Jandamarra is an Australian Aboriginal Artist of Yorta Yorta and Dja Dja Warung descent with a strong desire to bridge the gap between Aboriginal and mainstream Australia.
In his work Jandamarra brings together a beautiful synergy between his distinctive contemporary portraiture style and traditional aboriginal painting techniques. He expresses himself through story-telling in bright, bold and emotive subjects where he successfully portrays the human condition like no other.
Art is very much a part of who Janmandarra Cadd is and proved to be an important factor in overcoming challenges during his early life, helping to hold his world together when it threatened to fall apart during his youth.
In this interview Cindy Wider asks Jandamarra about his life, work and sources of inspiration for his unique and emotive painting style.
Question: Welcome to DrawPJ.com, Jandamarra. Please tell us a little about yourself including you art name, year of birth, and country of origin.
Answer: Thank you, Cindy. For my art, I use the name Jandamarra, however, my full name is Jandamarra Cadd. I was born in 1972 in Australia and I reside in Noosa Hinterland, Queensland.
Q: Thank you. Could you tell us about the time you first realised that you enjoyed creating art as a child. Were you supported in your decision? If so by whom?
A:I was 16 when I awoke to the language of painting. It came at a very low point in my life and literally became a saviour to me. In fact, I was truly introduced to art by a youth councillor.
Q: What has your journey been like as an artist? Did you study at all and if so where? How was that experience?
A: At the age of 16, art, for me, was a medium used to express myself and my deep desire be heard. I went to an art university, where I did a fine arts degree and met some really good people. Then I realised that university didn’t have much that it could teach me in the way of finding my own intimate connection with a deeper level of creative abundance. The only way to get to what I wanted to achieve was already in my own hands.
Q: What is the primary motivation for why you create art as an adult? For example; Is it income or a burning passion to draw and paint?
A: The primary motivation for me painting is the fulfilment found in using specific subject matters in ways that bring awareness to essential truths of unity, empathy, compassion and acceptance.
Q: What goes through your mind while you draw or paint, is there a calm silence, do you listen to music or do you experience doubt, fear or any emotions at all? If you experience fear or doubt what do you do to overcome these feelings?
A: I often listen to music while painting but this is definitely infused with moments/days of silence. I do have inner voices of uncertainty and doubt born of deep insecurities from my upbringing. When these voices and emotions of doubt and worthlessness arise, I face and feel them and as they threaten to destroy me and disrupt my relationship with the creative flow. I don’t deny or suppress these feelings but rather continue to make peace with them and through this, in each moment, dissolve the negative energetic charge that has the ability to have such a hold over me.
Q: How do you make time to include art in your life, do you have any suggestions to help others manage their creative lives?
A: Every day I strive to do something for the art business. Whether it be painting or doing sketches, organising exhibitions or photo shoots with subjects, replying to the continual demand of emails or the mundane aspect of tax receipts & the list goes on. I feel the best way to incorporate art practice into your everyday life is to create a passionate drive around the art and what you do. If you don’t, then it will possibly fall away as it becomes more of a chore as apposed to something that fills you and fulfils the long term artistic and creative journey.
The Reason Behind It All
Q: Is Drawing and creating artworks your only profession or main business. If not, what else do you do for work?
A: Painting and creative arts practice are my only profession and business.
Q: Do you have any special unique advice or skills to share with other artists who are learning to create artworks at this very high standard that you are working at? Are you willing to share any skills with others ie: any special techniques that you use?
A: Draw as much as you can. Even if you are a painter or sculptor or work in pastels etc. Constant drawing will add a dimension and strength to your pieces. And take time to notice the little unique idiosyncrasies of your subjects whether portrait or landscape or still life as these, I feel, are what make your pieces so much more potent; the power of observation.
Don’t let anyone tell you that “you can’t” do or achieve anything. As there are many of these that live with self imposed limitations and beliefs. If you subscribe to this, then you have already been defeated.
Continually invest in the belief in yourself and what you can achieve. This is a major one. If you can’t see it, it is highly likely that it won’t happen.
Achievements & The Future
Q: Jandamarra, please tell us about any significant awards you have won or exhibitions that have made an impact on your life. Tell us how these have helped to advance your art career.
A: Yes, I have achieved a number of awards. Some of major ones I’ll tell you about are:
- Finalist in Archibald, Black Swan – Online Peoples Choice Award
- Sunshine Coast Art Awards – Peoples Choice Award
Also, I have been featured in several documentaries on TV, radio interviews, newspaper articles and magazines. They have all helped to invite others to my work and allow for me to have many more options and opportunities with regards exhibiting and sharing this message of unity through the art. There are also many speaking & teaching shows affiliated with these.
Q: What major and significant goals and influences do you have for your art if any? Tell us who or what inspires you to be the best you can be as an artist.
A: What inspires me is to be completely authentic with my arts practice and use it in a way that possibly adds to improving myself as an artist and human being. I am also passionate about adding to the wave of positive influence of being aware of the world in which we live.
Q: Where do you see your art going into the future, do you have any goals at all for your long term development?
A: I have plans to take my career overseas. I look forward to gaining an international audience in the near future.
Q: Janmandarra, thank you for your insight and allowing us a look into the your artistic journey. Where can we find you or access your work?