Born in Edmonton, Alberta, Jay Senetchko now lives and works in Vancouver, British Columbia. He is a University of Alberta graduate (1997 – Bachelor of Commerce with Distinction) and spent several years as a professional soccer player in Edmonton and Montreal before pursuing entrepreneurial interests in Canada and the United States. In 2000 he moved to Vancouver and received a Diploma of Classical Animation from the Vancouver Film School in 2001. Primarily self-taught, his painting has been strongly influenced by apprenticeships with both Gideon Flitt and Odd Nerdrum. His work has been exhibited since 2002 in North and Central America and Europe.
Recent awards and events of interest include an honourable mention in the 2013 Kingston Portrait Competition, shortlist for the BP Portrait Competition (2011 & 2012), shortlist for the Kurt Beers 100 Painters of Tomorrow publication (2013), inclusion in the recently published The Nerdrum School (a collection of paintings by those who have apprenticed with the Norwegian painter Odd Nerdrum – 2013), and 1st place in the juried 2012 Painting on the Edge competition sponsored by the Canadian Federation of Artists.
He is the author of Making Pictures Speak: Composition for the Visual Arts, a textbook on perspective and composition for visual art; as well as the adult storybook Fishes and Wishes. He is currently developing another storybook, The Dragon and the Unicorn: An Ideological Fairytale. He has been teaching life-drawing, perspective, composition, and art history at Vancouver Film School since 2002, and teaching painting privately since 2003. He currently holds independent lectures on the arts in alternating locations throughout Vancouver. Senetchko is also a founding member (2010) of the Vancouver-based figurative collective Phantoms in the Front Yard.
Jay Senetchko is a storyteller. He is most easily defined as a painter, although he situates his practice in a broader material context and process, which includes photography, digital media, sculptures, performance and installations. His spectacle-based exhibitions are an effort to insert fine art back into the social fabric by engaging the public at large, not only the academic and invested.
In Senetchko’s primary medium of oil on canvas he operates as a figurative realist creating narrative-based paintings. His oeuvre attempts to expose the arbitrary divide between classical and contemporary, realism and abstraction, and art and craft. It is Senetchko’s intent to illustrate how these oppositions are not only unnecessary, but also illusory.
Senetchko’s subject matter, often featuring elements of his personal history, is derived from themes that reflect the parallels between different historical periods and contemporary life. The combination of his representational approach and historical subject matter expose an artist with a nostalgic and romantic temperament. Upon further consideration however, it becomes clear that Senetchko’s imagery is fraught with tension and unease as he reveals the distortion and fallacy of sentimentality and the inherent dangers of nostalgia.