Allow us to introduce you to J2ske (Q&A part one)

Allow me a moment to introduce you to... J2ske

What is your artistic discipline?
I am mainly a painter spreading my time between a studio practice and  larger scale wall works.

I also make some sculptural works and I run a branding company which works in everything from graphic design to full retail interiors, so a bit of a jack of all trades. I like to keep it interesting haha

What things do you not like to do in your art?
Ooh, that’s a good question…I have a fair aversion to appropriating anything too culturally significant, even though my work is all based on the reinterpretation of social and cultural imagery. I try to avoid deities and anything considered sacred, or more to the point anything I don’t really understand fully enough to be able to use without providing too much ambivalence to its meaning within the work. All the elements of my paintings are quite carefully considered, to create a larger more sophisticated dialogue, and some types of imagery lends itself to this better than others. Religious iconography and the like has too broad a base of understanding….what I am trying to get across could be lost because of a person’s own bias and pre conceived notion of a particular icon/image.

Also just anything overly extraneous to the work makes me lose interest pretty quickly. This is across the board, in my own work and in the work of others. I like work to be sharp, too much filler just dilutes the impact, so I’m fairly edit heavy…even when it concerns little accidents that occur that may look cool…basically if it detracts from the overall shit its gone.

What are you addicted to?
I really do have a tendency to get hooked on things and thrash them well out. In the sense of colour I’ve been the biggest fan of pink and green combos for ever. Its just a colourway that has always appealed to me. Although, some unusual colours have started sneaking in over the years. I like a pretty simple palette of mainly pastel colours because you can create such contrast, I suppose that’s a throwback to doing a lot of [graffiti] pieces in the past, you want that contrast so it pops.

My other big fascination is definitely in vintage imagery. You just cannot go past that period of post ww2 until maybe the Ronald Reagan days for the best imagery. Basically, pre computer graphics. The typography, the illustration, the design, even  the photos….just too fucking good. It’s great to reference all that stuff because it is still so timeless, and it’s been basically burnt into everyone’s subconscious so it speaks the closest thing to a universal language available.

What gives your art meaning?
Realistically, ANY creative process has meaning…at every step of the way. There’s an Idea, an Intention, an Effort and a result…then the viewer’s own meaning assigned to all that….You can presume that any of these steps or the sum of its parts all has SOME inherent meaning.

Maybe a bit too existential a question for this forum, or maybe [probably] I missed the point.

What is the most significant project or accomplishment that you’ve achieved in your career?
I have been fortunate enough [or just been around long enough] to have had many moments I would consider “crowning” accomplishments.

I have been Lucky enough to travel a lot for my work, met some of the most amazing people, a lot of whom have become lifelong friends, done some great projects Australia wide and been fortunate enough to have been able to paint some pretty public, large scale imagery.

I have also been fortunate enough to have worked with some government and community agencies to provide both arts and music workshops for at risk youth, senior citizens and many school students. Seeing your practice have a real life effect on someone else’s life is super fulfilling.

Finally I have my family which is a huge part of my practice funnily enough, having the ability to work for myself and to spend a fairly large amount of time with my daughter is amazing, that is probably the best part of my career, being on hand to watch all the things many parents unfortunately miss.

What are your thoughts on the Australian Industry?
I can’t really speak for the whole of the industry, I am probably not that connected to be able to comment on what happens behind the scenes everywhere, but in the microcosm my work exists in then I am fairly happy to be witnessing a massive shift in the whole paradigm of Street/graffiti art. There has been a huge increase in the public’s interest towards wall based  art works, and it has made it a viable industry to exist in, a far cry from even ten years ago when a free wall was like a treasured artifact that was to be tightly held.

I am often asked about competition amongst painters in this realm, and I always have to explain that the “competition” is more of a perception than a reality. More artists need to view these things from an abundance mentality, whereby each time a wall is painted, it opens up MORE opportunities because more people are made aware that this type of work exists and that it is available to the public. It seems counter intuitive, but making a market instead of joining one is always a smarter play, in my opinion.

In that sense the Industry is very healthy. I think now the onus is on the artists to push the boundaries, and to start using these sites as a point of conversation…to start a dialogue. There’s a lot of responsibility that goes with painting public work that I think is lost on some artists. Sure, something decorative is nice, but something that starts people thinking, and taking back their space, something that allows the audience to feel a sense of ownership of their environment…that’s truly where the power in the work lies.