Everything you can imagine is real. -Pablo Picasso

Jesse Payne, Doha, Qatar 2015

Jesse Payne, Doha, Qatar 2015


An innovative American artist, Jesse Payne currently serves as the Head of the Drawing Studio and Associate Professor in the Art & Design Foundations Department at Virginia Commonwealth University, based in Doha, Qatar. Dedicated to employing a rigorous craft when amplifying his creative interests and working with a variety of mediums, Payne’s work is a reflection of self-investigation and influenced by the environment, people, and experiences he encounters in his day-to-day life.

In constant exploration of providing opportunities to viewers to better understand the artist’s gaze, Payne uses a variety of subjects in his art, including dimensioned iterations of Leonardo’s grotesque faces as well as the obscurity of censored art.  Rendered in a hyper-representationalist manner, Payne embraces an autonomous working style in the studio and further hones his artistic impulses by building upon the experiences and interpretations of his students while in the classroom.

In that regard, Payne’s academic experience has served to complement his mode of operation as an artist.  With past professional experience at the Savannah College of Art and Design and Northern Illinois University, amongst other institutions, Payne endeavors to instruct across mediums, inspire students to take creative risks in their experimentation, and help emerging artists find their own unique perspective as they develop their skill sets.  Through the development of curriculum that allows for student self-discovery, Payne is quick to point out that this professional standpoint has also allowed him to expand as an artist alongside those new artists who make a home in his classroom.

Payne also serves as a committed university and departmental steward inside and outside the educational environment.  He has engaged in numerous artistic residencies, led grant initiatives, and handled various artistic research endeavors while also serving on faculty committees related to curriculum development, hiring, administration, conference and event organization, and more.  He is the recipient of the Virginia Commonwealth University Distinguished Achievement in Teaching Award and served as the Keynote Speaker at the Pic Art Conference, held at the American School of Doha, in Qatar in 2013.  Payne is devoted to the development of fine arts education—and this is exhibited through his involvement as a Board Member for the National Board of Foundation in Art: Theory & Education (FATE) and as Vice President for International Development for Integrative Teaching International, a think-tank for higher education professionals.  He is a regular presenter at conferences, where he expounds on the subject of innovation in the contemporary landscape of art, design, and foundations pedagogy.

With a Master’s in Fine Arts from Northern Illinois University and a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from Indiana State University, Payne’s work has been shown internationally, at 33 Collective Gallery in Chicago, Illinois, the Telfair Art Museum in Savannah, Georgia, and at the Qatar Foundation in Doha, Qatar, as well as other notable galleries.  Jesse Payne is active online and in social media. Visit his website at www.jessepayne.com and follow him on Twitter @Payneting


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