Jake Watling, Sweetart Interview

Jake’s show is wrapping up at Swarm this week. click here for the link. I thought I would reprint the following from http://www.jakewatling.com

Jake Watling’s urban primitive paintings investigate themes of life and death, generational cycles, and rebirth from both his personal perspective as well as through a broader context. In composing his pieces, Watling refers to childhood memories, personal experiences, cities and streetscapes, his community, and a diversity of beliefs and rituals. An icon in African and Polynesian indigenous cultures repeats throughout Watling’s work to serve as a symbol of death, or tranformation to the next life. Jakes paintings, works on paper and used tire installation address death, rites of passage and mind reform. His work often integrates religious themes within an urban setting, and humorously plays with ideas of passive transformations, false selves and moral virtues.

Swee(t)Art artists Interview: Jake Watling
Nov. 2008

1. What is the next project you are working on?
A two person show with Jared Lindsay Clark at Swarm Gallery in Oakland.

2. Where do you live and do you want to live there?
I live in Berkeley, but I might be back living in Oakland soon. I like all of the Bay Area. If I didn’t live here I would probably live in New York.

3. Who is your favorite artist right now?
Too many great artists to choose just one. Banks Violette is doing some cool work right now. Basquiat and William H. Johnson have been two of my long time favorites.

4. What is the best show you have been to lately?
Vincent Van Gogh The Colors of the Night at MOMA

5. What is your favorite thing about the Oakland Art Scene?
The artists. Many of them help each other out in so many ways.

6. What is your least favorite thing about the Oakland Art Scene?
San Franicsco. Oakland gets overshadowed by the San Francisco art scene.

7. If you could label a movement taking place in the Oakland Art Scene right now, what would you label it? Who are your examples?­
I’m not sure. DIY? Seem like it’s always a DIY type of movement in the O.


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  • Moises Aragon

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