figurative art by Jerry Weiss
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Art Elevated Juror Jerry Weiss on the Allure of Figurative Art

Artist, writer, and educator Jerry Weiss, a juror for Artrepreneur’s pivotal Art Elevated contest in partnership with the Garment District Alliance, has built a career on his evocative figurative art and compelling landscapes. Based in Chester, CT, Weiss teaches at the Art Students League of New York, between working in the studio and contributing articles to numerous art magazines including The Artist’s Magazine. Weiss has decades of art world experience and as such, we were proud to have him as one of our jurors in the Art Elevated contest, held in partnership with Manhattan-based Garment District Alliance. The contest yielded nearly ninety winning artists, whose works are featured across Manhattan’s Garment District. These stunning artworks are featured on prominent banners hanging throughout this Midtown Manhattan neighborhood through October 31st.

We sat down to discuss Weiss’ studio practice, his appreciation for abstraction as a representational painter and his increasing attention to color over the course of his career.

figurative art
Jerry Weiss, Portrait Study, oil on paper


Artrepreneur: Thanks again for working with us to determine the winners of our Art Elevated contest! You were recommended to us through the Art Students League, where you teach…
Jerry Weiss: Yes, it also happens to be where I studied, and where my parents originally met (George Bridgman’s class to be precise), so I have quite a history there. I was originally raised in Southern Florida, although I knew I wanted to study as an artist at the Art Students League in New York. I moved to study there after time spent studying in Miami, FL. Eventually, I moved from New York to New Jersey, then on to Connecticut where I live now. I’ve lived and worked in Chester, CT since 1994.
Artrepreneur:  Tell us more about your trajectory as a painter. Did you begin working as a figurative or landscape painter first?
Weiss: I have always worked in both, but my surroundings have played an important role. Living and working in New York City, my work involved more figure drawing and live painting. It just came more naturally being in the City, where artists are surrounded by live models for drawing. As a result, I started more as a figure painter but then began working more in landscape painting as my surroundings changed, depending on where I was living at the time. Immersed in the solitude of natural Connecticut, I frequently paint en plein air. Here, surrounded by forests, I can work on landscapes at different times of the day and in different locations. I prefer to paint from life, on a large scale, and I work rapidly. Quality draftsmanship has always been a crucial element of my practice, whether painting figures or landscapes. It helps to refer to abstraction as well when forming representational compositions, as it forces the eye to consider how to structure a landscape or figure across the picture plane.
Artrepreneur: Can you walk us through what you’re working on now? Figurative or landscape painting?
Weiss: As they have always both been equally important aspects of my practice, I continue to work in both although when I am in Connecticut I am working more on landscapes.
art elevated
Jerry Weiss, River at Tenants Harbor, oil on linen, 24×36″
Artrepreneur: Could you introduce us to some of your artistic influences?
Weiss:  Cezanne and Degas are early 20th century artists who have influenced my work. Thomas Eakins is an American realist painter whose work has inspired me. Euan Uglow is a contemporary British is another painter I admire.
Artrepreneur: Finally, can you explain how your work has evolved? What series are you working on now?
Weiss: In my practice, I don’t necessarily work with a series mentality. I emphasize color in my work, and over time I’ve gained a greater appreciation for the incisive use of color. Now I don’t necessarily paint every day like I used to. My life now can consist of writing one day, teaching and painting the next. Over time my priorities have shifted both in my career and in my painting specifically. Color is more important for me now that it has ever been previously, and I continue to rely on abstract values and color as a firm approach in which I can root my work. As a representational painter, it is important to remain consistent while subtlely evolving.

Jerry Weiss figurative art

Like what you see?  Check out Jerry Weiss’s full profile on

About the author

Audra Lambert

Audra Lambert is a curator, arts marketing consultant, and editor based in Sunnyside, Queens, where her Chi-Spaniel puppy graciously allows her to cohabit.

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