How did your artistic journey start, Jack?
I was initially enchanted by bookmaking, and specifically artist books. It appeared to me as the most graceful pathway to exalt and celebrate the complexity of my versatility, rather than fighting a futile battle in favor of the cohesive. Books allowed me to navigate an array of themes, diverse forms and materials. They also created a ritualistic monthly practice which was life-changing.
How did you arrive at the theme of your work?
By finding black and white photographs and seeking to infuse these forgotten faces, otherwise confined to dusty boxes in the attics, with a newfound sense of memory and identity. My work ventures into the realms of loss, memory, and identity, weaving a delicate tapestry that evokes simplicity and invites storytelling around a flickering campfire. The essence of my artistic expression finds a voice in the profound dialect of the collective unconscious.
Can you walk us through your creative process?
My Remnants on display at the gallery are a testament to the intricate journey of staining, dyeing, and transforming papers destined for my artist books. The very essence of my creative process lays in the act of infusing objects with black tea, flowers and the warm embrace of weathered, rusty elements, all meticulously bound with twine. These bundles, like rusty parcels frozen in time, unveiled the mesmerizing beauty of their sculptural essence and were purposefully sealed and destined to remain unopened, as an eternal testament to the wonders of this artistic process.
How has your practice changed over time?
My practice resides in perpetual metamorphosis and unceasing evolution. While the core themes that captivate my soul remain steady, their expressions manifest in a constant dance of transformation. One constant in this ever-changing landscape is the intentional sourcing of objects with a preexisting story, versus brand-new or factory-made supplies. This deliberate choice infuses my work with the resonance of untold stories and the profound weight of history. My creative journey has transcended paper collages, incorporating an array of small objects within mixed media works, and ultimately blossoming into the art form of assemblage and visual storytelling. Ultimately I strive to evoke ever-deepening emotions within those who encounter my work.
How do you overcome creative blocks?
Nature, with its awe-inspiring splendor, is my ultimate muse, effortlessly banishing creative blockages. Surrounding myself with newly found objects and observing them with wonder-filled eyes also usually sparks inspiration. Within the sanctuary of my studio, I delight in the ritual of crafting an altar where my found objects and nature treasures harmoniously coexist. The act of switching up and rearranging elements on this altar seems to also revitalize creative energy.
Who influences you? Which other artists work do you love?
I am inspired by creators with a vision. I always held a deep affinity to Joseph Cornell, whose artistry resonates within me on a profound level. Additionally, I find myself viscerally connected to the expressions of queer artists Derek Jarman and Robert Rauschenberg, and their mixed media works on canvas, adorned with rust, stains, and discarded objects. Also Boltansky, Beuys, On Kawara, Cy Twombly, and Fred Otnes have left an indelible imprint on me, guiding my exploration of mixed media and storytelling through discarded fragments.
What advice would you give to artists who are just starting out?
I think regardless of the amount of time available, the key is to consistently show up, establishing a dedicated practice that becomes a source of inspiration and growth. Granting yourself grace in the creative process is also essential, embracing both successes and setbacks as part of a transformative path.
Is there anything else you would like people to know about your work or your experiences as an artist?
As my journey continues to evolve, I have begun sharing my little knowledge and insights through classes. Offering others a way to explore and develop their own creative vision is a generous and empowering act, which fosters a sense of community and belonging.
See Jack’s work at our Summer Show, running at Six Foot Gallery until 6th July 2023.