By NOAH BECKER
October 21, 2020
Ev'rybody's talking about
Bagism, Shagism, Dragism, Madism, Ragism, Tagism
This-ism, that-ism, is-m, is-m, is-m
- John Lennon, Give Peace a Chance, 1969
There are a variety of influences found in the work of Jason Craighead. But when I talk about art, I don't compare artists to other artists or try to decide what "ism" they belong to.
Instead, I focus on the new and exciting ground being charted in the work.
The following interview answered some important questions I had about the art of Jason Craighead on view now at Monica King Contemporary in New York City...
Noah Becker: Your work is very direct - what do you think about when starting a painting? Or is it a process of thinking in multiple ways about groups of paintings?
Jason Craighead: I tend to think of my entire practice as one idea versus different topics. That being said, I find myself seeking “moments” in my process which does lead to “groups” of works that are tied together through aesthetic language. I don’t think in “series” ... maybe when I look back I will see “periods”. The “thinking” part never leaves.
Becker: My recent goal has been to NOT compare artists to artists in art history. So in that spirit I will ask you where you find inspiration?
Craighead: I have always felt inspired by, to put it simply, things that move me ... everything from a gorgeous work in a museum to some half covered graffiti in an alley, songs, poems...human expression in general. I do believe my aesthetic comes from the place of expressionism, when artists began to break loose from “recording things” and allowing the process of “making” things to come forward in the work. We are all standing on the shoulders of those before us.
Becker: Do you make a lot of drawings? Your paintings have a wonderful connection to drawing as they are. How do you see the difference between drawing and painting?
Craighead: I am forever enamored with beautiful drawing marks....I used to believe that my works on paper were “drawings” until it became clear to me that they were the same as my works on canvas. I find the drawing in my works to be a nice “guide” for the viewer to move them through the composition. I’m not sure I would care to do one without the other...so maybe drawing and painting have melded together as one thing for me.
Becker: How do you think about color or the absence of color in painting?
Craighead: I feel that there is never an absence of “color” in any and all things—if you can “see” it then it is there. In it, under it, throughout it ... whatever “it” is. WM