february 12, 2017
boone, north carolina
Ava: Are you a cat or a dog?
Jason: It’s not always popular opinion, but I’m a cat.
Ava: As in, not everyone would agree that you’re a cat, or not everyone likes cat people?
Jason: I feel like dog people are pretty prejudiced against cat people.
Ava: That’s true. And I feel like cat people don’t really have anything against dog people.
Jason: Yeah, I love dogs and I love dog people. I just think there’s something really special about cats, that I very much relate to, and I feel like cats relate to me in a very similar way. I feel like our personalities are a lot alike. I very much like to do my own thing and I’m very happy just being alone.
Ava: I feel that. It’s nice to have this conversation when there’s a cat in the room, too.
Jason: When I moved in here, the dog--and the dog has been abused, it was a rescue--the dog absolutely hated me so much but the cat loved me so much and would want to sleep with me every single night.
[cat leaves the room]
Jason: She’s blushing.
Ava: What’s your studio beverage of choice?
Jason: It’s pretty exclusively some form of seltzer. Most people that are close to me say, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you drink normal water”--
Ava: I’m almost at that point.
Adele: Yeah, same.
Jason: The guy who owns this house is about to install a seltzer tap on the fridge, so--unlimited seltzer at all times.
Adele: Whoa, that’s a dream come true!
Ava: You’re gonna be living large.
Jason: Right now, I’ve even gotten to the point where I drink my coffee with seltzer. So, it’s cold brew and seltzer.
Adele: What! I’m excited to try that.
Ava: What’s your fav flavor of seltzer?
Jason: Well, I really love Pure. I took the internet test one time to find out what flavor of La Croix I am, and I got Pure.
Ava: What is your morning ritual?
Jason: I wake up, I get coffee with seltzer, I take a shower, and then, unless I have to be somewhere, I usually immediately try to start painting or making work, whether it’s drawing or writing. That’s one of the first things I do. I try to start every day that way.
Ava: How does your writing and your drawing feed into painting?
Jason: I feel like it’s all one thing. I’m starting to research the idea of the painter as designer, and I think pretty much what I do is constantly create so I have material to use in any capacity. I feel like it all eventually comes together, and I see things I do in my paintings and posters and zines overlap. A lot of it is based in reading and writing. Last year one of my goals was to read, write, draw, and paint, every day.
Adele: That’s really nice.
Jason: I still try to do it. I mean, there are definitely days I don’t hit them all, especially reading. Reading is one of my favorite things and where I get most of my inspiration from, but with schedules it’s just--
Ava: Do you have a favorite genre that you read? I mean, we can see all your beautiful art books.
Jason: I have a lot of friends in the literary world, I guess? And they make fun of me cuz I only read dead people. But, I love pulp and I love weird shit. I do read a lot of art theory books. So, pulp--I guess pulp would be my favorite, as far as fiction goes, although I do read a lot of the most pretentious classic literature--it’s embarrassing. Like, if people talk about it for 200 years, there’s gotta be something good about it.
I don’t have a lot of time to waste just on someone that just released a book that might not be good. Although I do read contemporary stuff, too.
Ava: Do you read poetry at all?
Jason: Yeah. I hesitate to talk about it because I’m not great at understanding it, so--
Ava: But you enjoy it?
Jason: Yeah, that’s one thing that plays a really big role in my writing and stuff is poetry that influences me. A few years ago I had this realization--I think it was just like, part of growing older--that I talked a lot about stuff I knew nothing about, and it really bothered me, so some of the stuff I was really interested in that I talked a lot about, I decided to actually start really trying to learn about instead of just being like, “oh yeah I know that.” So poetry is a big part of that.
Ava: So, kind of like a learning process?
Jason: It’s definitely not something I’m naturally able to understand and I have to really try to get into it.
Ava: What is the benefit of living and working in rural North Carolina? What drew you here? Can you talk about your connection to this place, to Boone?
Jason: That’s a really big topic for me right now. I was trying to decide between here and NC State, and I’m more focused in print design and there was kind of a renaissance of book and print design happening [at Appalachian State], so I decided this would be the best place for me.
When I was moving up here I was talking to my dad and he like, “well maybe you would just want to stay?” And I was like, “Absolutely not, there’s no way, there’s no way I would want to stay there,” and probably six months in I was like, I could live here if there were jobs. Especially with some of the traveling and stuff I’ve done recently I’ve realized that there’s an incredible artistic community here where, because it’s such a small community, people are so supportive of everyone making stuff and trying to make cool things happen on so many levels. I have the older elite of the university helping me while I’m also working with the young DIY kids that are trying to do stuff in the music scene so I’ve had this opportunity to bridge gaps here, whereas in other communities I’ve lived in, there’s no connection between those communities.
Also, so much of my practice comes from a meditative state, and I’m very easily distracted when I’m in big cities. I want to see and do it all, but it’s really nice being in a place where nothing’s going on, or not too much is going on--where you can really decide what it is you want to take away from your practice.
Robert Motherwell moved his studio from Soho to Bridgeport, Connecticut because people would always get mad at him if they invited him to a party. When he lived in New York, he would say, “I can’t come, I’m working tonight,” and they would get so mad at him. So, he moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut, and when they asked he’d be like, “I’m out of town,” and they would be ok with that. He said something like, “it’s ridiculous because working is one of the most important things in the world, whereas traveling is no big deal at all, so why people get offended by having to work….”
Ava: How do you use photography, or what’s your photography practice like for you?
Jason: It’s just another way of collecting for me, I think. I never consider myself a photographer, but I do take photos all the time. It’s that same idea of collecting moments and compositions and different things and gathering more material for me to use at a later time period. It’s the idea of the entire life being the work of art.
Ava: How does intimacy play into your vision of romance?
Jason: I think one thing that’s very important to me and that I think is very intimate is being completely transparent, and so I try to be very honest. And that’s even just in the sense of like, I try to be honest in my everyday life with everything I do, and that goes for my artwork or anything. So, that’s something so I look for in a romantic relationship, is this give and take of honesty and transparency, and I think that’s really more intimate than anything. But as far as physical intimacy--I’m very much a visual person, and so that plays into my vision of romance. I fall in love with different things all the time.