyes.
- My name is Linda Chapman and I'm an artist.
I thought Jake Fernandez was the best artist I'd ever seen.
His work was very unusual
and we were undergraduates but he never followed the rules.
The Myakka Fork project has been going on for so many years.
I don't remember when it started.
He has thousands of photographs.
He visits a specific site very often
and has reported the changes in the environment
since his first photographs there in the 1980s.
- [Jake] So I did a lot of hiking and going around,
not looking for anything in particular.
And in one of my walks,
this particular place caught my attention.
And I decided to focus on that work.
And in my head I planed to do three large paintings
based on that place.
It differs from project to project
but the more complex projects start with an idea
and that idea comes from maybe just walking around
and my attention is grabbed by something I come across
and I start to investigate like a detective.
- The most interesting thing to me about Jake's artwork
is it has so many different levels of visual information.
It's abstract, it's real.
There are things that are imaginary.
It looks like a map.
It looks like a forest.
It's endlessly entertaining.
- The complexity of painting is something that I'm drawn to.
Something that I've worked for a long, long time
to try to take small steps into perfecting
and there is no end to it.
It's the kind of medium that offers immense possibilities
You're involving the senses, you're involving a narrative
even in abstract paintings.
I'm not into, even though it's tempting to do,
you know depressing subject matter.
Many think that depressing, an angst written subject matter
makes your work heavy and important.
There's enough ugliness out there.
I don't need to be producing any more.
I remember I took my son to a location one time
to just sort of hold rulers and stuff that I had
because I was doing some calculations
and he was six years old.
He's now 32.
So to show you, and I'm two paintings down
and still working on the third Myakka painting.
- My name is Dixie Resnick
and I am the CEO of Crowley Museum and Nature Center.
I met Mr. Fernandez one day
when I was working in the welcome center
and he and a friend came in just to hike and look around.
And he introduced himself to me.
He was a very nice man.
My first thought on Jake Fernandez Myakka Fork pieces
were how interesting it was to see him represent
true old world Florida the way that he did
with its wildness, its imperfections.
All of that was encompassed in this artwork.
And so many people are unfamiliar with Myakka
that I just thought it was great that he saw it
and he decided to represent it
even though it might not be the typical popular views
of what Florida is.
- I don't set out to change the world
or deal in politics or commerce.
But I do believe that if somebody can walk away
seeing things in a slightly different way
because of what they experienced
then that's more than I need.
- For more information, visit jakefernandezart.com.