I love the eclectic style of Jake Goelman's work, which combines an ad hoc aesthetic with patchwork textile patterns and pop culture references. Make sure to check out much more at the links below!
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First, can you introduce yourself? Where are you from, and where are you based now?
I grew up In Los Angeles, California and moved to New York in 2012 to go to school at Parsons to study Fine Arts. I am about to move back to Los Angeles, but am currently based in Brooklyn.
When did you know that you wanted to make art?
I grew up going to LACMA, the main art museum in Los Angeles and was obsessed with an installation called The Central Meridian (aka The Garage) by an artist Michael C. McMillen. It was a recreation of a garage with a full car, stocked shelves with tools, paint cans and knick-knacks. You could walk through it and there was sound and light and so much to look at. I don’t think I even knew it was art at the time but I think about it often and it taught me a lot about what art can be. I also had an incredibly influential art teacher in 7th grade, Mike Minelli. He had an attitude that screamed artist and he made me want to become an artist more than anything. He introduced to me to contemporary art too which was life changing.
You recently earned a BFA from Parsons -- how has graduating influenced how you think about your practice, especially within the artistic community?
One of the best parts of school was having a studio in a space with the 30 or so other students. There was always people to ask questions and show your work to, and when you didn’t want to you work you could walk around and see what everyone was working on, which was one of my favorite things to do. In school there was a pressure to always be able to explain yourself and the work you were producing which caused a lot of second-guessing and scrapping of ideas. I’m luckily enough to share a studio with one of my closest friends Mariel, and we are constantly discussing our work and the work of others. I am still unsure where my place in any artistic community is but living in New York and the small world of instagram has actually made me feel part of some kind of community.
Do you have any intention of pursuing an MFA?
I do! The idea of teaching keeps growing on me more and more, and having an MFA is necessary for that. Also having another two years and constant making, critique and discussion sounds amazing to me.
Your work centers around painting but employs a lot of different media and techniques including drawing, textile, and different kinds of paint. Can you tell me more about your practice?
I used to strictly oil paint because I thought I almost had to in order to “be an artist”. I started making drawings on scraps of linen I got from an artist I worked for one summer. The scraps were small and I wanted to make a larger work with them one day. I made the drawing on the separate pieces and then had a friend sew them together for me. Ever since then I have been working with a sewing machine and creating these patchwork/ quilt-like paintings. I like the idea of being able to work small on individual things and try to piece them together later and find relationships between them. The grid is also very important to my work. I am not an expert at sewing so everything I do is just connecting squares and rectangles together which has created an interesting challenge for me to always be thinking about.
What is your process like? Do you plan in advance, or work more intuitively?
I try not to plan a lot in advance, it never works out well when I do. I am constantly taking pictures on my phone and taking screenshots of my computer from things in TV shows or just random Google image searches. I usually end up picking one or two these images that have some sort of relation to one another and try to form a narrative around them. Sometimes it’s as simple as wanting to make a painting about dogs and figuring out the most interesting way for me I can do that. Once I have a few of the main images I want to include I will make sketches by hand and on photoshop to fool around with composition.
What is your studio like?
I share my studio with my friend Mariel. It’s small but perfect and a constant mess.
What do you think is the most challenging or daunting part of pursuing an artistic practice, whether creatively or professionally? What do you do to get through it?
I think the most challenging part of pursuing being an artist is just wondering how I will be able to do it and make a living off of it. And realistically when I have a day job to support myself, how will I have time to continue making work. I try not to think about it.
What is the best advice you've received?
Keep making work until you figure it out
If you could sit down for lunch or a drink with anyone, and talk about anything, who would it be and what would you want to chat about?
Oh my god what a hard question. I think I would have to choose Matisse because his paintings blow my mind. I would just want to know everything he has to say, how he thinks. Especially about color! When ever I’m having trouble with color I look at his work.
What do you want to learn more about, or challenge yourself to master, in regard to your practice?
Color! While I think color is important to most visual work I want to know everything there is to know about it. I love placing two colors together and seeing what happens. Also since I primarily work within the grid I am always trying to figure out how to play with and evoke new feelings of space with in such a rigid form.
What do you need most, or value most, as an artist?
Someone to show my work to who will be honest
What are you working on right now?
I am working on a piece about the circus and clowns. There is this argyle/ jester inspired cannon shooting out a clown. I hated clowns when I was younger and still kind of do, but also fascinated with the culture around them.
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