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Jacob Schildtknecht

Making Nothing Out of Something


October 7 - January 7,  2022

The Leedy Underground Gallery II


Artist Statement


My process is meditative. I find myself losing track of the world while adding strokes, like keeping time or taking a tally of moments lost. I've intentionally stripped away everything representational. Painting is a place for me to escape reality and face only the problems that are confined within the edge of the canvas. While I apply strokes of paint to a surface, the focus is on the formal elements of the piece as a whole. Though I seemingly keep it simple, responding to what's there, still synapse sparks, thoughts race, and emotions run high. Ultimately, the truth is that I can't escape. I don't want to use color just to fill a canvas. Rather, I intend for the strokes of paint to occupy the frame like people gathered in a room at a party. Sometimes dancing, sometimes fighting, and on occasion recalling fond memories they've shared.


There’s something about the colors crashing into each other on the canvas as I push paint and scrape pigments over one another. Painting conjures memories, like a familiar smell. Maybe it's the site of particular combinations of color, the shape or texture of a stroke that sends me hurling back to a childhood daydream or a day spent with an old lover that I've almost forgotten. 


I wanted to make balanced fields of color with movement like static on the screen of an old tube TV.  Over time they've become reflections of my life's loves, losses, triumphs, and traumas. They carry baggage without claim to reality. It's something I don't understand, that I don't know how to define. It’s why I paint.



Artist Bio


Artist Jacob Schildtknecht began his artistic ventures with a high school teacher who encouraged him to further explore his interest in painting. After a summer program at the Kansas City Art Institute at 16, Jacob found it inspiring to be around like-minded individuals striving for similar goals to his own and compounded his goals to later attend the university. During his first year, through design, life drawing, and color theory, he always leaned toward painting as a primary focus. With a fascination for sculpture, his intentions in painting ended up adding many dimensional and sculptural elements. One particular professor, Jim Woodfill, was a particular influence on Jacob’s approach; questioning the reasoning and purpose behind using paint as a medium and how the materials used defined his intentions and purposes in his work. 


After graduating, Jacob went on and created his first solo studio in the Crossroads area. To help sustain his material costs, he started working in the restaurant and bar industry and developed relationships with regulars around the city. During this time, he began to substitute teaching which led to a full-time position as a general art educator to middle school-aged students in Arkansas. During his five years of teaching, the knowledge that he was imparting to the students, in turn, influenced his own work, principles, and elements of design. With renewed inspiration, he decided to leave the teaching position and focus on creation full-time, which brought him back to Kansas City in 2014. 


With a change in surroundings, Jacob immersed himself back in with the artists he had worked beside in the past. A friend saw a piece he had been working on, inquired about its value, and that interaction proved to be a pivotal point in artistry becoming a career. The same friend connected Jacob with a restaurant to show his work. Since then, the relationships he had created while working in the service industry opened doors with opportunities to show his work.