Artist Decoded: Jesse Draxler - "Tire Fire + Developing a Point of View"

"Jesse Draxler is an artist best known for his collage and mixed media works, though with his new exhibition "Tire Fire" we find him returning to the medium that sparked his love of image making, drawing. As a child growing up in rural Wisconsin Draxler drew incessantly. Being that his father was a mechanic he would spend hours upon hours drawing cars, trucks, and engine parts. Later in adolescence, his attention changed as circumstances became bleak.

Draxler’s mother was in a near-fatal car accident when he was nine. Upon her recovery, over a year later, his parents were divorced. His mother, whom he was now living with, soon remarried. Then just months after the wedding she was ran over and killed by her new husband in his truck, an event to which he arrived just moments later.

In the following years, Draxler states that he barely remembers a thing. These times of pervasive uncertainty and loss changed him forever and his focus shifted to much darker interests. He was always an outcast from his peers, but from this time on Draxler leaned into his outsider lot in life. It wasn’t until almost two decades later that he began to see a light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

Themes of bewilderment, isolation, ambiguity, and absurdity are all strongly represented in Draxler’s work, along with frustration and aggression. Yet these are not endpoints but have rather become the in-roads to deeper understanding and acceptance. It is clear he has spent the better part of his life straddling the line between fear and ecstasy, the beautiful and the grotesque. The result is Draxler’s unique ability to present a point of view in which the subtle nuances of the human condition are concisely illuminated, satisfying a psychological and emotional itch that so seldom gets scratched."

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Talks about his show TireFire
  • Containing multitudes
  • Finding the balance between commercial work and personal work
  • Developing a point of view
  • Susan Rothenberg
  • Viewing the entirety of your life as an artistic practice
  • Listening to music as a tool for creating art
  • Billy Corgan
  • “The Inner Game of Tennis” by Timothy Gallwey
  • The intersection of physical activities and artistic practices

www.jessedraxler.com