Interview by Ryan Morris
An artist living in Hill Stuy, Brooklyn, a fading crack head neighborhood down the street from where Ol Dirty Bastard grew up.
I'm turning 30 this month on the very last day of July. I grew up in rural Vermont, a place called the North East Kingdom. I never really went to art school. All I have is a GED somewhere in a drawer.
Yes and No. Artists have to figure things out for themselves at any rate. The internet is a raging field of knowledge and the real world is a theater to perform in. Art school also seems too expensive to me. For the money spent someone could just as well purchase or set up their own facilities on a much more private scale and source professional consultations. Imagine what you could do with one semesters tuition on your own, cash in hand.
I sincerely believe in pirating your education really. Once, maybe ten years ago, I pretended to be a student at the Museum School for nearly a year, taking out expensive camera equipment and trying to weasel into any classes I could. The faculty was absolutely pissed when they caught me. I say, find the college courses of your choice, get ahold of the curriculum and then explore the material on your own. That's my advice. If you're motivated enough, you'll save thousands of dollars.
At the moment, Airbrush.
The airbrush allows me to work fairly quickly. I do everything freehand with an arbitrary, hysterical style. Like a blown out photo or watercolor. I've always been big into pencil work on paper, mostly because of the control involved, but I burned out on drawing last year and made the switch. I like that it allows me to be more productive.
For sure, I really love the juxtaposing cultures and styles everywhere. New York City has everything. Anyone can drive or bike through brooklyn, queens, or manhattan from top to bottom and see so many different ethnic neighborhoods and cultures. Its a poor mans vacation. I sometimes find my ideas from wandering about. I want to get a Tzitzis vest like the Hasid's wear and paint a chinese dragon on the back with my name in script.
JKF airport, I always tell people that. I love knowing that on a whim I can go anywhere in the world with the right means.
My search for a sense of anomaly.
I have a serious affection for books. I write in the evenings after painting or when I'm traveling. I love to write on long flights or sitting on a train. The stories I write are heavily autobiographical or twists of past experiences. My grandfather inspired me to be a story teller. He had the best shit to say when I was growing up, hilarious anecdotes from the sixties and seventies.
When I was maybe 7 or 8 years old, Gramps bought a school bus. He had gotten a bunch of high school kids to paint it black, paying them with a couple cases of beer. Mistake. The kids all got drunk and accidentally tried driving over a stone wall which left the bus teetering like a see-saw. Gramps got out the tractor to pull it back off. After that episode, my Mom spray painted neatly the Olympic Rings on the side with the text: "U.S. DRINKING TEAM". We took family outings to the lake in that bus for a whole summer. Most of the seats inside were gone so that there was room for booze and the canoe.
I doubt that I could get away from visual art enough to try and make a living at it. I'd like to publish a couple novels and a book of short stories at some point. We'll see.
I tried writing my first book in sixth grade but I only typed some thirty pages before the story collapsed. I didn't know how to create the outline first. I've been inspired off and on ever since but now I'm taking it seriously again. The line between fiction and non-fiction doesn't interest me all that much. The only thing fictional that I might skew in a story is what a character might say or be thinking, the events are usually always real.
I've two projects under way at the moment. "Waking Up In My Car" - The misadventures of myself living in a car as a teenager, driving around the country consorting with hippies, ex-cons, vagabonds, and Native Americans. It's a schizophrenic coming of age tale.
The other project is called "Crack Head Castle" - A sitcom / tragedy about the drug den across the hall from my apartment with all the street urchins it attracts. Whiskers, Squeaky D, Ski-Mask (a burn victim), etc.. They're all crazy and wonderful, I know them all pretty well from being home a lot. The story is a philosophical quip about lifestyle, fashion, addiction and the economy, based on this disparate group of individuals who exist at the fringe of todays society. It all escalates into a riot on the Fourth of July.
The show is called Black Acid Co-op, Justin Lowe and Jonah Freeman are the two main artists. They are the same guys who created "Hello Meth Lab in the Sun" last year at the Ballroom space in Marfa, Texas. They also did a smaller installation for Art Basel Miami, last December. I was helping out on the construction side of things, helping to put together the labyrinth of cinematic rooms at Jeffery Deitch's Wooster Space. When they found out that I was handy with the airbrush they asked me to help create part of the show, a collection of pornographic t-shirts to be worn as part of a performance of "A Season in Hell" by Arthur Rimbaud. The concept was actually more central to the show at first but time ran out to organize the performance, we instead installed the shirts appropriately enough among the bootleg pharmaceutical drugs, aphrodisiac roots and crystals down in the Chinatown bazaar.
It's not something that I would have pursued on my own, the collection of some thirty shirts belong to Black Acid Co-op, now. However, pornography is something that every artist seems to dabble with at one point or another. Ten years ago, it was a heavy aspect of my work. Getting back into the groove wasn't too hard, I really enjoyed the chance to try a new medium, t-shirts, and run with the direction: "Nasty as you can, Jason." You can see the better half of the collection online, I made a site for them - pussybreath.net
Justin Lowe and Jonah Freeman and a team of a dozen or more interns working long hours everyday. The project consumed three months start to finish and roughly 5000 square feet, its now a full on experience to check out.
Car hoods and at least six new surprises.
Wow, I could really go door to door on this one, there's so many artists I like. Recently, I've become inspired on the work of Roger Ballen. I love the psychological nature of his photographs.
"Don't worry about quality, think about quantity, that will make all the bullshit go away..." - Peter Schuman, founder of Bread and Puppet Circus. - Glover, Vermont.
I'm already a cat: Black Jaguar.
Think with your fingers.
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