Jerrod Partridge is an accomplished fine artist and art instructor working in Mississippi, in the southern part of the United States, and is a recipient of a Visual Arts Fellowship from the Mississippi Arts Commission. Partridge has exhibited in many solo and group shows and is a founding member of Art Space 86, a pop up venue to artists to show their work. Partridge also leads Visual Exploration trips through the Tuscan countryside, where the group can draw and paint the beauty of the landscape together.
Partridge’s destination to becoming an artist took him down a winding path to the profession. He says, “like many artists I drew all the time as a kid. However, I didn’t have an art class until college. I was interested in medical illustration and was advised to get a major in biology with a minor in art. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that I needed to get out of biology and change my major to art. I was a bit too practical thinking to get an emphasis in studio art though. I decided that graphic design would provide me with a much needed job. It still took a year of waiting tables before landing a graphic design job with a non-profit on the edge of going defunct. I went to grad school to learn how to paint after several years of sitting in front of a computer. It hurt by back and neck to sit there all day. I studied at The New York Academy of Art which has a traditional academic approach primarily using the human figure to learn the techniques of drawing, painting, and sculpting which then can be applied to a contemporary vision. After moving back to Mississippi I went back to work doing graphic design and then spent some time at a stained glass studio. While there I began independently teaching figure drawing and getting painting commissions. Soon doing art full-time seemed like a viable option. I began painting full-time in 2009 with my first solo show in 2010.”
As mentioned before, Mississippi has a healthy arts appetite and the communities throughout the state generally support the arts well. Partridge currently resides in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, but previously lived in Jackson, Mississippi. “In Jackson I was very involved with community art events. I curated shows for The Cedars in Fondren as well as for a pop-up gallery I started with a friend called Art Space 86. I was able to paint for a living for 7 years in Jackson before we moved so I feel like the community supported artists very effectively. ”
Partridge describes painting as a process. “Ideas for paintings almost always come while I’m working on another painting. It feeds itself. Outside of that I read, look at what others are doing, and have conversations with people whose work I respect. The actual process of painting changes frequently. I learn something every time I paint and continue to question why I am doing particular things with my work.”
“It is vitally important as humans to connect and appreciate something aesthetically. Aesthetic response, or a stimulation of the senses, apart from entertainment is both a spiritual doorway and a way that we connect to each other as creative beings. For some, that aesthetic response comes while in front of a painting or drawing, or it might be the rhythm of a song, the shape of a bowl, the smell and taste of a fine meal, or the wisdom in a poem. It is the artist’s job to create these aesthetic experiences, and everyone’s job to go looking for them.”