Q+A WITH JASON WOODSIDE
It's hard these days to find a person who is as radical as their work. It's very rare to meet artists who are humble, down to earth and create something so complex, contrasting and attention grabbing as Jason Woodside's work. It is with great pleasure to introduce NYC-based artist, Jason Woodside, as our newest Creator & Innovator. We were first introduced to Jason by way of Creator & Innovator Hayden Cox. The two had just finished developing an amazing surfboard collaboration for Haydenshapes, and it was only natural to start working with Jason as well. Jason's most iconic work finds itself on many city walls in the form of public murals that resemble a portal into another dimension. We had the priviledge of visiting Jason on-site at one of his mural projects in Silverlake, Los Angeles. Stay tuned, as we've been working with Jason on a capsule collection launching Spring 2017.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist? What did you want to do had you not pursued art?
Oh man I don't know.. Maybe it was once I started getting paid that I realized it was a possibility. Up until then it was just something I did when it was too hot outside (Florida) or there wasn't any surf.. I guess a big eye opener was a job I did for Absolut ages ago and they sent me to work with an artist in Miami as an assistant. I think I was 20? This dude had a nutty 'to-do' list of some high profile types and some massive collaborations under his belt. He was a weird cat, but what I took from it was anything is possible.. I worked for him for about a year or so and decided to push forward with my own work with the end result being I'd make a living with this.
What is your favorite project you’ve done?
I think they're all my favorites.. I keep ticking the boxes of dream jobs and collaborations and I'm very grateful. I feel they keep getting better.
Who or what inspires your art?
I think nature inspires me most.. At least that's what I get most psyched on. I find my art relating more to light, movement and language.. Nothing hugely specific or figurative, it's more in my head.
Where do you want to be in 5 years?
I'd like to see myself working closely with cities on large public installations.. I'd love to start a charity to benefit ocean and sea life well-being. Good things.
Do you make a living off your art? How much focus do you put into your coffee shop, Happy Bones, versus your art?
Yes I'm fortunate enough to be living off my art. Happy bones is killer but it's one of those 'takes money to make money' scenerios. Although it does quite well it costs quite a bit to keep the place up and running. When I'm in NYC my daily routine consists of 2 coffees from 10-12, then shoot to my Brooklyn studio until 6-7.. So not heaps of time, but long enough to have some meetings and catch up with regulars.
What is your art pet peeve?
Hmmm for me it's more about the artist.. If the artist is a bummer then the work's a bummer. Pretentious arty people are the worst.
Who’s (artist) best in the biz right now?
Not sure right now.. I love those early 2000 NYC dogs. Nate Lowman, Dash Snow and Dan Colen.. Now maybe Sterling Ruby
How did you get involved with Vissla and what do you have in the works?
I got involved with Vissla through Haydenshapes. Hayden and I did a solid collaboration, he and Dani ended up introducing us and that was that. Coming out later this year is a small collaboration collection of some killer pieces.. Psyched on the brand and ethos. It's been epic.
You’ve mentioned that your designs are inspired by clothing, any specific clothing brands particularly?
Totally.. More textile, non brand specific. I grew up making clothes, cutting them up and putting them back together.. silkscreening etc. I think it laid the groundwork for mixing and matching contrasts which is the foundation of my work today.
Advice for young aspiring artists?
Only true progression stems from process. Keep creating and keep taking risks with your work.
Best art scene in the world that you’ve seen?
The best one I've seen is when I moved to NYC in 2001.. There was this radical skate/art thing happening. It could've been me just completely over stimulated moving from a small town in Florida to this mega metropolis, but I feel that time was special.
How long do you see yourself living in NY?
Not sure.. I feel I battle with this quite a bit. Things change and scenes change.. I feel that pulse has moved out of NYC the past few years. Bottom line, I feel its unaffordable for artists to sustain and it's becoming this mega financial hub.. It's a tough spot if you're just starting out. I'm considering the west coast pretty hard at the moment.. More space and good light.
What is your morning ritual?
Coffee and some stretching.. I'm on a good kick where I don't let anything wake me up.. Alarms are the worst. If your body's sleeping you should let it do its thing and rest. I'm off the phone thing right when I wake up.. Too much to handle. Coffee and a couple deep breaths first then dig into emails and general communications.
Do you surf in NY? If so, what spots?
Yeah there's a bit of surf.. There's a cool little crew here and we get it when it's fun. NYC to Montauk and some secrets in between. Jersey, Rhode Island and Maine are epic I just rarely have the time for a heavy mission.
What do you do on the weekends?
Weekends I'll jump in the water if any surf. Otherwise, I'll keep it pretty mellow.. Studio time and a visit to the park. Beers with my homies is always on the list.
Favorite part about living in NY? Least favorite?
Favorite thing is probably the accessibility.. Literally anything you want is available at anytime.. The mix of cultures is pretty special. There's definitely something in the air when you put that many driven people in such a concentrated area.. It's one of those places that manages to give back what you put in and usually pretty quick. If you're having an epic day the city totally vibes off that.. If you're having a bad one it can get ugly. Least favorite is the space thing. I don't need that much space but when your kitchen, living room, bathroom and bedroom are all the 'same room' it gets heavy.
How long were you living in LA? What do/don’t you miss about living in LA?
I lived in LA for 3 years on and off after I finished college in NYC. I miss the beach and active culture.. You really miss that stuff when you're surrounded by concrete and taxi cabs.
What’s the art scene like in NY compared to LA? More or less opportunity?
Like I said, there's this whole weird pulse thing that happens in NY.. I feel it's on the deflate at the moment. Always great work! But just a different scene.. Technology also changes this a bit. You don't necessarily have to live in the mix to expose your work.. You can live in the desert and make things happen with an Internet connection. I feel there's quite a lot of art kids moving to the west coast now. Possibly more opportunity.. But who knows it's up to you to make it happen.
Visit Jason Woodside's Creator & Innovator page.
Instagram / @jasonwoodside
Interview by Garon Deffley
Photos by Steve Neiley