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

Artist Decoded: John Kilar on "Nomadic Living + The Flow State"

"Photographer John Kilar’s site will tell you, simply, that he is a nomad. Portraits and landscapes by Kilar will show you that too, with a raw presentation of untamed characters and equally wild and beautiful locations. Variety does not shake the colorful, documentary aesthetic that is true to his photos, which show a curious admiration for each subject.

John Kilar’s images can be found in Oyster Magazine, VICE, Dazed & Confused, Purple Fashion, and DIS Magazine. His client list includes Heineken, Urban Outfitters, The Cobra Snake, and several other lifestyle-saavy brands which Kilar worked with while living in Venice Beach, California."

Text by Linnea Stephan @ Juxtapoz

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • His journey into a nomadic lifestyle
  • Synchronicities
  • Following your bliss
  • Deactivating technology to be more focused on the present moment
  • Expanding consciousness
  • Identity
  • Having empathy towards others

www.johnkilar.com

Artist Decoded: "It All Comes Full Circle" with Michelle Groskopf

Originally hailing from Toronto, Canada, Michelle Groskopf is a Los Angeles based photographer. Her work is a mix of photo journalism, portraiture and street photography. She holds a BFA in film and video production from the School Of Visual Arts in New York where she also taught as an adjunct professor in the graduate film and video dept. She is a member of the celebrated flash photography collective Full Frontal Flash. Michelle is dedicated to empowering youth through photography and education initiatives working with the Lucie Foundation, Educare and Youth Arts to inspire the next generation of photographers and artists. Her work has been shown around the world and featured in publications such as The British Journal Of Photography, American Photo, The Huffington Post, Vice Magazine and It’s Nice That, among others. Her clients include, Refinery 29, Bloomberg Businessweek, Vice Magazine, Marie Claire France, Aftenposten, and Stern Magazine. Her first monograph is being published by The Magenta Foundation and will be released in the fall of 2017. 

Topics Discussed In This Episode:

  • Making thematic work
  • Her early life/work as a filmmaker and producer
  • How she became a photographer
  • Visual iconography
  • Outside forces polluting ideas
  • Her experiences living in Hollywood
  • The path of least resistance
  • Physical and emotional stress
  • Larry Sultan
  • Thinking about life as a marathon as opposed to a sprint
  • Changing the idea of success
  • Romanticizing the artist lifestyle
  • Seeing the light at the end of a dark and hopeless tunnel
  • Looking at other mediums of art for inspiration
  • Over intellectualizing artwork
  • The “Full Frontal Flash” photography collective
  • Finding a community

Michelle Groskopf - Instagram