Interview with Jason Shawn Alexander by Coates and Scarry

Q: Tell us about your paintings?
I’m horrible with that. I’d have to take the standard response of, “What do you think?”

Q: What comes first for you, colour or form?
Subject matter. Then form. I’m not much for colour in my own work. It accentuates, but isn’t necessary in the work I do. I like muted tones. The main goal is subject and how far I’m going to take it. Colour comes in as a second sense.

Q: I see struggle in your pieces, is that true?
In the subject? I’m sure you see some. Even with single figure pieces the subject is battling with something. Maybe because I rarely have a second to myself where I’m not constantly struggling or trying to figure some problem out. It’s all I know or at least all that interests me in my painting.

Q: Where are you from?
Portland, Tennessee.

Q: Did you go to art school?
No. Though I did work along side of a few older, more experienced artists in my twenties and that taught me a lot.

Q: What do you think art can do for the world?
What it’s always done. Provide a visual history and an escape from reality. Art will always exist. We, even as human beings, have always needed something more than survival and procreation. We’ve always taken a moment to notice or do something beautiful. I just want to be a big part of that.

Q: How do you see the state the world is in today?
Based on my last answer, the current state of the world is that it needs more art, especially in the US. There’s so much subconscious hatred and prejudice bubbling to the surface right now. People are marching against their own best interests out of fear and propaganda. The world is angry and scared right now. Everyone needs to take a step back and breathe.

Q: What is your Favourite medium?
Pen and ink. It’s direct and it’s bold. For me it’s a little more than painting and definitely more than pencil drawing. There is something to that organic black line. It allows for the crispness of an image while still letting you flow.

Q: Favourite place you have travelled to and why?
Italy, because…… it’s Italy.

Q: What are your hopes for the future?
To keep pushing myself.

Q: What do you listen to when you are working?Mostly old Mississippi Delta Blues, nothing sets my mood better. A lot of Tom Waits and Billy Holiday as well, but also Beethoven and the band, Tool. Whatever makes me feel something genuine.

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