Jared Joslin’s new body of work quietly strolls among the glowing lights of carnivals, ballrooms and other jubilant affairs; twirling the viewer through an evening air dusted with shimmer and sheen. Always a clever storyteller, Joslin’s symbolic scenes are flooded with lush colors and opulent details which easily distract the viewer from the foreboding underpinnings of every tale.
His subject’s seductive gaze always meets the viewer’s eyes with such intensity one wonders of their ulterior schemes and agendas. Like gazing into a malevolent mystic’s swirling crystal ball, their hypnotizing presence leaves the viewer uneasily gripped with nervous anticipation.
Joslin’s work has a predatory nature that is quick and sharp witted; akin to being hunted by an stealthy night snake. One senses the immanent danger, but the impact of his emotional blows are only realized after there is no choice but to be swallowed up whole.
Joslin has shown extensively including previous exhibitions at the well respected Yarger/Strauss Gallery (now Timothy Yarger Fine Art).
Stop, Look & Glisten
2124 N. Damen Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
Opening reception is Friday May 27th,
You may read more about this unique space at Our Urban Times.
Jared took the time to grant an interview. Below are the five questions I ask all the artists:
What artists or creative person has influenced you?
Over the years, there have been countless artists that have given me inspiration. I never tire of returning to their visual worlds to soak it in. My wife Jessica and her sculptures influence me daily. I have huge respect for what she does. My brother Russell’s photographs provide constant stimulation and play an important part in my life. The Neue Sachlichkeit movement, especially painters Christian Schad, Otto Dix, Karl Hubbuch, George Grosz, Felix Nussbaum and Jeanne Mammen, have long been a strong influence. I appreciate pinup and illustrative art, especially that of Enoch Bolles, Gil Elvgren, Peter Driben, JC Leyendecker and HJ Ward. I am drawn toward certain contemporary fashion photographers, such as Paolo Roversi, Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, Helmut Newton and Ellen von Unwerth. Other greats that must be mentioned as well, in no specific order, are: Antonio Donghi, Pyke Koch, Hans Bellmer, Balthus, Bruegel the Elder, Roger van der Weyden, Memling, Mucha, Egon Schiele, George de La Tour, Hans Hobein the Younger, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Arnold Brocklin, Caravaggio, Franz von Bayros, Tamara de Lempicka, August Sander, Irina Ionesco, Matthew Barney, and last but not least my good friends Darla Teagarden, Chris Conn Askew and Tony Fitzpatrick.
Not including other artists or art, what inspires you?
Color. Fire and smoke. Interesting facial features. Travel. Smokestacks and chimneys billowing smoke. Locomotives and steam engines. Nature and nature programs, especially the BBC (David Attenborough) stuff. I love the sky and its many moods, the mystery of forrests, the alien world of insects, and the beauty and strangeness of animals and birds. Objects that have lived a life long ago- especially during the late 1800′s through the 1940′s. The golden age of the circus and Hollywood. Carnivals and carnival lights. Films, especially silent and pre-code. The fashions, glamour and styling of the 20′s -40′s. Imagining cabarets, dance halls and clubs that existed between the war years in Berlin. Certain music ranging from the likes of Tom Waits to Louis Armstrong to Echo and the Bunnymen, to Greta Keller to the Birthday Party, from Siouxsie and the Banshees to Bob Dylan…
What is the part of your process you enjoy the most?
Painting the face, especially the eyes and mouth, and that moment the painting looks back at me.
… the least?
Shipping my work off to shows, and knowing I may never see them in person again.
If you were NOT an artist, what would you be doing?
The last moment I even considered being anything but an artist was when I was about 15. At that point I was toying with the idea of becoming either a mortician or a dentist.
It is also a great honor to provide the following interview by Jared’s partner in crime, Jessica Joslin. Jessica is a well-known and highly regarded sculptor whom I have featured before. Jessica is a deep thinker and extremely studied in the work of those she admires. So when we discussed her interviewing Jared, I was certain her questions would be insightful and provide an interesting ‘insider’ glimpse into Jared’s work. I was not wrong.
Jessica: In choosing how to portray your subjects, how does the process differ when you paint someone who you know very well, as opposed to a stranger from an old photograph?
Jared: Even when I choose to depict strangers, the image is selected because of how it connects with me on a personal level. I strive to infuse these paintings with as much personality as the ones of people I do know. When I paint myself, you/Jessica, my brother or a close friend, the process of painting doesn’t change from a technical stand point, however, it does become permeated with something I can’t quite put to words. That intimacy, directness or personal connection does come across and resonates differently. I believe that the drive to create is deeply rooted, it dwells internally, but the physical and technical aspects evolve from many years of discipline and practice. To achieve a truly remarkable painting, those two elements must be triggered simultaneously. There is a Leonardo da Vinci quote that sticks with me, ‘Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art’. This I believe to be true.
Jessica: Do you consider your painting to be portraits?
Jared: I consider my paintings portraits when I have a personal connection with the sitter, or when I’m commissioned to paint a portrait. For me, most of my paintings connect to a nostalgic longing for another time and wanting to convey particular qualities, atmospheres and moods, whether dreamlike or realistic in nature. I think of my paintings as self revelations. They are the manifestations of my dreams, desires and longings to exist in that painted world…
Jessica: You tend to paint women far more often than men, and the male characters are typically self-portraits. Why is that? (I suspect that it may have something to do with satin, feathers, kidskin and sheer stockings?)
Jared: Besides the fact that I am my most readily available model, self portraiture allows me to discover and transport myself into the worlds that I create. Of course, I’m also a red blooded male. I can’t help but be visually seduced by the exquisite adornments of the opposite sex, so on that level your suspicions are correct! I’m very attracted to a sense of glamour, especially as seen in the 20’s- 40’s. During that era, there was a terrific variety of textures that women often combined together. I love how those different materials harmoniously play off one another, not to mention the simple fact that I truly enjoy painting them!
Jessica: What aspects of silent films most enchant you?
Jared: I enjoy the aspect of reading the characters by not what they say, but by their actions, gestures and facial expressions. Without sound, the emphasis is on the physicality of the performer. The makeup and costuming is also usually more extreme and I appreciate this aspect of heightened theatricality. I enjoy the high contrast, stark quality of the film itself and the grainy yet luminous images. I also am amused by the quicker reel speed that exaggerates their movements in a fast and odd way.
Jessica: If you could have anyone, living or dead, come to the studio to sit for a portrait, who would it be?
Jared: What a question! This is such a difficult decision, as there are so many, but the first who came to mind was Louise Brooks.
Jessica: If you could have anyone, living or dead, come to the studio for cocktails, who would it be?
Jared: P.T. Barnum. My answer could change on any given day, but just think about the stories he could share!
Jessica: If you could curate a group show, including yourself and 6 other painters, who would they be?
Jared: Aron Wisenfeld, Susan Hauptman, Alan Feltus, Kris Lewis, Chris Conn Askew and Timothy Cummings.
Jessica: What’s your favorite quality about the actor, James Cagney?
Jared: His sourpuss mug and his delivery of snappy dialogue.
Jessica: What’s your favorite quality about the actor, Maurice Chevalier?
Jared: His absurdity, goofiness and ridiculousness.
Jessica: What’s your favorite quality about the actress, Clara Bow?
Jared: Her petite frame and expressive eyes.
Jessica: What’s your favorite quality about the actress, Jean Harlow?
Jared: Her platinum blonde hair, revealing silk gowns, and wit.
Speaking personally, the full breadth of Joslin’s work breaths cold sinister delight down the back of my neck. His paintings are quietly understated, yet filled with subtly nuanced details that give clues to a much larger story. The following paintings are two self portraits that I have long admired.
You may view more of Jared Joslin’s work on his website.
Thank you for your time Jared and Jessica!