Complexity and Beauty in the Game of Chess

by ChessBase
3/3/2007 – Artist Justin Michael Jenkins has a style that some have compared to Escher, Bosch and Dali, with his own unique flair that borders on the a psychedelic style of surrealism and pop art. Justin has completed a collection of chess drawings that attempt to dissect the elements of the game and portray them in connection with life itself. Take a look.

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Complexity and Beauty in the Game of Chess

Justin Michael Jenkins and his surreal pencil works of art

Artist Justin Michael Jenkins has a style that some have compared to Escher, Bosch and Dali, with his own unique flair that borders on a psychedelic style of surrealism and visionary pop art. An avid chess player, he has completed a collection of chess drawings that attempt to dissect the elements of the game and portray them in connection with life itself. “My passion for the game of chess started when I was the age of nine and the game's beauty, complexity, and intrigue has naturally led me to explore these elements in visual form through analysis and my own unique style,“ the artist states.

"The Birth of a Strategy"

When we study the game of chess, we find many fascinating structures and complex mathematical laws that predominate the various pathways of movement between both sides of pieces. The game of chess is perhaps the closest microcosmic representation of life and the universe in game form.

"The Science of Chess"

The game begins with two opposing sides of various pieces that mirror each other and have a unique ability to move around the board and attack. As the game begins, each individual piece's unique movement capability allows for numerous changes in the geometric and tactical structure, allowing for an infinite number of different combinations. These complex geometric counterplays and attacks manifest themselves from just one opening move.

"The Creation of a Magnificent Strategy"

Like a single molecule that contains the seed of life and eventually forms organisms and the physical state of matter, chess also takes on this infinite expansion of growth as the game progresses. The game of chess is such a great metaphor for the structure and shape of life that it opens itself to be dissected and analyzed on many levels and has carried over into the field of art in many ways. Chess allows for a myriad of ideas and approaches that many artists have found suitable to their style of work and to clarify the grand messages of life in visual form.

"The Transmutation of Time, Reflex, and Observation"

Artist Justin Michael Jenkins, an avid chess player, was inspired so much by the beauty, complexity, and geometric structures the game provides on countless levels, he decided to begin a journey into extracting the underlying laws and elements of the game into visual form based on his unique style of art.

"The Concealed Fate of an Imminent Surrender"

As he continued playing and becoming a better and stronger player, he reveled in the fascinating ideas that could be generated onto paper from this magnificent game. The artist states, "Besides the fact that fact that I play chess religiously , these underlying foundations led me naturally to study and visually represent this game in my own unique style." According to the artist, this collection of work started from a dream interpretation where the artist had a vision of an explosive and repetitive structure of form as it blossomed from the board in a fictitious chess match against Bobby Fischer. This first work of art in this collection, "The Birth of a Strategy", was the beginning of this collection and came to him in his dream. The artist states: "all of a sudden the board took on a liquid like form as the pawn levitated above the baord on many spheres. The shapes and the culmination of the pawn rising and exploding was the growth of a tree like form from the top of the pawn as a bright yellow sky filled the background."

"The Anatomization of the Laws of Chess"

This collection of pencil drawings takes all the elements within the game of chess from the various pieces to the complex geometric structures and represents these in a surreal and abstract way that produces many hidden and visible symbolisms. Jenkins uses color like the checkered patterns within the game, allowing them to dance around the works in repetition, creating separate but distinctive structures within the art composition. This fascinating drawing collection is a refreshing, intelligent, and cleverly constructed interplay of the game in unison with the artists unique approach.

The artist plans on doing a second collection of twelve works sometime in 2007. Looking at past art with regard to the game of chess, it's hard to find many pieces that make use of the games structure in such a unique and vibrant way.

Artist Justin Jenkins

Jenkins says his work is based around many universal themes including chess and like a scientist, he explores everyday reality and then absorbs these explorations, memories, and experiences into “mental flasks” of internal data that the artist can retrieve once in the studio. “My mission is visually bring to light what we are made up of, how we relate to life around us, and the grand machine we are all part of and engaged in,” the artists states. Jenkins says he attempts to explore these universal questions through these works that he hopes will propel the world into a fresher perspective, breaking down the walls that seem to blind humanity from seeing existence as special or grand.

Imaginative Pencil, the company and online gallery which exhibits and sells framed reproductions of the artists growing collections including chess, was formed back in 2003 as a way of promoting the artist on the internet and to reach a larger worldwide audience. Since then, the company has expanded into many commercial avenues selling calendars, mugs, posters, shirts, and more from the unique drawing collections. The growing list of collectors includes many grandmasters and International Masters.

For more information about this chess collection or other works please contact Michael Retla or the artist himself at 1-304-376-0762 or email Imaginative Pencil at Justin Jenkins is the webmaster for the Susan Polgar Foundation and the Susan Polgar web site.

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