Ghostly Lights in the Night: The Automata Artwork of Jamie Winn
Multidisciplinary artist Jamie Winn can do it all – she’s an accomplished painter in oils, watercolors, and even spray paint. Her expertise doesn’t end on canvas – she is also a skilled tattoo artist, with her work featured in numerous tattoo magazines, newspapers, and on television internationally. The work that has captured my heart, however, is Winn’s automata works.
Part painting, sculpture, and lantern, these unique pieces of art are simultaneously electric and analog constructions; wall hangings that, with the push of a simple handmade crank, give literal life to her artwork. Using reclaimed lighting fixtures, wood, and a variety of other mixed media, Winn hand-fabricates unique dioramas that often light from within. Many members of her menagerie come complete with moving parts – with a simple twist of a handmade crank, mechanical raven wings flap and nimble legs attempt to run. Flickering, candle flame bulbs add moody lighting to an already solemn visual.
The designs are reminiscent of the faint memory of a fairy tale from your childhood, with hypnotic movements that draw the viewer to watch at length. Symbolism pertaining to literature, astrology, and folklore are ever present in Winn’s creations.
“Many of the things I have created are deeply rooted in my childhood and have mostly been visible through my automata work. I strive to create things that force the viewer to use both sides of the brain- appreciating the obvious artwork and then through the moving mechanisms, attempting to discover how it is working.”
Her painting of an owl with a mouse within, entitled Lechuza, perhaps references shape-shifting witches of Hispanic folklore. As the lore goes, lechuza are women who have sold their souls to the devil in exchange for magical powers, transforming into a creature with a bird’s body and woman’s face (think the harpies of Greek origin). In addition to being a shapeshifter, they summon thunderstorms, are immune to weapons, and it’s said that hearing the cry of the lechuza is an omen of death.
To learn more about Jamie Winn’s artwork, please visit her website, peep her Instagram for sneak peeks of work in progress, and check out her Etsy shop to see what automata art is still available for purchase.
Feature image courtesy of Jamie Winn