Jerrold (Jerry) Belland was born in 1947 to a farm family near Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. His earliest and most enduring artistic influence was the Sunday comics section of the Chicago Tribune. Belland graduated with honors from the UW-Madison. A Master’s Degree followed from the UW-Milwaukee.
A public school art teacher for 34 years, Belland stayed involved in the art world and for decades kept long studio hours. Today, he maintains a studio at the Racine Business Center where he cultivates a creative life that is, in his own words, “by turns, maddening, cruel, and emotionally fulfilling.”
After years of art school training, exhibiting, and turning every corner I could to discover a new slant on my creative endeavors, I have come back to the place that I started. I make paintings that tell a story. In the postmodern art lexicon this could be viewed as retrograde stuff. However, there you have it. I feel that I’m part of a tradition of storytellers that ranges from Giotto to Max Beckmann. I have a special fondness for the era of Germany between the wars.
The work tends toward the sad, perhaps, or sometimes the mystical: a young girl examines her flaws in a mirror; devils bound about in a room during a family fracas; God swirls helplessly in the air as a young Lethario phones an interested female. The young and the beautiful act out the time-old patterns of narcissism, hubris, and self-destruction while the old person’s wisdom goes unheeded.
I have been told that there is a comic element in my work. If there is, then fine. Maybe it is my inner mind throwing water on the super-heated subject matter I often use. Beyond the absurdity, the Joker is at work.