Jay Zinn’s Abstract Steel

Jay Zinn
Jay Zinn

Jay Zinn has traveled a long, creative road to get where he is today. The colorful, large scale abstract steel works he produces now are far from the tight, detailed illustrations he produced for over 30 years working for Penny Lane Publishing. Though different in every way, it was easy for Jay to make the switch. While tight illustration is very meticulous and detail oriented, the techniques associated with his steel works are very free flowing and organic. The reactions that take place between the materials used, while very much a part of his process, are not done by his own hand, but chemical reactions.

“I love color and the oxidizing reaction to steel. I use free flowing, layering effects over time to create more depth and character to the piece. I love that I don’’t have to make it look like something, an object, a person, or a landscape. It is what it is and it creates a certain emotion in the eye of the beholder.””

Jay Zinn

Using what he has learned over the years by trial and error, Jay has been able to create a desired texture or flow with a combination of different materials. Because it is impossible to replicate any work twice, the viewer or patron is left with a true original piece of art.

““There is no way I am able to ever duplicate a piece that I’’ve already done because something new flows out of me every time. Some are winners, some are not, but that also depends on the beholder. Everyone sees my art differently and everyone reacts to it differently.””

Each piece starts with a custom steel “canvas.” With the delicate combination of acrylic colors, a variety of liquid chemicals, and water, Jay Zinn is able to create a unique experience with each and every piece. To stop the oxidation and rusting process, he seals every work with a clear coat of paint, freezing the chemical reaction in time when he deems necessary. 

I love that I don’’t have to make it look like something, an object, a person, or a landscape. It is what it is.

Growing up in Ohio, Jay Zinn and his siblings were encouraged to explore their artistic side, both in the visual arts and musical arts, by his parents.

“”I am so grateful for the support my parents gave us through those years. They called out our individual talents and encouraged it, funded it, and celebrated it.””

With the help from his creative family, Jay was encouraged to study art at the Dayton Art Institute, University of Cincinnati, and the Central Academy of Commercial Arts. Though undeniably gifted in the arts, visual art is not his only interest. Jay has also been a non-denominational Christian pastor of 40 years, pioneering three churches, the third of which is located in Davidson. After recently retiring, Jay decided to focus on his writing, his art, and his call to mentoring and coaching other pastors around the country, and even the world. Though his talents take him all over the place, Charlotte is where he calls home.

Jay Zinn

““I have lived in many places, many different states, and Charlotte, to me, is the best of all worlds in climate, culture, environment, close proximity to the ocean and mountains, and the friendliness of its people.””

Though Jay struggles to find a market for his large scale indoor/outdoor pieces here in Charlotte, he feels there is a flourishing art community here, and that it may just take a little time for the community to catch up.

““I think it is a rich environment for art and the exposure and interest is growing in the outlying communities. I know that other cities lend themselves more, in my opinion, to high end artists and I have found it challenging to discover them here.””

The future looks bright for Jay Zinn and all of his passion projects. Along with his original pieces, he sells digital images of his work on steel that can be seen and purchased at Flat Iron Grill in Davidson and The Aquesta Banks in Lake Norman. Original works are at the Shain Gallery and his home studio. His original works can also be seen at www.jayzinnart.com.

Contact Jay for more information on purchasing his original art or private commissions.

Jay Zinn