In my last post Hello New Zealand I've introduced the New Zealand artist Jason Kelly to you. Jason Kelly creates very creative prints on recycled wood as this Kiwi Print I've bought in New Zealand. His work characterizes a unique and humorous combination of pop cultural, environmental, political and imaginary advertisement elements.
I had the opportunity to do an interview with Jason. He speaks about his bike and brush love, commercial art on recycled wood and his unqiue vintage word art style.
1. Hey Jason, can you introduce yourself and your work a little bit to us.
I'm JK Jason Kelly born 1971, I love my bikes as much as my brushes hence why I use a stamp of a bike to sign my work as I was really never very happy with my signature back in the early 2000's. My work is all original, hand painted on recycled wood which I used to collect from the local coastline where I lived when I first started painting this style back in 2001. Today I still use the beach as a source but also salvage yards.
2. How did you start your artist career?
Well I trained as a Signwriter back in the late 80's and was always artistic thru school and always had a pan and pen in my hand from a very young age. This style work evolved after returning home from Australia in 2001 when a girl I worked with exclaimed you could do that as an Art form after painting a vintage Ladies and Gents sign above the toilets in a Cafe where I worked.
3. What, to your mind, characterizes your work, what makes your work unique?
My work embodies a Vintage word art style inspired by the 50's and Vintage Signs. Humor is a big part of my work as I like to create Imaginary Companies as in my Orange Juice Company "Taking the Pith". The elements I use are recycled wood and often the work has a mix media/sculptural feel with added things I collect from second hand stores, old car parts etc.
4. How do you develop your ideas? Where do you get your inspiration from?
Gosh my ideas come thick and fast and I'm always filling note books with scribbles, the ideas can come from anywhere, especially taking words or phrases and putting a cryptic spin on them, or Taking the Pith out of Political or Environmental issues in the media.
5. Many of your prints have elements of Scrapbooking and Advertisement.
Yes, Advertising for sure as I love Fonts and anything old so its a combo of both, it was once summed up in a magazine where I've read the quote "commercial art is more genius the pure art, commercial art has to combine words with an image in a way that pure art doesn't".
6. What do you want to express with you work, e.g. the New Zealand or Aussie Series?
The main thing is to celebrate things that make the country, the people, things that remind them of the good old days with humor thrown in a unique style.
7. If you would have to design a print about Germany, what would it look like?
Well I have a really good German friend, she loves Beer, so do I, I like her humor and we have fun taking the Pith out of her accent, eg: Chicken = Shicken. Being an athlete the Germans have always impressed me with their Bike riding prioress and in many other sports and of course the design, manufacturing and engineering, so not sure how'd I'd combine all of that but I'd give it a crack!!
8. What do you like about your life as an artist?
Being able to do what I love, and I'm very thankful for that! I like to pay it forward where I can.
Thank you very much, Jason for the interview!