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Jesse Payne is an American artist currently working and teaching in Doha, Qatar. Payne’s work uses rigorous craft to amplify his creative interests: what does it mean to understand an artist’s gaze, and what does it do to a culture to censor it? His subjects – whether dimensioned iterations of Leonardo’s grotesque faces, or the further obscurity of censored art – are rendered in a hyper-representationalist manner, interrogating viewers with these same questions.
Most recently, Payne’s research has explored cross-media processes, unifying the traditional modes of painting, drawing, and printmaking with newer media forms including photography and video. With this hybrid approach, the artist has worked on a variety of new bodies of work, including ’censored’, which deals directly with the artist’s current context in the Arab world: a place where only certain types of art may be displayed and celebrated, and only certain sociopolitical behaviors are permitted.
Payne’s experimentation with media has only enforced his belief in the creative values of risk and mistake. The artist extends this into his pedagogical work, teaching foundational skills and mentoring students to discover their identities as artists. He is a recipient of the Virginia Commonwealth University Distinguished Achievement in Teaching Award, and has had the fortune of also having taught at Savannah College of Art and Design, Northern Illinois University, and elsewhere. He is dedicated to the development of fine arts education, serving on the National Board of Foundation in Art: Theory & Education (FATE), and acting as Vice President for International Development for Integrative Teaching International, a think-tank for education professionals. He presents regularly at conferences, discussing innovation and the contemporary landscape of design, art, and foundations pedagogy.