This ain't no gritty Bushwick studio visit, folks. Artsicle artist Jill Krutick is a woman of many talents, and spent over two decades building a substantial professional career, painting in her scant down-time (like maternity leave), before finding time to make her creative side a priority. If you were pitying your own schedule, try taking a company public, raising two kids, and developing a career as an artist....seriously.
You had an extensive professional career before focusing on your artistic practice- have you always been creative?
I have always been creative—I took painting and music lessons as a child. I started playing piano at six years old and painting at ten—so music and art have always defined me. While I have been very business minded in the development of my career, I wanted music to be part of my professional career. After I went to undergrad at Wharton, and began my MBA at night at NYU, I started my first job at CBS Records. I worked for two and a half years as a business analyst there and realized that to really make it in the corporate world you needed a lot more experience. After leaving CBS, I worked for one year in consulting, and then took the leap to Wall Street.
After a couple of years doing bond market research at Salomon Bros specializing in real estate and the hotel industry, I ultimately moved into stock research at Citi covering entertainment and leisure companies. This was a remarkably fun and interesting area—covering companies like Walt Disney, Carnival and Mattel. I worked as a stock analyst for nearly two decades. While I didn’t have a whole lot of time to paint, I always yearned for it and managed to find time during my maternity leaves and vacation to paint. Painting was something I always came back to.
As an artist, I initially started by copying old masters—Van Gogh, Monet, and others. As my career progressed and children got older there was more time to devote to painting. After my career on Wall Street I moved back to the corporate side to a music company once again. I joined Warner Music to head their Investor Relations & Corporate Development practice. I helped to take the company public in May 2005, led their investor communications and later helped run a strategy group. I was lucky to stay at the company until it went private, last August, participating in the full cycle of Warner as a public company. My departure from Warner was the first break I’ve ever had in my career -- opening a new window to my painting passion.
Over the past couple of years, even during my tenure at Warner, I had more time to develop my art, and abstract painting became the focus of my work. I was able to put on a solo art show for my works while I was at Warner, and have really enjoyed developing my craft. I’ve started taking art classes in Manhattan a few days each week, at the Art Student League of NYC where my painting “Lilly Pond” (below) just recently received an honorable mention.
Do you have a particular process that you follow to arrive at a completed canvas?
I usually have a color palette in mind when I start a painting. From there it’s a question of where the inspiration comes from- whether it is from a particular photo, or a family experience, or a particular trip. I often take my inspiration from life- it could be driving during the thick of autumn, and the colors scream out to me, or a sunny day. Sometimes the canvas develops a life of its own or other times I have a clear view of what I’m trying to accomplish. Usually creating a painting is an evolutionary process. I’m not always quite sure where it is going to lead me – but that’s the fun of it
How did you arrive at your technique?
I’ve often been constrained by time -- in terms of working while having a couple of children. For some reason, a palette knife fits my lifestyle. I love to layer the paint and create motion on the canvas. Oil paints afford me that flexibility and take a long time to dry – so there is a lot of experimentation and opportunities to develop my technique. Once in a while brushwork can work too, but I work predominantly with the knives.
Why paint at all? What inspires you?
I think if I were to describe my painting style I would say that I am primarily a colorist. I’m someone who really is moved by colors, and color ultimately is what defines a lot of the work that I do. I find that my best pieces are those that best capture my emotion of the moment in an exciting, colorful way.
Do you find in the professionally world that you were on your own as someone with a creative side, or did you find a lot of that?
I think people were really shocked when they found out that I was an artist. I remember giving Edgar Bronfman, Jr. who ran Warner Music at the time, one of my art books, and he was amazed. People are very surprised when they find out that I love art, and really enjoy painting. Actually, several of my colleagues came to my show to see what it was all about. In business I find that people have lots of different interests, though I find it quite rare that painting is the connection.
As someone who didn’t come to art through traditional channels- what makes a good artist?
Flexibility is really it. I’m learning that studying successful artists and being exposed to many different artists at art school has actually opened me up creatively -- which is really fantastic. So many folks are talented and they often follow a similar pattern in their work. I’m learning that if you can pick up a couple of elements from different artists and bring them into your work, it can really help you grow as an artist. I’m very eager to develop artistically, which I believe comes from study and exploration.
So you stopped working officially in August, but may resume- do you see art in your future regardless?
I’m going to continue to develop artistically and see where it takes me. If I could make it my next profession, that would be ideal since I find painting to be such a rewarding and special gift.