Jason Parker is an artist originally from New Zealand that luckily for us, now calls Melbourne home. Although Jason primarily works in oils, he can often be found using and incorporating mediums such as aerosol, acrylic, pen and watercolour into his mix. He’s an incredibly humble, soft spoken man who allows his artworks to speak volumes.
His figurative style whose subjects often occupy a space not completely of this world being a recurring narrative in a majority of Jason’s work. He has traditionally worked across canvas, but has since then started moving his work outdoors and onto the streets. It’s interesting to see him bring this energy, along with his melting pot of aesthetics and influences and see it brought to life on a wall or large scale surface.
JUDDY – Hey Jason, I haven’t seen you around the studio lately, what have you been up to?
JASON – I know, I started out the year with a bunch of travel in which I completed a residency at Q bank gallery in Tasmania, as well as visiting my wife’s family in South Africa for the first time. Lately, I have taken a quick breather to brainstorm and play around with ideas and mediums before I get stuck into my next body of work (which will be shown at Juddy Roller in March 2018). On top of all that I’ve been busy painting murals and sign writing. I definitely plan on spending the rest of this year in the studio a whole heap more.
JUDDY – Ah nice, now I see why. You’re from Nz right? When and what brought on this move over the ditch?
JASON – I moved over five and a half years ago. I was a junior graphic designer at the time and was totally over it. My wife was also in a bit of a rut at her job so we just decided to change things up completely and move countries.
JUDDY – Change is good! Are you a Night owl or an early bird?
JASON – Mostly an early bird, when I am in the studio I’m often the first person there. I feel like I’m super productive until the early afternoon then it’s a gradual downhill from there. In saying that though at least once a fortnight I will pull a super late night drawing session, it’s the best time to get some good thinking done.
JUDDY – What’s your drink of choice?
JASON – $1 coffee from 7/11 and $8 to $10 bottles of red wine. Can’t go wrong with either. Espresso martinis for the guilty pleasure.
JUDDY – I respect that a lot. You’re more well known for your paintings on canvas, but have started moving your art onto the streets- is this an exciting stage for you? How are you finding the increase in scale?
JASON – I love the increase in scale, you get to open up more and it’s super freeing in comparison to a smallish oil painting. Also, I feel that with my studio work there is this need for them to be part of a continuous story where the works on the street definitely feel like a more stand alone one off pieces which I really like.
JUDDY – How long have you worked with Juddy Roller for?
JASON – I actually can’t remember exactly how long, it’s been a little while. I look up to the work that Juddy does and the artists they work with, and for it to be my second home and to have had the opportunity to work with them on a handful of projects is super humbling.
JUDDY – The feeling is mutual! How would you describe yourself as an artist?
JASON – One of the few things I feel comfortable saying without doubt is that I am extremely hardworking and have crazy stamina. I’m always cracking my own whip, inspiration or not. Apart from that I’d say I’m fairly lead by instinct, I’m forever playing with different techniques and mediums and always emotive. I’m a man of few words so often the only way I can express what I feel, experience and see is through my art.
JUDDY – Where did the artistic side begin for you?
JASON – As a child. I was an only child so I’d occupy myself with cartoons and drawing, I dreamt of being an animator. I strayed from the path as I got a bit older for various reasons and came back to art in my mid-twenties as an outlet and just never stopped.
JUDDY – Do you have a formal art education?
JASON – Only in graphic design.
JUDDY – Are there any particular themes or cultures that influence your aesthetic?
JASON – Expressionism, the old masters, Japanese and Balinese art. But honestly, I find inspiration in almost all forms of art and expression.
JUDDY – Tell us about your process? Is there much planning that goes into each piece or do you enjoy building it as you go?
JASON – Definitely both. I almost never go in completely blind but I always leave a decent amount of room to move and to let whatever I’m feeling in the moment take the reigns for awhile.
JUDDY – Your subjects quite often if not always contain people or portraits, why is this so important to you?
JASON – I love the way a portrait or a figure can carry so much emotion. It’s also something we can connect with instantaneously as fellow humans.
JUDDY – They are also done in such an intense style, which really grabs your soul and makes you feel what the subject is feeling, is this your intention?
JASON – For sure. When I paint people there are a few things going on at a deeper level. There’s usually a dichotomy going on between capturing what makes up the individual I’m painting but they also become a catalyst for me to inject my own emotions into the painting.
This is something I’m really trying to dial up at the moment, I’m not so interested in realism anymore (even though my style was never true realism) I want to paint thoughts and feelings more than just what we see.
JUDDY – What’s the weirdest commission you’ve ever had.
JASON – I can’t say cause if they read this I’ll be screwed haha I did paint a mural in a home once where the 3-year-old literally asked every 20 seconds “what ya doin’?”
JUDDY – Haha fair. Do you have any secret talents?
JASON – Ha, I often joke with my wife that I’m fucked because the only thing I’m any good at is art… I guess given that I have a terrible memory I somehow retain the most ridiculous pop culture info.
JUDDY – Well, at least you’re really good at art. What are your creative plans for the future?
JASON – As said before I have a solo show coming up at Juddy which I’m really looking forward to. I just want to keep painting, getting bigger and better and exploring as much as I can with paint.
JUDDY – Final question, what would be your dream project to work on?
JASON – So hard to narrow it down to just one. I’d love to do a 6 to 12-month road trip somewhere where I rock up and paint whatever walls I can get my hands on while at the same time work on a small show of gouache paintings on the go.
I’d also love to have a large budget show where my only limitation was my imagination, I hate having to reign in my ideas because of financial limitations!
JUDDY – Simple pleasures hey! Well thanks for hanging out Jason, it has been a pleasure working with you once again. Keep on keeping on mate!