Category Archives: Writing

Artist Feature: Jason Jaworski

self portrait

Interview with Artist: Jason Jaworski

Rae: So tell me your story.

Jason: I’m just a small town girl living in a lonely world.

Rae: At what age did you decide you were going to be serious about art?

Jason: When Biggie and Tupac died. I think everything got real serious after that.

Rae: Haha… now tell me about your zine, “Sprinkles, Sparkles, and Kankles.” How did you get the name? 

Jason: I had just moved to New York. This was 5 or 6 years ago. I didn’t know anyone or anything and was broke beyond shit. I was working at an archive of a well-known photographer at the time, dealing with numerous museums and estates. Including the Dali Fundacio, the TATE Modern, and the MoMA.

Every day I would ride the train a little more than an hour north to the Upper West Side of Manhattan and be transported to this strange bubble of wealth and magic. In the evenings, without money or company, I would walk down Manhattan taking pictures and jotting down notes, trying to find food and take in as much as I could. Sort of like a sponge. When I got back to my apartment near Coney Island I would write and work off of everything I’d consumed. Regurgitating everything I had seen and absorbed.

That was in 2007. The same year I had befriended a woman who lived in the Dakota building on 72nd Street. We met through a mail-art project I had started. It involved sending letters I wrote to random addresses. An artist I met at my work, Donna Ferrato, had a show opening on the East Side. I invited the woman from the Dakota to go with me.

We walked up and down Fifth Avenue on one of those magical nights where the ebb and flow of the city seems to work concurrently with one’s own feelings.

It was getting late. We walked back across the park, towards the West Side. It started to rain. While beginning to hold her hand, she said the exact same thing I was thinking- how everything, in the rain, at the right moment, with the right light, can cause things to sparkle.

Rewind two decades. I’m a child. My mom, an immigrant, implants in my head the word “sprinkles” in association with rainfall. 2007: I’m walking in the park again with the woman in the rain. Sprinkles. And the sparkles that go along with it. Upon arriving at the woman’s house we were joined by a group of her friends.  Suddenly, before me were an enormous amount of kankles. Belonging to men and women alike.

That night, I walked back to my apartment near Coney Island as the sun rose. I sat down and jotted three words quickly: Sprinkles, Sparkles, Kankles.

They sort of fell into each other. And described a personal moment in time while also being humorous, something I very much liked. The name sort of stuck and I’ve been making zines and other things inspired by those impressions ever since.

Rae: Describe the process within yourself when creating a new piece? And how do you decide the medium, since you do all kinds of art?

Jason: I’ve always had problems sleeping, either sleeping too much or not enough. When I’m alone, hungry and at my most tired is when I work the best, usually right before the sun comes up until 1 or 2pm. Sort of from about 2am to 2pm. A nice 12 hours. My friend Rhode calls it the Vampire Schedule.

Process wise, I kind of just put everything I’m working with in front of me. And sort of overwork till there’s too much, and then deconstruct everything from there.

It’s like constructing the tallest building in the world then realizing you just wanted a small house. Reusing and re-appropriating all the previous materials. Like compressing a large wad of coal into a diamond.

As for medium, each one dictates to me when to work with it. I don’t steal anymore. I used to when I was younger. But I’ve stopped completely since then. Since I don’t have much, I work with whatever is around me, and with whatever new tools I acquire. So it’s usually what’s around me that decides how I work and interact with it.

Rae: I really love your process of documentation. You’re very meticulous. And I mean that in a good way.

Jason: I’ve always thought I was gonna die young. I don’t want to forget anyone or anything that I’ve been or have come in contact with, no matter how much I run away. And just as a photograph can contain within its image the details of a moment, I’m just trying to catch as much as I can with as much as I can.

Rae: Would you say you challenge society’s normal mode of thinking with your work?

Jason: There’s this Jackie Chan movie called Who Am I. The whole movie is pretty amazing. I haven’t seen it since I was a little kid though, so by now it might be awful. Throughout the whole movie there’s all of this amazing stuff going on. I think at one point he slides down a building and fights some guys in wooden shoes. Amazing. The only bad part of the movie, from what I remember, is when he gets up on a ledge and screams the title of the movie to the world: “Whoooooooo aaaammmmmmm I?!”

That’s all a side exposition leading to this- I don’t really ever try to question what I’m doing, or who it’s for. I don’t really think of society, either as a challenge or an entity. The same way a flower or plant doesn’t really think of people. The two just sort of coexist and somehow indirectly inform the other. It’s not that I’m ignorant. It’s more that I’m arrogant enough to think that I can ignore society. Without having to conform to whatever norm is floating around right now

Rae: Do you predetermine meaning or does it arrive later in your work?

Jason: I feel like anyone can make anything mean something. From a can of soup, to an empty frame, to a blank black canvas shared between three friends. I can only inject myself and my own meaning into something, so that it speaks to me.  If it ends up speaking to someone else then that is all the more reason to continue.

For me, sometimes the end will come before the beginning of something I’m working on. So I’ll work my way towards that end.

Although, more often than not, that end changes. I used to see everything I did as an exorcism of whatever ailed me at the moment. A sort of therapy. But I don’t really think about it that much anymore.

I just know that everything I do, and attach my name to, means something to me. Because only I could have done it- as good or as bad as it is. People always judge everything and everyone around them. That’s the sad way that we associate things with one another. But no one judges me and my actions more than me.

So it’s sort of like this interview- do I choose to be serious and pose a question? Or do I answer with whatever comes into my head? Or do I pretend to be happy when I’m sad or whatever it is? The meaning of something is derived from its core. And whether it’s a piece of plastic or a novel, everything has a core. Some just burn brighter than others.

Rae: Do you leave the conversation open ended in your art work or is your work more of a controlled study of conversation? For example, when starting a work, do you feel you are designing an experimental study that leads to a hypothesis or do you leave it open to move in any direction?

Jason: I think my real answer to this question would be much too long and kind of incoherent. The short of it is that I just don’t really care. Not in a “fuck you” type of way. It’s just that my thoughts never really collide with those questions while I’m working. I just need to do what I do and I’m doing it. It’s as simple as that.

Rae: Looks like you’ve been very productive. How many hours a day do you create?

Jason: Sometimes I’ll work 48 hours straight. Sometimes I’ll work 48 minutes. It usually depends on my mood and the amount of information I’ve absorbed. It’s impossible to describe without sounding like a douche. But I create when I can. Not when the time is available. But when I am mentally able to do so. I harness whatever is around me. That said, Mr. Miller once wrote, “Whenever you can’t create, you can always work.” So I always do.

Each object, whether tangible or not, each creation, comes from work. You can’t really get away from it. So, I can have thoughts and ideas and dreams, but if they aren’t actuated and acted upon they stay as dreams. It takes work to do something. So more than creating it is a process of working.

I would love to just lay in bed all day and think of all the amazing things I could and should do. But there comes a point when you have to get out of the covers and go outside. And turn all the notes and ideas, in whatever pad or notebook, into actualities. Otherwise they’re just dreams and ideas that never came to be. It’s sort of like masturbation. And, while that might be ok sometimes, there’s no substitute for the real thing.

Rae: What do you consistently draw inspiration from?

Jason: Cities and their structure. And how that structure integrates a place and its people. The repetition of images alongside one another. Jenny. Friends and strangers. (I’m kind of just typing down everything that’s coming to my head.) Burritos are inspirational at certain moments. A hug. Views from an airplane window. A high five from Rhode.

Rae: Any books that you’ve been reading that have taken your breath away? Inspired your projects.

Jason: Ever since I got it a few years ago, there’s no book I go back to reread and look over more than Memories of a Dog.

Rae: When you’ve got a creative block, how do you get yourself out of it?

Jason: Work.

Rae: Heard you’ve lived in many different cities. Which cities inspired you most and why?

Jason: The past few years have afforded me the ability to have a sort of irregular square formation of living in this country. Being homeless and going from Los Angeles to San Francisco to New York to Miami, with little spurts of scenery in Canada, Japan, Taiwan and Mexico.

Out of all of those places, I feel most at home in New York but each one gives its own inspiration in some way. San Francisco will always remind me of my sister and the sometimes frustrating, but always incredible and inspirational, relationship I’m grateful and glad to have with her. Miami is a sort of bounce house for me.

Having some of the most talented and good-spirited friends I know of, Los Angeles is like an unorganized playground of a place where the rides don’t too often work. But when they do it’s worth it. And New York, always my home even if I don’t have a home there, has everything I could hate and hope for all in one place.

Rae: Any upcoming new projects in progress that we can look forward to seeing soon? Any shows or traveling on your calendar this year?

Jason: I’m planning a show with my friend Sasha Grey in the near future. And I’m organizing and exhibiting a photo project and documentary I created while going out to Japan a week after the earthquake last year. And I’m working on a series of books which should hopefully start to trickle out at the end of this year along with a few other goodies.

Rae: Sounds great to check out! And you’ve done some collaborations with other artists in the past, but what motivates you to connect and build relationships through the art making process?

Jason: Some things require more than one person to get done and any moment or opportunity to be able to work with one of my friends is a welcome one.

Rae: Any artists that you would be happy to collaborate within the near future?

Jason: More friends or talented strangers.

Rae: What do you like most about the art surrounding you in San Francisco/bay area?

Jason: Lulu and Nae Nae, Tranny Karaoke night at Aunt Charlie’s. The homeless guy that pulled out his tooth and gave it to my sister. Evan, Amanda, Chelsea’s flannel. Matt, Nisan, Raymond Brown, Keiko, Ray, Austin, Pardee, Monica and Harrison. Green Apple, Kayo, Los Coyotes’ buy one get one free Wednesday burrito special. The guy who screams “you got a quarter” to people on the street. And everyone and everything that hates or hugs me.

Rae: What type of music or bands are you listening to right now if any?

Jason: I’m responding to these questions at this moment while listening to a group of songs I heard while falling in love with my friend at a goth party. I don’t know if that’s embarrassing, honest, or both.

Rae: Finally, what has been your most exciting moment as an artist?

Jason: Buying my parents dinner and paying more than “just the tip”.

Rae: This wraps up the interview. Thank you, Jason! Gonna definitely be seeing your work around I’m sure!

Jason: Thanks.

Check out his website: Jason Jaworski

The images throughout this interview are from Jason’s recent photo project documenting cities along with vernacular images and found photographs.

Keith Smith, Book By Book

Keith Smith, Book By Book is and exhibit at Bruce Sivlerstein Gallery, New York.

Keith Smith has been creating books as works of art since the 1960s, yet he has rarely shown his work to the public over the past twenty-five years.

He designs books that allow the viewer to experience and question the structure and nature of the book itself—his works are often radical departures from traditional books made of string or covered in fabric, they unfold, light-up, do not open, are unbound, or punched full of holes. Each piece is an opportunity for the viewer to expand his or her own expectations for a book and physically engage with the imagery or text.

For Smith, his work is a form of creative articulation whereby the act of making the book—the binding, printing method, page materials and textures that comprise the form, content and structure of the book are chosen to most adequately express the artist’s original inspiration or personal challenge.

While a single book might be guided by one idea or one particular interest, when the viewer examines the artist’s complete body of work—currently over 280 books—images of certain people and places reappear, and Smith’s voice begins to emerge. His works address the recurring themes of love and desire and reveal the artist’s efforts to reckon with his sexual identity.

Keith was educated at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology. He has taught at the Visual Studies Workshop, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the University of Illinois. He is a recipient of two Guggenheim Fellowships, and a National Endowment of the Arts grant and a Pollock/Krasner Foundation grant.

His work is in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago; Center of Creative Photography, University of Arizona; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University; International Museum of Photography at the George Eastman House; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Getty Museum, Los Angeles; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London among others.

He has authored nine books on bookmaking, among them; 200 Books, An Annotated
Bibliography, published by Keith Smith BOOKS, First Edition, May 2000; Books without Paste or Glue, Non-Adhesive Binding Volume I, The Sigma Foundation, Inc., 1991; and Structure of the Visual Book, First Edition, The Sigma Foundation, 198.

Courtesy of Bruce Silverstien Gallery. Exhibit runs till January 7, 2012.

www.keithsmithbooks.com

www.brucesilverstein.com

Interview with Featured Artist: Ivan Bridges

“I just had the most beautiful dream; I was out there, over the Grand Canyon, in the sky. Out there in the universe. Dark, but there were stars. It was like we were in bed at night, talking in the dark. But somehow above the world as well, in the dark. We laid down, the two of us, on what felt like the sky and went to sleep. On a clear surface that was totally invisible. In the dream, I also met an older lady and I threw up a little bit inside her mouth, like a bird, and she liked it. A video camera is what I saw at the end of my dream.” – Ivan

Rae: Tell me about your artwork, what does it represent for you personally?

Ivan: I really identify with Duchamp when he says that all of art making is an urge, and the thing that just can’t be explained any more than that. I do see it fundamentally as an urge, so personally it represents to me some type of obsessive urge, maybe destructive? Maybe not. It’s hard to tell, you know, but I’ve never been able to quit so much, so it seems to put it in it’s place as an urge.

Rae: Can you recall a memory of when you first started making art? How did you start being serious about it?

Ivan: I’ve always been interested in drawing. I remember one of my teachers in elementary school saying to me that she hoped I’d never stop drawing. I wrote a poem too when I was very young and it was being read in the auditorium of the school during some kind of rally. I don’t remember much about it, but they picked my poem somehow. I remembered being both embarrassed and also deeply connected to that moment of hearing it spoken.

Rae: What do you love most about being an artist living in San Francisco?

Ivan: I love walking around at night thinking to myself as I look up at all the lights on inside the rooms I pass, maybe south of market or on Polk street, thinking to myself as I see the high ceilings and shadows cast what possibilities all these spaces have. I keep imagining different lives I’d live in each one of these open windows I pass in China town, the clothes hanging out the window, I imagine a room with a subject, a painting, a camera, a typewriter, I see it all.

Rae: Which cities have you lived in? Traveled to?

Ivan: I’ve lived in London, I grew up in New Orleans, I have a second life in Costa Rica with my father. I’ve seen Rome, Florence, Madrid, and spent a week inside an old convent with my cousin in Siena.

Rae: Having been in class with you at SFAI, I know that you grew up in New Orleans. How do you think living there had influenced you in your art making?

Ivan: New Orleans is a dark place. And I remember I used to walk to school before the sun rose and then standing in that schoolyard looking at the large brick building I’d always hear these crows cawing. It’s also a religious place, that elementary school was named Holy Name of Jesus. Being originally born in Portland, Oregon and then transplanted to New Orleans at eight years old to live for the next ten years in this religious school system had a deep effect on me. I became obsessed in my own way with the symbolism of the church, only to find when as I got older that my own relationship to that symbolism was somehow not okay with the specific dogma of the church. I eventually broke with the identification as a Christian probably when I was eleven or twelve years old, but that experience has deeply shaped my inner life.

Rae: Studying at San Francisco Art Institute, who was an influential teacher of yours? What did he/she teach you most about?

Ivan: Rob Halpern, the class was called “The Dead and the Living, paranormal messages in literary texts,” and I’m pretty sure I’ve never been the same again. Well, English classes have had that effect on me and I just don’t see how engaging deeply with literature or theory could not affect ones life deeply. But to talk about a few of the things I learned, the notebook being a primitive technology is one, also that I can grieve while reading. I learned that with Primo Levy.

Rae: What about their program, attracted you to go to SFAI?

Ivan: The idea that you can’t teach art.

Rae: Has your style changed at all through the years?

Ivan: yes, sometimes it’s the limits or constraints that keep me changing. For example, I used to be very hung up on the idea that for me, painting or art making had to do with oil painting. And it was when I had the lucky opportunity to be invited into a shared studio situation that I was unable to paint in oil, the times I was allowed in were infrequent at best and the time in this studio was filled with my supposed partner talking to me more about the news than what would inspire me to paint. It’s one of those experiences that sounds amazing, beautiful studio great location, but there is a catch, all my oils are going to be locked up most of the time leaving me to have to find another outlet. It ended up that I started using watercolor, as a way to cope with this, and that became my primary medium, which I use today. I’m actually going through that same process right now where all my watercolor stuff is in another studio, this time it’s my own, and I’ve been thinking about writing instead! Maybe renting an art studio for me is a great way to discard a medium.

Rae: Speaking of motivation, is there anything or anyone that exceptionally inspires your artwork at the moment?

Ivan: Proust, and Georges Bataille, both of these writers exhibit a type of freedom in their prose, a pure unfolding deeply provocative material that dwells below the surface. I think, of the human experience. It’s given me a little bit of extra courage to move more deeply into my own hidden drives or fears about what might come up if I really push myself to show what I’m terrified to show in my art.

Rae: Any other artists you would love to collaborate with in the future?

Ivan: Sophie Calle, Nalini Malini

Rae: Describe your process for creating a new piece and what sorts of materials you prefer to use?

Ivan: I love to collage; I also like taking pictures, writing, video. It’s funny someone told me recently that the foe artists have a hand in everything, so I guess I’m not a real artist then.

Rae: Any amazing gallery that you love in the bay area?

Ivan: Honestly, I’m not too familiar with galleries in the Bay area, but I do love certain bookstores, the Green Apple is one, I think of it as a type of church. I also love Forest Books on 16th street; The Ocean is a great place to go as well on a foggy day or night.

Rae: When is your most creative….time of day?

Ivan: It’s either early in the morning or late at night, but I think creativity is such a mystery really. None of this stuff really makes any sense does it, but I do think it’s important to remember where you are when you get ideas. For me I walk late at night through soma or up Polk Street. I also have a couch in a room where stacks of books cover the walls; I lay there and think as well.

Rae: What inspires you to continue making art?

Ivan: I just can’t imagine not doing it. I would say that for me it’s a matter of psychological health.

Rae: Could you talk about your latest series of work and what you are trying to achieve with them?

Ivan: My latest project is a video; these are some of the initial ideas around it:

  • I wanted to crawl up into the smell in the hallway, it reminded me of the bath with Terri, I peed in it and she saw and asked me if I did, I said no. Millaudon Street New Orleans, I’m 17. I miss it, those mornings. But tonight is something new. I’ve painted. Terri is gone. She’s the one I can’t seem to get over. But they weren’t exactly days of roses and I feel the green sunlight of a photograph I know well, I don’t remember the day but the photograph for sure. I also remember that porch, waiting for the night to begin. At night we took drugs and in the day we waited. I lived for most of it like that but oh I never knew her all that well and besides she never even loved me. I’ve never known anyone all that well except for artists, ones who are dead who I can think about. This primitive notebook, I can feel it opening to me, take me in your arms. I want to give all of myself, good and bad.

Rae: Any good advice you want to give to other artists?

Ivan: Don’t give up. Unfortunately it may take people a long time to realize the value in what you are doing. You have to see it yourself, and you have that be the sole guide for why you continue.

Rae: What type of music or bands are you listening to right now while making your pieces?

Ivan: ????

Rae: Tell us about new upcoming projects, solo/group shows, or trips you are working on.

Ivan: I’m working on publishing a talk Marcel Duchamp gave in San Francisco in 1949; also I’m currently writing for video work.

Rae: Finally, what do you do for fun? How do you relax?

Ivan: I go somewhere once a week with myself, it’s my way of taking care of myself. Almost always, I try to avoid it but all of my best ideas have come on these excursions. The idea is to have a good time and not work when I’m out on these excursions, and also I can’t bring anyone with me, it’s like tagging along with you and your Dad’s new girlfriend. It’s a way to reconnect with what I enjoy.

Rae: Last one. Favorite quote?

Ivan: “Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace, and power in it.” – Goethe

Rae: Thank you for the interview Ivan.

Here is Ivan’s performance video:


ivanbridges.com underconstruction…..e-mail at ivbridges@gmail.com for any inquiry at the moment

Ivan Bridges is an artist based in San Francisco, Ca.

I still remember last weekend!

Wondercon 2011

This was the first time ever that I’ve gotten a chance to make it to San Francisco’s comic convention since moving here.

I’ve been going to San Diego’s Comic Con for years and have been interested in checking out Wondercon at the Moscone Center South, April 1 to April 3. Although, to be honest Wondercon is nothing compared to the San Diego’s which is the original largest comic book and popular arts convention in the world!

But I’m so glad I got the chance to geek out and attend all 3 days here in San Francisco. It was fun, inspiring, and cute. I’ll definitely attend next year.

Wondercon is all about the endless costumes, fellow comic lovers, and special guests featured in spotlight panels… The greatest comic writers and artists alive today!

I tried to go to as many panels I could. Here’s a preview of the Wondercon trailer that was previewed during the “DC Icons” panel I attended on Sunday.

Friday and Saturday, I walked around with a few of my friends that came to visit from San Diego, also checking out the SF convention for the first time. We spent hours looking through comics, checking out the t-shirts, and seeing a myriad of people dressed up in costumes of all sorts.

video courtesy of http://www.youtube.com/user/MarkDayComedy

The highlight panel of Sunday was a spotlight on Tony Daniel, Batman artist and writer. He spoke about his creative process of both writing and drawing a comic book.

“DC Icons” showcased DC Comics’ top heroes. Artists Tony Daniel and Amy Reeder lead a discussion on the latest Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman news.

During another session, “Drawing DC”, artists Francis Manapul, Amy Reeder, and Jeremy Love all drew on the “Elmo”, a machine that projected their work onto a giant screen. Quite an in your face glimpse of the artistic process!

To top it off, I ended the beautiful night at a great concert with Shigeto, Mount Kimbie, Matthew David, and Blackbird Blackbird at the Mezzanine.

– Rae

Artlarking is Looking for Creative Directors!

 

Artlarking Multimedia is looking for  ambitious and talented Bay Area creatives to join our team of Intern Creative Directors. Positions are available beginning in early February and will last for a minimum of three months, with a good possibility of future contract work.

Intern Positions available:

  1. ●      Fashion/Jewelry Design Director
  2. ●      Culinary Arts Director
  3. ●      Film/Video Director
  4. ●      Music Director
  5. ●      Writing/Spoken Word Director
  6. ●      Dance Director – FILLED
  7. ●      Visual Art Director- FILLED Continue reading

The Rise of Collaborative Consumption, by Rachel Botsman

This video is from the What’s Mine is Yours blog by Rachel Botsman- she’s written a book of the same title, with the tagline “The Rise of Collaborative Consumption”, detailing the rise of sharing, trading, renting, and essentially wasting less, using the power of social media. Artlarking has recently updated our Collaborate section of the site to be more user friendly (seperate forums for every genre), using the same skill and resource sharing model. We encourage all Artlarkers to try out this section of the site! Post what you seek or have to offer to the community- call for collaborators on your project or offer your skills to others. Thanks for your support!

Monster’s Ball @ The SUB!

Mark your calendars! Friday, October 22 is Artlarking’s next show: Monster’s Ball @ The SUB! October and the change in seasons has brought with it a certain amount of monstrosity. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve noticed people all around me shifting into a mode of dissatisfaction with their current state of affairs, itching in their skin, feeling restless. Let’s use Monster’s Ball to get that energy out of us- dance it out, sing it out, shake it out, growl it out! Embrace the monster in you 🙂 Look forward to Monster Art, a Monster Dance Performance, a wild dance party, and live sax-backed karaoke by DJ Purple. It’ll be a graveyard smash. For sure. Dress in your finest monster or formal attire (preferably both: there will be a “Classy Monster Costume Contest”. $5 for those in costume, $10 for street clothes. The SUB is located at 17th and Capp in San Francisco. Party starts at 8. Hope to see you there!