It’s almost showtime for Jack, one of the chosen for the “Artisans in the Secret Garden” show tomorrow Saturday, an all-day Artown event showcasing the work of local artists, clothiers and jewelry makers.
At his corner space at the 2nd street Potentialist Workshop, Jack, who says he likes to “pop color wheelies”, and who was encouraged to become a painter after being a local theater revelation, is figuring out logistics and which of the eight to 12 pieces he says he will be displaying.
Known by friends for his unique, self-taught paintings, full of dazzling color combinations and Swiss cheese cut out canvasses as well as his way with words, Jack shared some of his philosophies of life and lessons learned from painting for the past “four and half years” with Our Town Reno.
Any pre-show nerves?
“Oh no, I’m fully open to it. I’m really going to show the world what I am capable of. It’s really nice. They deserve this… I’ll be bringing some cosmological etchings and actually entire ages frozen in time. What else? And some minimal pieces. I hear people sometimes like minimal things. I used to be a minimal criminal, until that name got taken off the Internet.”
How would you describe your style as artist?
“This has been an exploration of technique revealing itself while I’m able to be patient. This is the first time I’ve had a relationship in the physical world where there’s been tangible results, I think. Although the jury is still out on that. I play music but this seems to be easier on people. Imagine what this sounds like, it might be too much."
Some of your pieces have cutouts on the edges. What’s the idea there?
“I’m trying to emulate time-coded tablets. I’m actually trying to throw lines of totems and tikis. I grew up in Hawaii and spend a lot of time in Pyramid Lake, and I’ve been exposed to human spirit aspects. I’m trying to let my DNA breathe those experiences. I’ve also gone to Burning Man quite a number of years and that city taught me how to throw a line. I have to throw a line where I do my art that would fit in the pantheon of that city of how much beauty I’ve been shared with. I have to fire back or else I am not doing what an artist should. And also, you could strap (my paintings) to anything in Burning Man and get shade. That’s also why the design is cut out. You can rope them. You can tape them. You can clip them. They’re made for function. They can be cheese trays. You know people eat cheese."
How does painting help you?
"The frozenness, to have that one moment of frozen is kind of important in this day and age as we see image upon image upon image. We’re just inundated with images. Me having a relationship with a frozen moment is something that my soul hasn’t been able to find in another place and it’s kind of nice to be helped in this way. I never imagined it. I’ve lost weight though since becoming an artist. I even lost 30 pounds at one point, but I've regained some."
Is it really difficult to be an artist?
As an artist, they’re not kidding. They’re the lowest rung on the ladder of society for a reason. They just couldn’t make it as humans. That’s really the only reason I became an artist. I couldn’t make it as whatever is going on around here. But these four and a half years, I’ve learned what an artist is not. Maybe after a couple more months, maybe I’ll learn what an artist is. I’ve been stretched to my limits. I’ve lost everything, but it’s ok. There’s no other way out.
The free to access Saturday July 9th Artown event Artisans in The Secret Garden will be from 9 am to 4pm at 751 Marsh Ave. Reno, NV 89509.
Note: Questions and answers were trimmed. Interviews and photos for Our Town Reno on July 8, 2016.