ARTIST STATEMENT jen delyth
"There may arise a new interpretation of certain great symbolic persons and incidents in the old mythology. As this legendary lore is being swiftly forgotten, it is well that it should be saved to new meanings and new beauty, by the mythopoetic faculty which, in the Celtic imagination, is as a wing continually uplifting fallen dreams to the unaging wind of the Spirit"Welsh artist Jen Delyth creates original Celtic paintings and illustrations which explore the language of myth and symbol inspired by Celtic folklore and the spirit within nature. Drawing from ancient metaphors and integrating the visual motifs and language of Celtic patterning into original new designs, Jen Delyth finds the symmetry of form and symbol that expresses living archetypes. Her work is stylistically contemporary, iconographic, reflecting spiritual and philosophical roots which embody universal themes that reflect her love of nature and Celtic symbolism.
"I am intrigued by the marriage of old and new, ancient and future. This work is a personal journey into the language of Celtic myth and symbol, the beauty of nature, a simple interpretation of Celtic spirituality expressing the Mystery of the inter-connectedness and balance of all things.
By working with the language of ancient metaphors and visual motifs, I explore the symmetry of form and symbol that best expresses living archtypes that form the heart of Celtic mythology and culture. Inspired, with respect to the old traditions, I love the challenge of creating new patterns with often new tools. The Celtic tradition has its own ancient roots back into the cultures of the Neolithic and Paleolithic peoples who came before them. It continues to evolve, and is - most important to many of us working today - a Living Tradition. A culture that is expanding - as was always the case with the tribal movements and sharing of ideas, around the world - as the emigrant folk carry their stories, dances, music and rituals to establish new communities in other continents... such as Canada, North America, Australia.
In this spirit, I try to keep my work original, inspired by the folk motifs and symbols of the ancient Celts, but woven through my experience and vision as a woman, as a 21st century person, who growing up in Wales (where most of my family still live) have made my home in coastal north west America. I focuss on adapting, integrating new ideas and forms together, keeping the work alive, and flowing forward, with strong authentic connection to the culture and tradition that came before... Although I am not affiliated with any particular branch of Celtic spirituality, my work often focusses on an expression of my deep love and respect of nature, and all its Mystery.
The Celtic tradition expresses a wealth of wisdom and understanding of the natural world - the natural world of plants and animals, and also the inner world of active imagination and our psyche. Our ancestors lived in more relative balance and respect of our universe, not the wounded complicated world that that we now live in. That is not to say that the world of the ancients was a simple paradise. It was often a difficult struggle to survive, and there was much war and bloodshed as today. We are people of the 21st Century - I am not advocating a return to the past - but with all our sophistication, we have often created a tangled and disintegrated relationship with ourselves, and our environment. Working with the Patterns, Sacred Images and Myths of the ancient Celts, renews my connection between the past and the present, the inside and outside, the seen and the unseen. Life in all its Mystery, and interconnectedness, through art and story.
My first interest in Celtic mythology was inspired by my mother, who grew up closely connected with Welsh folk tradition, through her involvement with the youth Urdd, and singing Welsh folk songs which I later also enjoyed. I remember her reciting parts of the Mabinogi that she had learned in school, and although I didn't understand the words, I knew that this was really special.
Later, I attended many folk festivals at ancient sites in Wales and Britain. Fairs and gatherings at special places - the many sacred sites with ancient stones, and old village greens keeping their customary fairs - reach back many centuries. The creative celebrations, of music and dance, meeting with a motley crew of old and new friends, and journeying into the Mysteries around fires and amongst the ancient stones, inspired my creative journey.
I have always enjoyed working with my hands, as well as learning to understand the patterning through the images and folk lore. In fact, it was my interest in the language of symbols that lead me to become a self-taught artist, and not the other way around! This ancient design medium is a compelling passion, that continues to enchant and yet somehow be the perfect way to talk about that which is abstract, sometimes invisible, and yet so essential.
The journey continues.... There is a fresh and vibrant interest in Celtic tradition amongst many people around the world today - including the Americas, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, Europe - especially in Spain, Italy, and of course the modern Celtic countries of Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Cornwall, Brittany - as well as suprisingly far flung places as Russia and Japan - where people are intrigued and inspired by the Celtic music and arts. There have been other times of resurgance of interest in Celtic culture, and the late 20th, early 21st century will be remembered as a kind of Celtic renaissance, with much rich and fertile new work and ideas by many musicians, artists, poets, dancers and playrights - keeping the tradition alive". "Y gwri yn erbyn y byd - Truth against the world"
Body of work spans an array of media including traditional egg tempera painting, oil painting, printmaking, textile design as well as computer illustration and multimedia animation. Limited Edition Giclées are made by the artist in her studio using archival materials and inks to produce Fine Art Museum Quality prints.
A self-taught artist from South Wales, Jen Delyth came to Northern California in 1986. She is active within the artists’ communities of San Francisco and remains closely connected with her family back home. Recent work includes a series of Celtic Animations collaged with Celtic poetry and music available as “Beyond the Ninth Wave” interactive DVD. She has just completed her book “Celtic Folk Soul - Art, Myth & Symbol" a retrospective of her artwork and writing of the last 20 years published Spring 2008. Jen’s original Celtic artwork has been widely published and shown in North America, and back in her native Wales and in Europe. Published works include Books, Book Cover and magazine illustrations, Music and Theatre Illustration and the best selling “Celtic Mandala” Calendar, Journals and GreetingCards.
Also featured on television, theatre, festivals and museums across the country, Jen’s prints and paintings have been exhibited with solo and group shows internationally. Jen Delyth draws from her Welsh heritage to craft original intricate artworks that weave ancient patternings into a new living form. Her work conveys archtypal, spiritual and mythical themes which express the Celtic belief in the inter-connectedness of all things. Jen's Artwork has been exhibited in galleries both in the States, and back in her home country Wales, published in magazines and books. Her Celtic Designs Textile & Gift Lines are available Internationally.
The ground-breaking work "Beyond the Ninth Wave" weaving Celtic Animation, video, poetry, music and art, has been shown at many Music & Art Festivals including with Celtic Bands Kila, and Trillion Green, Land of the Blind.