Jason Osborne’s first solo show, Tragedy Strategy, was on view at The Journal Gallery in Williamsburg, NY in February. Here Osborne conducts an interview with himself.
Jason: Hey Jason what are you up to right now?
Osborne: Not much, interviewing myself.
J: Really? Weird.
O: Not really.
J: Are you nervous?
O: Not really, I feel oddly prepared.
J: As you should. But let’s talk about your images. There seems to be a wide array of subject matter in your work, small stuff on paper with boob clouds, and larger paintings of spider webs and Cyclops symphony conductors? What’s that all about?
O: There are a lot of answers to that question. The first being that I am the one making the stuff and I have to stay excited about it and interested, so I end up hopping around working on this and working on that, adding new elements to old to see what happens. That being said, all of the subject matter works in a certain apocalyptic framework that references and reflects on a lot of mysteries that are familiar to everyone on some level.
J: Mysteries? Can you be more specific?
O: Ummm, yeah. You know the big ones, the ancient ones, religion, life, death, love, aliens, relationships, gas stations, time, and alternative measurements. Everything is a note.
J: How does living in North Carolina inform your work?
O: “Inform”—very nice. I like that word! Uhhh, I don’t know when I started considering the “South” as a separate place with its own ghosts, language, and identity, but it happened in the last few years. It’s weird down here, claustrophobic in its own way, along with many other phobias I can’t relate to. But there is a romanticism to it, and an authenticity that I’ve noticed since I was young here. It’s also cheap and out of the loop, which equals less influence and distraction. Good sweet tea and BBQ don’t hurt. Weird things like yard sales and junk shops, public displays of religious beliefs, and personal beliefs in front yards, and handmade signs. There’s a rare visual landscape down here. Its paradoxical, a strange urge to hold on to tradition, but also Wall Marts and urban sprawl. Does that answer it?
J: Yep, I feel the same way. Is your work serious? Where does it fit in? Why collaged boobs in your work?
O: Isn’t that three questions? Doesn’t that break some kind of interview etiquette?
J: No. Doesn’t interviewing yourself break some kind of interview law?
O: OK. It’s serious and funny, approachable hopefully. The boobs are new. I don’t use them that much. I like them. They are erotic, but not grotesque. Funny, maybe a little juvenile. They can be very conceptually loaded. Fertile. It’s nice to look at them when I make the work. Where does the work fit in? I don’t know. It fits into whatever individual responds to it. Its definitely part of a certain kind of image-making tradition.
J: And what about influences? Who are you checkin’ out these days? Who is inspiring?
O: Oh, I always blank out on this one! The list is so long because it’s not just art, it’s music, and skating and, uhhh, so much. But to drop a few names: Vija Celmins, Chris Johanson, The Quay Brothers, and Jan Svankmeyer, I just checked out David Dupuis’ work, which knocked my socks off. Yui Kugimiya is one of the best painters in NY. Reuben Moore. Mike Nevin, and Julia at The Journal, John Lee Hooker, Credence, Aesop, and Master P. Shit the list goes on. Mom and Pops. NC friends. All amazing influences. Funny people.
J: Any last words?
O: Don’t forget, tomorrow is trash day.