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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Interview with Jesse Wiedel

q)So, can you tell me a little about yourself? Full name, age, some background info, etc?

a)My name is Jesse Wiedel. I’m 41. I grew up in a rural area of central California, where I was nearby lots of trailer houses and junked cars and stuff like that. I always really liked that stuff—the red and white sporty stripes on the trailers, and the fact that your house was on wheels. When I was a kid I always fantasized about my dad getting a truck and moving our house down the road, while I played with my toys on the floor or something. I moved to San Francisco in 1985 to study art at the San Francisco Art Institute, then relocated to Eureka, CA in 1991, and am still here. I played in punk/garage bands from 1983 to 1996, but gave that up to focus more on painting.

q)How did you get started making art?

a)When I was a kid, I made a gruesome coloring book picture of Davey Crockett at school. My teacher got so angry that he literally kicked my ass for it. I realized at a young age that you could really communicate strong feelings with pictures. I have been making art since then.

q)How would you describe your art?

a)I sometimes describe my paintings as Narrative streetscapes. Or figurative paintings that are done in a loosely handled way.

q)Where do you get the inspiration for your art?

a)Mostly from places. Also from lots of people watching. Going out to bars and watching people get drunk and ugly. Street fairs at holidays like the Fourth of July are the best. People get really riled up at those. Some of the paintings are inspired by true stories, but some of them are just goofy made up things. Also, country western music is an inspiration to my imagery. Just all the sordid tales of woe.

q)What are you working on now?

a) I’m getting ready to start a painting that incorporates imagery from Las Vegas and Tijuana. I’ve been wanting to mix up my locales for awhile now. I had been working on images of my hometown for a long while, and decided to make a change of scenery. I travelled to those two places this summer.

q)Are there some web sites that you would like to recomend? Artists, art communities,xxx,...!?

a),,, I like the artforum website too. Also, I’ve really been into YouTube lately. I love all the archival music performances on there. They just don’t show that stuff on tv.

q)What's your favorite medium to work in, and why?

a)Oil on Wood. I like the gooey, tactile feeling of oil paints, and the hard, smooth surface of wood.

q)What advice would you give to younger up and coming artist?

a)Your mistakes are where all your charms lie.

q)What is your personal definition of life and art and everything else in between?

a)I can’t really see myself as someone who doesn’t make art. Art and life are pretty tightly intertwined with me.

q)Take us inside your process a little bit. How do you begin a piece? What inspires the concept?

a)I usually start with a place. I’ll go take a photo of the place, sometimes I go out and draw and paint onsite, but mostly I work from photos. Then I imagine a scenario to go with the place, and sometimes will pose myself or friends as the people for reference, or sometimes I just use found photos for reference. Then I draw it in and paint it!

q)What are your artistic influences?

a)Otto Dix, James Ensor, Nicole Eisenman, Llyn Foulkes, George Bellows, Goya, Hogarth

q)How are the reactions on your work in general?

a)Usually it’s pretty positive. But that’s of course what people say to your face. Well, I’ve had a mixed reaction over the years. Some people think the paintings are really sweet, and other people think they’re appalling. It’s funniest to watch people’s faces when they look at my work at art openings. Little old society ladies with their mouths agape in horror--It’s priceless.

q)What are you doing when you are not creating art?

a)Oh, you know, the day job. I work at a print shop. I play with my son, who’s 10. I play with my wife sometimes too. I still play guitar, and you know, drink and go out and see live music. I love live music.

q)What are some of the greatest challenges that you think artists face today?

a)Originality is always a challenge. Still is number one I think. But also, getting locked into a “signature style” early on could be hazardous to your emotional well-being.

q)What is freedom to you as an artist?

a)Painting exactly what you want to paint, without a thought to who will see it.

q)Are there any particular works you've done that stand out as your favorites?

a)I like “Midway” a lot still. And “the Male Gaze”..

q)Last Books you read?

a)I was reading Denis Johnson’s first novel, “Angels”, but left it at a motel. It was really good, too.

q)Last records you bought?

a)I recently got Johnny Dowd “Pictures from Life’s Other Side”, and Mayhem “Live in Leipzig”

q)Who are your favourite artists & Your favourite galleries?

a)I like Mathias Weischer and Daniel Dove, Hillary Harkness and Kelly McLane. I like the Leo Koenig gallery in NY, Angles gallery in Santa Monica, and Jack the Pelican Presents in Brooklyn.

q)Which do you think make good art good? originality, or style? And, why?

a)Goodness shouldn’t be a concern in art. But I really appreciate good painters, and old masters, etc. But when things get too good, or wrapped up in perfection, they kind of get boring.

q)Do you get emotionally attached to your work and do you miss your work when it is sold?

a)No. I hate them by the time I’m done with them. Then I like them again about a year later. Well, I sometimes wonder who has them now. One time a friend of mine saw a hippie couple on Haight Street selling one of my portraits that somebody threw out of a window a year earlier.

q)Your contacts….E-mail…links



Blogger Uncle Jesse said...

Thanks for posting my artworks!

7:59 AM  
Anonymous martin said...

i like this blog.. thanks for doing it.

4:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool! I'm glad you sent this out. I loved reading your comments.
I like whatyou said about "your mistakes are where your charms lie"

2:12 PM  
Blogger Seizureman said...

I'm glad to see that people around the world are noticing the genius of Jesse. He is one of my artistic heroes. The one thing I miss the most about living on the East Coast is that I don't get to hang out with Jesse and play music.

5:41 PM  
Blogger Corny said...

Hey Jesse, good to see some of your work I hadn't seen, I likes!
Hey check out Denis Johnson's latest book, it's the sickest thing I've ever read.
Rock on.

7:38 AM  
Anonymous Hayley Barker said...

Your work is totally awesome Jesse. I miss watching little old ladies' jaws drop at your openings.
Congrats to you!

12:13 PM  
Anonymous dogmna said...

eureka is crazy tweekers suck

2:08 PM  

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