Jacob Ouillette creates exuberant abstract paintings by using a simple language of brushstrokes and color in a process akin to improvised music. "The brushstroke is a note in a musical composition, preferably played on the harmonica," says Ouillette. "I've been playing the harmonica longer than I've been painting, almost my whole life, and those sounds, rhythms and feelings are imprinted in me. When the brushstroke bends, swoops, dips, swings, sings and vibrates, to me it could be blasting out of a harmonica, saxophone or an electric guitar."
Color plays a vital role in the experience of Ouillette's paintings. In some works, he will use over thirty different pigments in one painting. He is always experimenting and searching for colors and combinations he's never seen before. Ouillette is so particular with his process that he even makes his own paint in order to achieve the colors he desires.
After growing up in Coastal Maine, he studied painting at the Rhode Island School of Design and like many young artists, moved to New York City. Currently, he divides his time between San Francisco, New York and Eastern Long Island. Place has a significant influence on Ouillette's paintings and color choices. Two recent groups of paintings, the 'Treat' and 'Ladder Dream' series were directly influenced by the environs of San Francisco's lively Mission district where Ouillette recently had his studio.