veilCH.89: If you were to categorize or describe the style of your artwork, what would it be and why?

JO: It probably owes a debt to both surrealism and dystopian sci-fi aesthetics. I don’t want to pin it down any more than that.

CH.89: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

JO: Other artists, both contemporary and not. Films and novels. Pretty much everything I’m looking at or thinking about filters in somehow.

CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about what your creative thought process is like when starting a new project/ piece of artwork?

JO: I usually have a vague idea of what I’m trying to make, but it’s different for different projects. The paintings I’ve been making lately are essentially still-lifes, so the starting process is one of accumulation and arrangement rather than drawing.

CH.89: Is there anything in particular that you would want people to take from your artwork?

JO: Not in particular, I want to make things that are worth returning to, that change on repeating viewing. If someone can see something that I was thinking about but couldn’t put into words, I’m happy.

CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about your lifestyle as an artist and what that is like

JO: I have a day job, so it’s a bit of a juggling act. I do get to meet interesting people and have great conversations, and traveling for shows or residencies can be very rewarding. The art world is a complicated place, but I can’t give it up.

CH.89: When starting out an artistic task, do you think it is better to have a particular direction/set plan guiding your way? Or, is it better to act on impulse and go from there?

JO: I imagine it’s different for each artist, but I like to have a loose vision, a starting point that I’m not too committed to, because the work always ends up being something else.

CH.89: What is one major lesson you’ve learned as an artist thus far?

JO: It’s a cliché, but to be willing to fail and keep just making the work even if it’s bad. You have to get through the bad stuff to get to the good, and honestly I sometimes can’t tell if a piece is any good until months or even years later.

CH.89: Do you regard personal style & taste to be of highest importance?

JO: Like how I dress? Not really. For the work yes, but it should be in service of the idea or feeling embedded in the work, and not the other way around.

CH.89: What do you consider to be the hardest thing about being an artist?

JO: Time management. Getting the work/life/art balance right seems impossible.

CH.89: What is one thing you love about being an artist?

JO: Being in the studio when something is really just clicking is an amazing experience. It has to be earned though.

CH.89: Is there anyone in particular, any artist’s that inspire you in any way?

JO: Too many to name. I try to see a lot of shows, in person if possible and online if not. I recently got a massive Neo Rauch book that I’ve been spending some time with. I’ve also been looking at Nick van Woert’s website and a book of Max Ernst collages that I’m obsessed with.

CH.89: What do you think of technology in terms of being a useful tool for artists today?

JO: It’s incredibly useful, but also dangerously seductive in that the love of gadgets/gear/code can divert the creative process into generating geeky yet ultimately boring work.

CH.89: Do you think being an artist allows you to view the world differently from those who don’t follow creative paths?

JO: Absolutely. What you do with your time clearly affects your framework for making sense of the world, really everything.

CH.89: Do you enjoy traveling? If so, do you have a favorite city?

JO: Yes and I wish I had the time and money to travel more. I love a lot of cities, but probably Paris.

CH.89: Do you have a favorite author or book?

JO: The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. Not all of his books are perfect, but this one is.

CH.89: Any future goals or plans for your artwork?

JO: Yes many but I don’t want to jinx them.

CH.89: What does being an artist mean to you?

JO: It means that you’re trying to distill something real and communicable from the miasma of being alive at whatever time and place you find yourself. It’s a search for meaning outside of language.

CH.89: Any last words on the aesthetic of your artwork?

JO: Aesthetic properties should be emergent, if I’m making honest work (and I try to) then the aesthetic should somehow reflect my unique experience of being in the world.


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