Contemporary                     Culture

Jason Woodside @Crush Contemporary

We speak with American artist, Jason Woodside, on the opening of his newest exhibition Burn Off.

Interview and photography Adam Bryce

Tell us how your interest in art began?

It’s funny, I was always interested in making things and kind of making something out of nothing. Self-gratifying sports like skateboarding and surfing were always a huge outlet for me growing up. From there, other forms of self-expression started coming into play.

I was really into filmmaking for a while and attended The School of Visual Arts in New York but, once connecting with that subculture of like-minded and very talented kids, painting started really becoming an outlet for me and proved to be a lot more self-sufficient than filmmaking.

I still get tonnes of inspiration from films and screenwriting but, at this point, it’s like I needed that background of storytelling and cinematography, to get where I am today in regards to lighting and movement. 

You have a very specific style of work. How and when did this develop?

Again, there’s a tonne of inspiration in filmmaking but, during that time when I was super discouraged with filmmaking and film school, I turned to more self-sufficient outlets like screen-printing, drawing and painting.

I guess, aside from the obvious of having an interest in colour contrast and colour, in general, I think I take a lot from nature and music and even friendships.

We met when you lived in New York but you’re originally from Florida. And, most recently lived in LA. Do you find that your surroundings inform your work?

Absolutely. It was funny, when I moved to California I started painting these sunsets and natural tones, quite different than what I was taking on subconsciously living in New York City. I found light in Southern California to be super pink and orange with this weird haze of salt which was something I missed when living in the city.

How are you enjoying New Zealand? 

I love New Zealand. I think places like New York are these perfect storms that consider a point of time in your life, mixed with age and openness. For me, at the moment, New Zealand is a perfect place for me in regards to family, lifestyle and the space to continue to really focus and nurture my craft. I find it offers a huge amount of opportunity within this welcoming community as well as a headspace that allows for peace and time when you need to switch off. 

Tell me about Crush Contemporary. How did it come about and what’s the plan for the artist-run space?

Crush is an entity put in place to inspire and support the global arts community while bringing local and international creatives together. It closes the gap between gallery folks and art folks. Created by artists as a platform for artists.

Throughout the year, we’ll curate print releases, group exhibitions and one-off merch collaborations with the current crew we represent.

At the moment, the team consists of Maser, Pref ID, Adele Renault, Gary Stranger, Funskull, Astro and Ruben Sanchez. Once the borders open, we’ll host residencies for these artists, offering studio space and producing an exhibition at the end that will be open for the public to check out.

You have new work showing at Crush. Tell me what it’s about?

Burn Off is a collection of works exploring a colour palette and energy considering a point in time in my life mentally and physically. It’s an optimistic story of pieces that can hopefully inspire the creative community.

What are your work plans for summer in New Zealand?

Continuing to stay optimistic and creative during the crazy times, and connect with friends and family. I’m super excited to push Crush, really dig in and nurture such a special community.

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