"Instead of representing a traditional narrative the consumption of information blurs from one source to another flowing from Facebook to Wikipedia to Reddit and other sources of information. This presents us with a fragmented narrative that is layer with preference to what is liked or voted up. Rather than representing this information as ephemeral my print and installation work uses this information to build a physical history built in the layers of information that makes up my visual aesthetic. Blending issues that are viewed as “serious” with the vernacular of Twitter and Facebook I seek to create imagery that is indicative of contrast between what is considered trivial and significant."
LAL (Lexington Art League): What influenced you to become an artist?
JM (Jonathan McFadden): When I was an undergrad student at Texas State University I began taking studio art courses as electives and means of a creative outlet from the course work for the computer science degree I was pursuing at the time. After a couple of semesters I found myself more interested in studio courses and had decided I wanted to pursue a career in art.
LAL: What is the motivation for you to create art?
JM: This is hard to explain. For me it is more of a need to create imagery than a motivation.
LAL: What media do you typically work in? What appeals to you the most about those media?
JM: I typically work between various print process and large installations. In both instances it is the ability to merge digital and analog processes along with the indirect nature of mark making that is central to printmaking.
LAL: What was the specific motivation for you to create this piece?
JM: This piece was created as part of a series of work created during a residency in Berlin, Germany. The work pulls from various pop culture references at the time ranging from the fighting in Eastern Ukraine to images of Alec Baldwin after his twitter rant against George Stark.
LAL: Where do you feel Now He Has Taken Full Responsibility For this II stands among your other works?
JM: Conceptually this piece continues to work with similar ideas that are in the screen print based works I was making prior to the work I made in Germany. However, this piece and the other works in this series are a departure from the more abstract and text based aesthetic of the screen prints. Photogravure allows for a wider tonal range than screen print and since this series my work has become much more representational.
LAL: Does it fit in thematically with your other works?
JM: Thematically it fits within the same narrative driven commentary of media and pop culture as my previous works.
LAL: What kinds of research do you carry out for the creation of your works?
JM: The research for my work varies a lot. Photogravure is a very technically driven process so a far amount of my research has been learning the process and reading a lot of technical manuals on the process. I also am constantly looking at the work of other artist working with similar ideas, visiting galleries and museum archives to look at works relevant to my research, and of course reading anything I can find that conceptually can help me inform my work.
LAL: Were there any interesting or surprising things you’ve learned through your research?
JM: As a process photogravure can be very finicky. It requires that the room have a certain humidity and temperature range, and chemicals be stored at very specific temperatures. I surprisingly have found the technical complexities of the processes to be something that holds my interest much more than screen printing did.
LAL: What goal do you typically have in mind whenever you create a new work?
JM: When I’m creating imagery the main goals I am thinking about is: Does it successfully communicate the concept to the viewer? And, is the work visually compelling?
LAL: Do you have any artists that inspire you? What about their work inspires you?
JM: I often look at artist like Claas Gutche, Christiane Baumgartner, and Peter Kogler all three artist work an a way that merges photographic and digital aesthetics with analog and hand rendered techniques.
LAL: Do you have any advice for new artists?
JM: Get your work out of your studio as much as possible. I find having a rather extensive exhibition schedule forces me to stick to deadlines and constantly create and thing about how to move my work forward. If I wasn’t exhibiting often I think there would be less incentive and internal drive to create.
Check out his website: www.jonathanmcfadden.com