The enigmatic Jay Jacobs has been gracing the Augusta area with his artistic style for quite some time. At times he’s lived to his Yeti namesake and appears like a myth revealed, but look around and you’ll see his work in just about every place downtown. We’re lucky to have a few words from him, so prepare for him to rock your brain bucket for a bit.
If you had a dime for every skull you've painted, how much would that be and what would you buy with it?
I am sure I could fill a bathtub and buy everyone reading this an ice cream cone.
Who or what got you started on this madcap artistic adventure? Cause I want to shake their hand and give em a hi-five.
To encourage me to read my mom would buy me comic books and mad magazines. That coupled with a really short attention span in school led to volumes of spiral notebooks full of weird little drawings.
The origin of that style comes from when I was a little kid we would spend our summers in a fishing cabin out in the woods and to keep from getting scared of the dark, by the light of my night light, I would turn the knots in the pine walls into eyes and then build faces around them with my imagination. That process evolved into that particular style of painting. Most of the time it starts with an ellipse that becomes an eye and there are always lots of faces that look back to it's origin. Then typically I just start noodling around until more images start to appear.
I have referred to it as the approach to painting as problem solving because essentially you're making a mess and refining that mess until it makes sense. I have been working in this style for so long I really don't have to think about it while I'm painting and that is very cathartic.
It's like a deprogramming exercise.
Although, the realist paintings I've seen are a 180 from what we know of you, is this a passion to redefine yourself? Are you playing games with our minds!?
I have to work in different styles to maintain diversity and exercise the ability to use the specific skill set that is best for the style I'm working in. It makes me stop and think about what I'm doing. If I only worked in one or the other I think I would get into repetitive ruts and enjoy the process much less.
I enjoy having two paintings in my studio sitting next to each other that are completely different. There may be one I painted in big choppy strokes and another with tiny intricate brush strokes and finite lines. Maybe it's just to remind myself that I'm not one dimensional. Yet, I still have smart ass people condescendingly asked me "Why do you just paint those faces all the time?" I've learned to resist the urge to engage them in discussion about it. Now they just get a smile as I walk away from them.
Is there any importance in naming a finished work? Is it better for people to project their own interpretation, or vital that the artist remain in control of the underlying meaning?
I very rarely title anything. I feel like sometimes that amputates the ability for its meaning to change with the viewer. Not always, but a lot of times it just seems like an artist will title a painting with some cryptic or profound name in a pretentious asshole attempt to try to attach some wit or depth to a painting that can't pull it off of its own.
What are your thoughts on Augusta’s art scene and how it has been developing? What can we do to make it better?
If you could live in another artist’s skin other than your own, for just a bit, whose would you choose?
The first caveman to draw an animal with a piece a charcoal on the wall of his cave. Just to be able to turn around and see the reaction on the other knuckle draggers' faces when I blow their minds.
I don't know, I would love to see time lapse video from the Haunted pillars perspective.
I've seen you post a lot towards Free Art Friday, could you tell us a bit about it? What initialized it, and why people should be contributing to it right now?
Free art Friday is open to everyone except the person who tries to claim it as theirs. Essentially it's just a Facebook page that set up for people to post pictures of art that they have left out in the Augusta area for someone to find. Once that art is found hopefully the Finder will post a picture to let everyone know that it's no longer out there and then they can keep the art.
There are free art Friday groups all over the world( we have done a swap with free art Friday Albuquerque) and some of the art is amazing ,but I think Augusta can hold it's own compared to anyone. We have some talented makers.
What plans do you have down the road? More showings in Augusta, or are you going to travel out?
There is a lot of stuff happening.
Next First Friday 25 artists will have a show at the book tavern to celebrate the hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Alice in Wonderland, I'm working on pairing up some writers and artists for a project that I'm still trying to hammer details out on.
Art Bomba live painting events are happening more regularly which is really cool. One other cool development is there are plans for a community gallery.
Groundwork is still being laid for that but if it happens the benefits to our local arts community would be enormous.
Story time with the family.
You can find more of Jay's work for sale and to view, as well as see what he has coming up on his Facebook page Jay Jacobs Art.