Thursday, January 06, 2011

Studio Visit and Interview - Jason Zickler

image courtesy of Kate Franzman

Jason Zickler has been an active artist in Indianapolis for years. Some of you may even know him through his dedicated work with IDADA (Indianapolis Downtown Artist and Dealers Association), which he has been a very active board member and leader for years. I have known his work and seen a good number of his exhibitions over the years but I had never got around to doing a proper studio visit until yesterday. As he is  preparating for a new show, Kate Franzman and I headed to his home studio to chat and see where it is he makes his works. Many of you may already know that I always enjoy seeing the behind the scenes of an artists work, a good studio visit can tell a lot about an artists practice and his work. I hope these images and supporting interview with him will shed some light on the man and his art.

image courtesy of Kate Franzman

What do you draw inspiration from in your work and do you feel it is important that these inspirations come through in the final product?
That's a good question, and one I am asked a lot. It's a giant concept to me that I am not sure I completely have an answer for or even understand myself. One thing I can say for sure is that painting is an Obsession to me with a capital O. It's almost like a mental process you are asking me to explain. I Obsess about unfinished paintings in my studio, comments people make about my work, music I listen to while I create the work, the famous ab-ex painters of the 50's and 60's I wish I was, the business of selling art, and the creative process demonstrated by people like Walt Disney, Dr. Suess, and Frank Loyd Wright. Somehow it all impacts when I start and when I finish a painting. I appreciate the spontaneous feeling or urge I have to start something new in my studio, as much as I appreciate the spontaneous feeling I have to stop a painting.

I don't feel it is important (or even possible) that my mental process or my inspirations come through in my final work. If a viewer feels inspired by a painting of mine or feels a connection, that's great. It intrigues and satisfies me. More than likely, this feedback will even turn into inspiration for a new painting someday.

image courtesy of Kate Franzman

Can you describe your studio practice?
It's late at night, music or art documentaries blasting, and a ton of editing works-in-progress. I remember reading a passage by Dr. Suess's wife where she commented in a interview about her husbands art practice, "he enjoyed working after midnight - seldom during the working-day hours. He did not consider painting to be "work," so it had to wait till late at night. Painting was what he did for himself and not something he felt comfortable in sharing."

This comment has always summed up the way I could justify why I work on my art so late at night. It's exactly how I work in my studio.

image courtesy of Kate Franzman

How do you juggle a career, your studio practice and being a family man?
My family, art, and career are who I am. I cannot explain how I juggle any one of these things. I don't feel like there is a separation in these aspects of my life. These three things make me who I am.

What is your favorite and least favorite aspect of the local art community?
The Indy art community is actually pretty exciting right now if you (as an artist) have your eyes open wide. It seems that artists can shape their part and place in the Indy art community due to the infancy of the marketplace. Getting press, non traditional shows, gallery experience, sales, etc., is actually pretty accessible if you are willing to put in the work (and a little brute-force here and there). Anyone and everyone is not only invited but seemingly welcomed to participate.

My least favorite aspect of the art community is the lack of opportunities due to the infancy of the marketplace. The "buying local" awareness and education of art buyers has a long way to go and is likely to become a major goal for many arts organizations in town over the next year or two. I know Indy will get there.

Artistically speaking, is there any particular advice you have been given or insights you have come upon that you would pass on to others?
Network. Network. Network. I have always been taught to connect with as many thought leaders and professionals in any market I have worked in. IDADA is a great organization to get involved in to meet fellow artists, gallery owners, and art advocates.

The other advice I have for artists who want to sell art, is to be willing to "Do a deal". I know traditional art wisdom teaches artists not to devalue their art by offering discounts or preferred pricing. From my experience, the best way in this economy to sell art is to "Do a deal!". Discount your art, throw something in, provide additional services, don't charge for delivery, frame the work, etc. The bottom line is: sell your work! From time to time, I have even offered extended payment terms which not only closed the deal, but also increased the total sale by 200%. Good, bad, and ugly, it is what it is.

4 Responses to “Studio Visit and Interview - Jason Zickler”

M Ruschman said...
January 7, 2011 at 2:26 PM

Great interview with an artist that's right in the middle of the local art scene.

Jason Zickler said...
January 9, 2011 at 4:27 PM

Thanks for doing the studio visit Scott. Here are some pics from the art show on Friday night and IDADA After Party event that followed.

Samuel E Vazquez said...
January 12, 2011 at 6:20 PM

Nice post!

Machines "Network". Humans "Connect".

Yes, when people are "connecting" things happen.

Unknown said...
January 22, 2011 at 12:39 AM

Thank you for posting such a useful, impressive and a wicked article./Wow.. looking good!
Contemporary Art

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