Born in Boston on Aug. 19, 1945, Jansen grew up in Stamford, Conn., the first son of Carl and Lily Jansen, a merchant marine sea captain and a homemaker. When his father returned from sea and later retired, he spent his time painting and woodcarving. His mother, who passed away last December, often teased Jansen that he inherited his artistic genes from her. She started painting at 16.
Both were extensively involved in the art scene in their hometown.
Jansen graduated from Stamford High School then served as a seaman in the U.S. Navy from 1963 to 1966. He was a veteran of the Vietnam War, receiving a National Defense Service Medal and a Vietnam Service Medal.
He moved to New York City and graduated from the Fine Arts Department at the School of Visual Arts in 1970. After receiving postgraduate awards and scholarships, one was to Skowhegan for the summer of 1969, Jansen was recognized for his innate technique and began his career as a freelance illustrator.
Jansen emerged in the '70s when he broke through as a highly inventive independent painter, and served as resident artist at Jimi Hendrix' Electric Lady Recording Studios in Greenwich Village. Jansen's work appeared in Rolling Stone Magazine, The Village Voice and Playboy, and includes album cover designs for Jimi Hendrix' "War Heroes" and "Loose Ends," and Henry McCullough's "Mind Your Own Business!" which was nominated for Album Cover of the Year Award in London.
In the summer of 2008, Jansen was awarded a Pollock-Krasner grant for emerging and established artists who face obstacles to creating their art.
"I'd say I'm re-creating abstract expressionism in a cartoonist way," Jansen told Downtown Express in an interview at the time. "More aggressive, dramatically so. I see anger, frustration, more joy coming through than I did before."
His paintings are comprised of brilliantly colored, abstract configurations that reflect the conventional ideas of classical painting, according to his web site (www.pauljansen.net). Jansen's heightened perspectives portray intensity and sensuality from ribbon-like forms to fantasies of color, unlike anything else in modern painting. A longtime Downtown resident, Jansen and Dolores, his wife of nearly 20 years, and stepdaughter Ashley Pickett, moved from Soho in 1993 to Ann St., where they were living on 9/11. Soon after, they moved east to Dover St.
In addition to his wife Dolores, stepdaughter Ashley and dog Petunia, Jansen is survived by his brother John Jansen, sister-in-law Barbara Sorensen and her husband Thor, mother and father-in-law, Eleanor and Douglas Hansen, and numerous cousins.
Currently his widow Dolores and stepdaughter Ashley along with Petunia live in the Powerhouse Arts District in Jersey City, where they represent and show Paul's works.
Comprised of brilliantly colored, abstract configurations that reflect the conventional ideas of classical painting, Jansen's heightened perspectives portray intensity and sensuality, unlike anything else in modern painting. From ribbon-like forms to fantasies of color, Jansen confidently pushes and fulfills the making of a truly unique and intricate artist.
"Throughout my career as a painter I have looked to achieve the expression of universal unconscious meaning through conscious works. In the 60's while in art school I was greatly influenced by both traditional and contemporary artists Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, Frank Stella, and Albert Durer as well as the writings of Carl Jung. This inspired a series of abstract expressionist two-dimensional flat geometric paintings.
curateNYC: Emerging NYC Artists Dedication - 2010
Pollack-Krasner Grant - Recipient 2008
Skowhegan Art School - Scholarship 1969