Girard Draws Inspiration From Disaster

by Alex Keys

While developing his work, Transylvania art professor Jack Girard tends to work in progressive stages, often leaving large gaps of time between each modification he makes to a project.

Professor Jack Girard works on a drawing to serve as a student example in his Introduction to Drawing class.

“I usually don’t take anything, start to finish, with any predetermined idea,” explained Girard. “I don’t totally imagine a complete piece before I start.”

Girard’s creations are often inspired by an image he discovers while traveling. “Porch: Amsterdam,” currently on display at the Tennessee Renaissance Center, is a small mixed-media collage piece inspired by images of Amsterdam’s Red Light District. The inspiration for Girard’s work is never audience-driven, but instead is drawn from the strength of the image or images the piece focuses on.

Additionally, much of Girard’s work begins with a question involving a serious subject matter. One such project involves the recent oil-spill disasters in the Gulf Coast. Having lived on coastal communities for many years of his life, the disasters inspired Girard to explore the tremendous effect of the spills by experimenting with images of fossilized sea animals. Girard hopes to travel to Louisiana to see the collective toll that various recent disasters have taken on the region.

“The ocean is everything to these people,” Girard related.

Other serious issues Girard has focused on include the Berlin Wall during the Cold War and the 2006 crash at the Bluegrass Airport. While this subject matter is grave, it is serious issues like these that leave Girard emotionally charged enough to create his work. Without the questions that significant events such as these raise, Girard does not have a serious outlet for his artistic energy. This May term, Girard hopes to give students an opportunity to become equally inspired by a positive experience.
Along with Professor Martha Gehringer, Girard is offering an opportunity for “anyone interested in developing creative work” to travel to Ireland in order to absorb and embrace the country’s rich culture. Both Gehringer and Girard “work from experience, in terms of image development” and would like to give students a chance to develop art of any form based on their own experience in Europe.


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