Last Leg of the Year of the Sheep

WOW okay just wrote a long, wonderful in-depth blog about all that's been going on in the past friggin' year of my artistic life.. damn.. okay.. gonna just pick it back up, maybe summarize a bit, fuck!!!!

Long story short.. 2015.. man, hard year! Emotionally, very trying. Artistically, incredibly productive. Spent a lot of time in my studio producing pieces I love and am happy to share, reluctant to sell, etc. 2015 saw my first dive into the world of collage as fine art, meeting and talking with Jay Riggio, member of the Brooklyn Collage Collective; exhibiting two collaborative pieces with Australian collage artist and member of the Sydney Collage Society, Chelsea Tuesday, at their December exhibition Cut It Out! I finally, after years of lusting after the space, the shows, the openings, reached out to Ayden Gallery here in Vancouver and was lucky enough to appeal to Ken (a big deal, in my mind, oy!!) - I had the opportunity to hang two new pieces, two of my favourite pieces to date, really, I Was A Teen-Age Computer and No Good Apples Left in Eden, in their annual Robots & Monsters show, October through November.

What's going on, now that the hellfire year of 2015 has come and gone? Ah, life is good! The two pieces I hung with Ayden in the fall landed me on the radar of gallery assistant and, now, curator, Genevieve Michaels, an incredible soul whose vision for a space where women become the masters of their own depiction has resulted in GAZE, a 12-woman show of which I am so SO honoured to be a part. I have ten pieces hanging on the walls at Ayden until February 7th, the opening last night was unreal. I highly suggest you find the time to check it out (Pandora Young's work alone, man, just go see it). 

Now that work for GAZE is wrapped up, I will turn my focus to Inner Landscapes, a two-man show planned for late April (venue tbd) with friend and fellow (incredible) artist Kazimir Simpson. Together we will address the disconnect between what one is feeling and how they are being perceived, playing with visual portrayals of emotion, etc. We've got some work to do, for sure, but I'm very excited for something a little more intimate.

Finally, I just want to give some credit to those who've been inspiring me lately. The world of collage as fine art is finally seeming to materialize around me - after the past year of looking to Brooklyn, Sydney and Austin for inspiration and artistic peers, it's great to see people popping up right here in Vancouver. This past Wednesday I was lucky enough to snag a seat - on the stairs, mind you - in the incredibly packed Blue Moon Theatre at the Shangri-La Hotel to hear Elizabeth Zvonar discuss her practice and her MASSIVE installation at Offsite, a 50-ft monster borne of a 10" analog collage. Thursday saw the opening of This Must Be the Place at Kafka's, a beautiful show of analog/digital hybrid collages by friggin' angel of a human Sarah Judge. Feeling really inspired, guys! So thank you!!

Stay tuned for all the goods coming up this year. I think it'll be a wonderful one.

Inspiration Abounds

Hi! Hello! Almost halfway through the "new" year, already, wow.. How did that happen..

2015 has been an absolute treat, thus far. Pleasantly, the inspiration and gusto that fills me each year at the tail end of December hasn't waned, and my productivity has been at an all-time high - and not just artistically, which is an added bonus. I've probably collected over 100 Life, National Geographic, and Equinox mags since late last year, my studio looks like the aftermath of a collage class of fifth graders, but damn! There's just so much there to use and I want to see it all, all of the time! It feels incredible!

As well as the general enthusiasm sparked by a beautiful happy new year in a city I love, surrounded by incredible human beings, I have a couple major landmark experiences to thank for my newest burst of inspiration: the first being my first time viewing a gallery exhibition dedicated almost entirely to collage art. Now that I've been gathering on my radar other artists working in the medium, I am more energized than ever to produce - however, most of those that I follow are situated on the east coast of the United States or Australia.. SO imagine my excitement upon hearing one of my favourites, Jay Riggio, had a show coming up in Seattle! Yessss! Without a second thought I took my girlfriend down to the city to visit Sticks & Stones Gallery in Ballard. You guys, it was incredible. The most beautiful sunshiney mid-March day, an empty gallery save for the curator Matt and his gorgeous dog, and walls covered in incredible and varied works of collage. Finally seeing these pieces in person was an invaluable experience to me. What looked so polished and exact online was now appearing to me very real: I could see the cut marks, I could see where Jay had carefully placed fragments of borders together to form a seamless frame. The attention to detail and the resulting seamlessness was (and is, always, in his work) amazing. Fellow exhibitor Tim Manthey's works were no less breathtaking, though they were infinitely different in composition and style. The surrealism and colour used in his pieces hit me hard and I hope you can see that seeping into my newest work. I hope it won't be long before I see more collage work being showcased in the Pacific Northwest.

The second energizing and inspiring experience to hit me this year was the roadtrip I took with my love of loves, Aaron, down to Austin, Texas. Though it was our third time making the pilgrimage to Austin Psychfest, this was by far our most relaxed and successful excursion. We planned better, we avoided larger cities, and we allowed ourselves time for hiking and exploring at every stop. As well as smaller state parks and local curiosities (the best being East Jesus at Slab City, Feather Falls in Oroville), we visited five or so National Parks, and all in all just took in as much natural wonder as could be crammed into a 17-day trip around the western half of the country. Needless to say, it was astonishing. The variety, the expanse, the otherworldliness of the landscape we observed fuelled the creative fire in me like nothing ever has before. The atomic and space-age imagery and the surrealism that has always popped up in my artistic output hand-in-hand with this new physical understanding of the reality of that "dream" only means bigger and better is coming. Look forward to larger scale pieces, more modern elements, and a sense of travel through time, space, and layers of reality.

Thanks for reading, you guys! I love you all!
Xoxo
J

PS:
See Jay Riggio's work HERE
See Tim Manthey's work HERE

 

Another New Year

Hi everybody! 

This is the first time I'm posting with the knowledge that this portfolio is being visited by people all over the world (yeah, I lurk my top referrers, I know y'all are coming from Romanian Vice and shit.. what!?) and I guess I should probably address this new phenomenon.

My last entry spoke a bit about how much of a struggle 2014 was for me as an artist. I had a lot of trouble getting myself going, and it wasn't until coming into a stack of 50 Life magazines dated between 1960 and 1965 that I was able to force myself to get down to business. Even still, with all of my materials in order, what really pushed me to get going was the exposure I received both from friends back home as well as from some of my favourite resources for contemporary art, Beautiful Decay and The Creators Project by Vice. Knowing that people are watching, interested, and inspired is huge. More than anything, this is what pushes me to create - the awareness that I can create a bit of a dialogue, or that I'm inspiring others to try new mediums. Furthermore, the latter half of 2014 saw my first efforts to search out fellow collage artists, and I'm so glad that I did. What I stumbled upon, most notably, was the Brooklyn Collage Collective: basically, a group of incredibly rad, talented artists working just the way I do and showing together, supporting each other, hosting and participating in shows both locally and worldwide. Damn. A dream, really. 

So, here I am, first couple weeks of 2015 under my belt, and feeling better than ever. It's going to be a productive year. Thanks so much for your interest and support, each and every one of you!

For those who might be interested in reading some words about what I do, here are the most notable of the features on Living Couch that have popped up recently:

Cheers babies, I love ya

 

Beautiful/Decay

The Creators Project by Vice

Creep Magazine (Brooklyn/Vancouver)

Verb Magazine (Saskatoon)

Dry Spell

Artistically drained for the majority of 2014, lacking inspiration, motivation, confidence.. all of the essential prerequisites to creating great art, that exciting surge of creative energy is at long last returning to me now in the last dregs of what was one of the most beautiful summers of my life. It's so easy to get caught up in the day-job, the commute, the Twin Peaks series, and to let the studio go untouched and unorganized. When I finally sat down to sort through my stack of magazine clippings, organizing them into subjects and backgrounds, reflecting on where they came from and how they relate to my experiences, it was like seeing each piece with a new understanding. I'd regained a sense of what I wanted to say, and how I could communicate ideas of.. essentially, dystopias. So expect to see a lot of new work touching on ideas of modern discomfort and unease.

Cheers, and thanks for sticking with me.

Xoxo
J

November

I've been seriously neglecting my blog as I continuously update and tweak the living couch website. Feels strange to write about something I don't really even have a proper understanding of - what do people care about, if anything, when it comes to my work?

I feel really lucky right now as I tack five new pieces onto my Mixed Media 2013 portfolio. It's been a busy year, I've had my share of ups and downs as I'm sure every one of us has, but I have to send some thanks out to the people and the COSMIC FORCES (forgive me) that led to my work being hung publicly for the first time in my life these past couple months. Space Babe Number One hung with Hot Art Wet City's "Boobies & Wieners" show throughout October (this piece was a commission whose purchase fell through - a good example of why you should never be too bummed if something doesn't sell), which led to Jacqueline Banz of Raw: Natural Born Artists contacting me and booking me to exhibit at the Vancouver showcase on November 22nd. The experience was incredible, the talent was unbelievable, spending the night with so many great friends, new and old, was perfect. It gave me a chance to learn and observe and of course I left inspired. The little taste of the art world this past year in Vancouver has given me is definitely fuelling the fire to keep working. 

So that's where I'm at! Stoked for a new year and all the opportunities it may bring.

Xoxo