Art with sensory actions – Yaniv Janson

Yaniv Janson is a painter working in Raglan living with autism. In 2018 the ODI wrote about his exhibition at the United Nations so we thought World Autism Day was a great time for a catch up to find out what he’s been up to lately.

Yaniv on Raglan Beach modeling one of his t-shirts

Yaniv on Raglan Beach modelling one of his Touch the World t-shirts, the result of a collaboration with Famine of Beauty  t-shirts.

"Living with autism, I am aware that I communicate in ways that are different to the mainstream; My art includes a number of sensory actions (pouring, splashing, studying the movement of the paint on canvas...) which do the talking," says Yaniv.

A bright abstract painting of poured colours

'A Circus of Primary Colours' by Yaniv Janson 2017 - find out more about this painting here

Yaniv started painting at the Learning Connection when he moved to New Zealand with his family when he was 7. He started painting when he was 15 and then attended the Learning Connection where he graduated with a Diploma of Arts & Creativity (Hons) in 2011. Back then, watercolours were his medium of choice at first but now he’s moved onto acrylic paint.

"I mostly use acrylic paints with water. I play with the textures formed by the paint as it touches the canvas. People tell me they like the effect that my technique produces: I pour water and paint directly on canvas for the background and then let it dry before continuing to paint. It is fun but it takes much longer to get the effect I want."

He is concerned about the world around us, and uses his paintings to express his views.

"My interest is in exploring new ways to raise awareness about societal issues and this has led my artistic journey. I paint about environmental and social issues. My audience tells me they connect emotionally to my work. My paintings ask them to visualise sustainability and climatic challenges. I am interested in combining art and science to understand the impact of the smallest individual actions," he says.

A painting showing middle class houses, houses of the rich & poor houses hidden

'Everyone's Lives' 2017 - part of the Rich, and Middle Class, and Poor collection.

In 2019 Yaniv was awarded the Arts Access Artistic Achievement Award at the New Zealand Parliament. The judging panel included Stephen Wainwright (Chief Executive, Creative New Zealand). The panel’s feedback was very positive:

"Yaniv Janson has achieved critical acclaim, both here and internationally – in particular, representing New Zealand at the UN Headquarters in New York with his exhibition Please Do Touch. Through his art and activism, this talented young artist is building bridges across communities, and engaging people in social and environmental issues. Yaniv’s commitment, achievements, vision and innovation are outstanding”.

Having held exhibitions around the world and entering art competitions in New Zealand has been a highlight of Yaniv’s career so far. He’s now had over 20 solo exhibitions in New Zealand and abroad.

Right now Yaniv is working on two new projects – one called Out of the Blue and the Pongo project.

"Out of the Blue builds on the experience I gained in Project 22, where I used paint test pots in a variety of blue tones. The reason I chose specifically blue tones is because I call blue the world’s favourite colour, because when I talk to people about their favourite colour, a lot of the time they say blue. It is also the most popular colour on Earth, specifically the ocean and the sky."

Yaniv stands outside holding up one of his blue artworks

Yaniv with one of his pieces from Out of the Blue

"The outcome for the Out of the Blue project is being able to share another installation that showcases the variety of ways in which paint can be applied to a canvas, share and educate about environmental sustainability for our Earth, and encourage and inspire others living with disabilities to pursue their dreams and realise their potential."

The Pongo project meanwhile uses a variety of sensory actions to pour, spread and drip paint across the canvas. Yaniv wants to create 13 paintings within this project, with each 'wearing' 13 test posts.

"I aim to submit this installation, once completed, to the Wallace Art Awards and gain another solo exhibition in Auckland or Napier as I have a number of favourite art galleries there. I have also developed a number of workshops, focusing on environmental sustainability awareness and action, that I will be co-presenting across the country in schools, art galleries and museums throughout 2021.

"I then aim to further develop this concept through another series for 2022, focusing on the Out of the Blue project and educating and encouraging those living with disabilities to recognise the potential for art to support and propel them toward their dreams, by sharing my own journey to achieving this."

Find out more about Yaniv on his website or on his Facebook page .  

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