Jason Shawn Alexander

1 Mar

Jason Shawn Alexander

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Website: http://www.jasonshawnalexander.com

Describe your “Creative Space”

I work in a studio in Downtown Los Angels. It’s roughly 1000 sq. ft with North facing windows on the second floor of a 12 story building. It’s a nice open space with fairly high ceilings. It feels like home. I looked at a few spaces before that but this one already felt like I worked there.

What is a normal day like for Jason Shawn Alexander?

I wake around 7:30 am. I sit with a coffee and a book for the first hour. If I’ve left for the coffee shop, it’s coffee, a book, and a sketchbook. It helps start the engine and get my brain going. Then it’s directly off to the studio. As soon as I’m there I begin. I work on multiple pieces at once. All of which with contain some completely different approach or subject so whatever I’m feeling when i enter the studio, there is a piece that parallels it. I’ll work for a few hours, then lunch, then back to it. By the time the day is done I’ve worked on at least 2-3 pieces. By 5:30 I’m off to go home and go for a run or exercise and then work on my writing or short film projects and spending time with my girlfriend and my dog. And typically a nice scotch.

That’s a rough of my usual day.

Oil or Acrylics?

Oil. I’ve never found anything that beats the strength and diversity of oil. Though I’me discovering some interesting things with acrylic now that I’ve worked on paper more.

You started your career as a comic book artist, were you a comic book fan growing up?

I was a bit of a fan of comics but never really became involved as a reader or a fan until I was around16.

Did comic books play a big influence in discovering your talent for art?

I have always drawn but comics presented me with my first real outlet. The idea of telling stories visually, sparked my interests immediately. I was drawn in for different reasons than a lot of comics artists, I believe. I was drawn in from artists like Will Eisner. My first love was the story telling aspect. Pacing, composition, etc. The art of making comics still drives me. I get much more out of laying out the pages, discovering the right angles, the right mood, how to position the figures and the panels to move the reader through the page at the right pace. It’s informed everything I’ve done, visually, ever since.

You started to make a name for yourself in the Comic Book world, then started to focus on the fine art and gallery world. Was this a hard transition?

It was an enormous transition. The illustration world and the fine arts world still has major gaps between them. I have a solid established presence in comics. I love doing them. Beginning to paint and exhibit my work has very much been like starting over from scratch. Maybe this also fueled my tenacity to push myself harder as a painter.

You grew up in Tennessee .. What brought you to Los Angeles, and how did the move affect your art?

I initially moved to Los Angeles with a friend of mine to attempt something in film. We had written and directed a short film and a commercial in North Carolina and decided to try it in LA. Once we arrived I began exhibiting relatively quickly and that turned my attention to gallery work full time. I have always wanted to live in California at some point in my life, anyway, so it works. The move affected my work quite a bit. It was around the move that I began associating myself as being a painter, not just an illustrator.

Your paintings have a very dark and mournful tone to them. Where does your inspiration come from?

I use to think I had an answer for that question. The real answer is, especially if your work ranges in approach and tone, that it’s impossible to tell. I get the urge to paint or an idea for painting from reading books, sitting alone, etc. I started a painting today after I drove past a man on the street, today, who’s demeanor or something stuck in my head. Anything can take me out of reality and put my mind in the process of working out images and creating.

What are you working on now?

Currently I’m working on a collaboration show slated for September in Los Angeles and my next major solo exhibition for 101 Exhibit in miami for Art Basil in Dec…. along with having new work in the upcoming art fairs around the country this year.

We are also putting together my first monograph which will be available beginning this Dec.

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