“My Hand Against My Heart” Interview With Oded Jacob

border guard 2023 oil on canvas 64x54cm
What is fascinating about Oded’s work is that each painting has its own story, its own situation. There is no method, and each time we see a different approach, a completely new scenario. It is exciting to look at, there is something fresh and alive about it, says Ofir Dor, FRAMED curator. We are happy to invite Oded to our April #82 edition of FRAMED
Last week, curator Ofir Dor and I visited Oded Jacob in his studio in Berlin Neukölln. It was an interesting meeting with laughs and some serious topics. It helped me understand Oded’s art better, and here is part of our conversation: 
Ana: Why call the exhibition “My hand against my heart”? 
Oded: I think that, sometimes when I paint I’m disturbed or, I’m feeling a conflict between feelings and actions. Let me explain: There is the mind or intellect, on one side and the physical world on the other. When I paint I move all the way from thinking and feeling into the physical world of mixing colors and the technique of painting. It is actually like building a bridge between the two. And that is interesting to me, for me it’s what makes it good. So I try to create conflicts, I try to work with them and this is why I chose “My hand against my heart” as the name of this exhibition. At the same time the title is open, it is good to keep it open for interpretation. It can be about political conflicts, but it can be about personal ones, or the artistic ones. Like the one I just explained – in the actual process of painting. 
Ana: Yes, I can feel the conflict in your work – the inner and outer. 
Oded: I am from Israel, where there are so many different conflicts, struggles. And then leaving and moving to Berlin, gave me some new perspective, but also new challenges. It is all still fresh, I moved only a year ago, it is all still in process
Ana: And how did that inspire you and influence your work? 
Oded: I find inspiration mostly deep in myself, in memories and feelings but also in old books and photographs, images from press and social media. Sometimes I even find books or old magazines on the streets, as people leave many things on the streets here in Berlin. 

Self portrait in the studio, Water mixable oil on canvas 2023

„Self portrait in the studio“, 2023
Water mixable oil on canvas 120x90cm

Ana: What is important to you when painting? 
Oded: For me, it’s important to show the search, I am always learning and searching, challenging my ideas and knowledge. While painting I am accompanied by a sense of urgency as well. I try new things. When I feel there’s something didactic in my process, I try to run away from it. And try again to find out who I am. Especially since we moved to Berlin a year ago. It’s a big change and a question about identity arises. 

SUITCASES-2023-graphite-on-paper

“Suitcases” 2023 graphite on paper

Ana: What made you start painting in the first place? 
Oded: It was when I was a kid. I drew manga sketches, monsters and things like that. And, when I was 21, I moved to Tel Aviv to study at Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art. It was when it all really started. 
Ana: What does your process look like? 
Oded: I often work with the material and try to not think about the image. Although It could be a very figurative painting, I am also interested in abstract painting. But It’s hard for me to finish an abstract work. I guess there is often a part of my paintings that is abstract. The part that stays open for interpretation, that is mysterious. It is because I never stop searching for the dynamic, for the ever changing. 
Ana: How long does it take you for one painting? 
Oded: I usually work fast, but sometimes it could be divided into lots of fast paced parts. For example, for a whole year I could keep coming back to this one painting for an hour of work at a time. Sometimes I take the painting in the living room because I need to see it outside of the studio, in a different environment. To see the kids play around it, it helps me understand something new about the work. I can live with it for eight months and then suddenly I bring it back to the studio and continue working on it. 
Ana: What makes a professional painter? 
Oded: It’s how it is bothering you every day. The way you feel the obsession, the urgency. You feel that it is so important that everything else in your life, everything you surround yourself with: your family, friends, everything stays outside of the studio. And the studio is the center, that outweighs any other part of your life. Yeah… Sometimes I don’t feel that I can do it anymore, I stop painting for a couple of weeks. I feel that it’s not for me. And then I think: Okay, let’s think again. Let’s be depressed for a bit. And then start it all over again.

Waiting-for-daddy-2023-water-mixable-oil-on-canvas-150x175cm

“Waiting for daddy” 2023

Water mixable oil on canvas 150x175cm

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