When most people think of a trip, they consider two weeks to be a long time away from home. For Cleveland local, Jordan Rolleston, he is taking the definition of a trip to a whole new level.
Representing the Cleveland art scene and with a yearning to capture nature's excitement and untamed beauty through his artwork, Rolleston will be going on a 4-6 month venture, beginning on May 15th. Along the way, he will be painting to capture his journey in art, which will take him from Cleveland, Ohio to the deep south, into the plains and mountains of the west.
Rolleston's goals are to create a variety of paintings based on his travels, which will be displayed on his blog found on his website along with a complete narrative of his travels along the way. This will allow others to experience nature as he sees it, and live vicariously tag along on his spiritual journey.
Rolleston is a graduate from Alfred University in 2010 in New York, where he majored in Art. His artistic style focuses on abstract landscapes that are emotional representations of scenes found in nature. To save up for this expedition, he has spent the last two working at Cleveland's Greenhouse Tavern as a sauté lead line cook. After taking a hiatus from painting over the course of that time, Rolleston is seizing this opportunity as a chance for rediscovery.
When it comes to his technique Rolleston only paints outside and enjoys bringing the environment into his art. This involves painting in all weather conditions, ranging from bright sunny days to tumultuous lighting storms. This artistic style is known as 'plein air', or 'in the open air.' Rolleston will actually sit outside regardless of the climate, and let the weather naturally influence his paintings.
"The worse the weather, the better" says Rolleston, because then the weather mixes in with the paint and makes more of an impression on the art - especially when painting with oils.
On his itinerary, Rolleston will be heading south to the Great Smokey Mountains and other monumental stops including Acadia, Badlands and Yosemite National Park, to name a few. But he won't be staying in hotels or an RV. Instead, Rolleston will stay with friends along the way, though most of the time he will be setting up camp outside in the wilderness.
"I think the best way to experience nature and to really convey it in my work is to truly immerse myself in it. That means sleeping underneath the stars and in the open. Although at times it may be challenging and even unsettling, I want all emotions I feel to come through as much as possible in the works I create," said Rolleston.
But why push yourself and for so long? For Rolleston, the inspiration for the upcoming voyage came from his desire to travel and not stay in one place for too long.
"This is something I've always dreamed of doing. There is so much to see in this country that my eyes have yet to witness. I figured now is the best time do it," said Rolleston. Another inspiration for this trip was a '30 miles in 3 days' backpacking trip that Rolleston went on in 2011 at Big Ben National Park. "I always knew I wanted to paint, but what I didn't realize is that I wanted to backpack with those paints."
"That trip was the hardest thing I've ever done, but was the most rewarding. I was able to challenge myself physically and mentally. I'm hoping this voyage will have the same effect and I can communicate that through my artwork. Taking this journey will give me a chance to really discover who I am as an artist and have a sense of self discovery in the works that I produce."
In the past, Rolleston has sold his artwork at Erie Island Coffee Company on East 4th street, and at Bricco in Akron. Rolleston hopes that the art he creates during his 4-6 month excursion will eventually be shared and displayed in a gallery or be sold. As mentioned earlier, Rolleston will be documenting his travels, which he will share with the world on his blog for the public to follow along the way.
For more information on Jordan Rolleston's travel plans and artwork, visit www.jordanrolleston.com