Jay is a self-taught artist with a varied experience in the arts community over the last 35 years. In the 1980s, he worked at a sign and display company in all aspects of the business from display design, fabrication and installation. In the 1990’s, he worked with the Edmonton First Night Festival, the Citadel Theatre Teen & Children’s festivals. He was Marketing Coordinator for the Works Festival & PR manager for Art Evo gallery in City Centre Mall in 1992. In 1991, Jay formed the Blue Collar Art Company with 2 artist friends and they produced sculptural furniture and specialty store fixtures for 2 years. During this time Jay also produced & recorded 3 cd’s; designed numerous cd covers and websites; and filmed & edited 2 music videos which aired on MuchMusic.
After moving to Calgary in 1993, Jay began to focus more on painting while continuing to produce sculptural steel work in conjunction with several glass artists. Their work was sold in 3 or 4 galleries in Calgary. He returned to Edmonton in 1995 to help run the family business. In 2013, Jay began painting seriously again and has produced art for solo shows as well as corporate and public art. He also has become an advocate and social media promoter for artists and art.
Jay loves the experience of producing live art and interacting with the public while doing so. He has made art at numerous festivals and venues including Astral Harvest 2016/2017, Kaleido Festival 2016/2017, ChalkItUp on 118 2016/2017, Deep Freeze Festival 2017, Gallery At Milner, Lotus Art gallery and more.
In, 2015, Jay was the creator of the Twitter event #artAdventCalendar which encouraged artists to post original art for 25 days in December. Over 20 Edmonton artists participated and the hashtag had over a million impressions. In 2016, 66 artists from around the world participated with over 6 million impressions. In 2017, 200 artists from around the world participated with over 2300 original works of art posted and over 25 million impressions.
In 2016, Jay was the founder of the #artforYMMHelps auctions to raise money for the Red Cross Fort McMurray fire relief. 24 artists from around the world donated 28 pieces of original art and raised over $18,000 for relief efforts.
In 2016, Jay was a nominee in the Alberta Foundation for the Arts 25 Influential Alberta Artists awards.
Collaborative Art Project Featuring Painting, Photography and Storms!
Jay Bigam’s work is inspired by landscapes, sky, water, ice, and especially of his home, Alberta. In the fall of 2016, Bigam attended ChaserConCanada, a weekend convention of storm chasers and photographers from across Canada. The photographs and video of severe weather over this weekend were a revelation to him. He realized his style could be refined to reflect actual weather formations, while still being true to his current explorations of abstract land and skyscapes. Jay also realized these storm chaser photographers are artists, creating stunning images of clouds, lightning and sometimes, tornadoes. Almost every chaser he’d spoken with said to him, “You must go on a chase to experience the true impact and raw power of a storm. It will change the way you look at the sky.”
In 2017, Bigam worked with the 6 storm chaser photographers and accompanied each of them on a chase. Post chase, they chose a photograph that was iconic of that chase. He then began to interpret each of these photographs on a large canvas.
Jay Bigam undertook this project with several goals in mind. Foremost of these was to develop his abstract style to be more reflective of actual weather phenomena and to learn more of the science behind what causes the various cloud formations and storms that we see in Alberta.
“I have been intrigued to see what effect the “raw power” of seeing a storm up close (safely) has on my art. I learned a tremendous amount from these accomplished chaser photographers. Composition and photographic techniques present a whole new challenge when your subject moves at 40km/h with hail, heavy rain and lightning.” -Jay Bigam
Exhibiting these works alongside the photographs that inspired them is an attempt to show viewers part of the creative process. Jay is a big proponent of SciArt and feel that projects like this which feature art to tell the story of science, in this case, meteorology, can lead to engagement and further exploration in the general public.
Finally, storms are amazingly beautiful.