Thursday, May 9, 2013

Renaissance Man

Brian Wayne Jansen

Brian Wayne Jansen is a Renaissance man. As most people in the arts are. Most of us draw or paint and also write or act or make music. It seems to be a characteristic of artistic people that their creative pursuits cross many disciplines. Christian Carvajal, for instance, is a writer, a novelist and a critic, and a fine actor. By his own admission he sings a little, but just enough to barely get by; but he’s hopeless as a dancer — for confirmation go see Legally Blonde at Capital Playhouse.

Even I have more than one talent. I write and I’ve been known to make visual art, and although very few people know it, I use to play drums in a country & western band. But if you ask me to sing you’re asking for torture, and I would not attempt acting for love nor money.

Pick It Up
So if many of us are so multi-talented across genres, why single out Brian? It’s a spur of the moment thing. He’s been posting a lot of his drawings on Facebook lately, and I thought they should be shared more widely; and we (ClaytonWorks) built his website, which features a lot of his art and a nice bio and acting credits including links to reviews. There’s also a section on music to come. He plays guitar and writes music.

It would have been natural for me to meet Brian because he’s an actor and I write theater reviews, but I met him under different circumstances before I even knew he was an actor. The first show I saw him on stage was as Einstein in “Picasso at the Agile Lapin.” His performance was outstanding, but that was just a warm-up for his performances in “Take Me Out,” “Murderers,” “Titus Andronicus” and his most recent outing as Pink in “Reservoir Dogs.” The thing about Brian’s acting is that no matter what character he plays his performance is riveting. He becomes so many different characters and is sometimes almost unrecognizable (as in “Titus Andronicus”) yet there is always an undefinable quirky something about him that is undeniably Brian. Few actors do that so well. One who comes to mind is Jack Nicholson, but Nicholson is always a little too much Nicholson. I love him, but he’s so full of himself. The one other actor who comes to mind is Bo Bridges. Yeah, maybe Brian is the South Sound community theater equivalent of Bo Bridges, who, in my humble opinion, is a better actor than his more famous brother.

As for Brian’s paintings and drawings, they are as unique and quirky as any of the more outlandish characters he has played on stage. His drawing looks childish and untutored, but that is deceptive and, I suspect, intentional.  His art is unhindered and unselfconscious, straight-forward, dramatic and expressive. I encourage readers to peruse his artwork on his website and see it in person if you get a chance.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And on top of all that, he's a really good guy! Someone I am honored to know and to have performed with.