domenica 8 febbraio 2009

Interview with Jesse Balmer

q)Please introduce yourself.

a)My name is Jesse Balmer. I'm 22 years old,

and I was born in San Juan Capistrano,


q)Where do you live and work?

a)I've been living in San Francisco for

a little over a year and a half now, and

it's been treating me very well.

q)How would you describe your work

to someone who has never seen it?

a)My work changes pretty rapidly

as various influences come and go,

but right now I'm trying to explore

the fluidity
with which life fades in and out

of the physical universe and what the infinite void

surrounding it might look like.
I think the stars are clearer there.

q)How did you start in the arts?

How/when did you realize you were an artist?

a)In kindergarten everyone in the class

was drawing this crab from a book we'd just read...

and the teacher said that
she especially liked the detail in mine.

I must have put extra spines on the legs or something...

but that was the first
complement I remember receiving about

my drawing and I've been drawing instead

of paying attention to my obligations ever since.

q)What are your favorite art materials and why?

a)In my sketchbooks I use ballpoint pens and

Tombow brush pens almost exclusively.

Nothing feels better than drawing with
a brush pen on a smooth sheet of newsprint.

Highly recommended for releasing tension.

When I'm getting
serious with a piece, I use Stonehenge paper,

gouache, ink, colored pencils and micron pens.

I like to keep things pretty simple.

q)What/who influences you most?

a)Nothing influences anybody more than

the vast number of things things they experience

on a day to day basis...and I'm no
different. Also, artists in this day and age are on

a quest to make the average zoned out

human being stop and think for a moment
about something other than themselves.

As far as the who goes...Dr. Seuss and

Shel Silverstein are two big ones.

The strong connection that exist
between their words and drawings is

something that I was shaped by as a

child and is something that I now really envy.

q)Describe a typical day of art making for you.

a)Get up, go to work, come home, go to bed,

find self unable to sleep due to idea

banging around in head, stay up until
4 executing idea on paper.

q)Do you have goals, specific things you want

to achieve with your art or in your career as an artist?

a)I'd like to start writing and illustrating my own comics.

I do it on a small scale in my sketchbook,
but I've yet to create a world with the kind of continuity

that allows for a story to unfold. That world is finally starting

to take
shape though, which is exciting.

q)What contemporary artists or developments

in art interest you?

a)When I was in high school that whole

Beautiful Losers thing happened, which got me

seriously thinking about making artwork
beyond what I did every day in my sketchbooks

which up until then was just a tool to keep

myself entertained in class or wherever
I was. And there are so many incredible artists that

I discover every single day that it'd take way too long

to list them all...
but the fact remains that I'm blown away all the time.

I've recently had the pleasure of seeing two of my

favorite artists working
in their element: Matt Furie and

Maxwell Loren Holyoke Hirsch. It's incredible

to see the work ethic of a working artist. I have
a long way to go.

q)How long does it typically take you to finish a piece?

a)Somewhere between fifteen minutes and eight hours.

q)Do you enjoy selling your pieces, or are you

emotionally attached to them?

a)I am certainly attached to everything...

which has resulted in many drawers full of old

shitty drawings. I don't know if it's good or bad.
They'll need it for the retrospective they publish when I die,

right? No. I'll need it all to show my kids when
I'm forcing them to be artists like their dad.

As far as selling work goes,

if somebody likes a piece enough to hang it in
their home, parting with it becomes pretty easy.

q)Is music important to you? If so,

what are some things you're listening to now?

a)There are so many bands. Animal Collective

and Panda Bear are my favorite things to draw to.


a)Been reading a lot of comics lately.

Paul Pope is incredible. Alan Moore, of course...

and I'm a big huge batman fan. The best
novel I read recently was East of Eden by Steinbeck.

Holy shit. Mind expanding on so many levels.

Or maybe I just don't get out

q)What theories or beliefs do you have

regarding creativity or the creative process?

a)I think that the creative process is

something that's essential to the sane human mind.

And I don't just mean the traditional list
of creative outlets(music, writing, cooking, drawing etc).

I think there are many hundreds or thousands

of ways to release that energy...

but what's important is that it gets released.

If I didn't draw I don't know what I'd do.

I'd go nuts or I'd find another outlet.

I think there are a lot of
people in the world looking for the thing

that satisfies the creative side of their brain.

I think those are the people who don't
know what they want to be when they grow up.

I feel very lucky to have found something

that makes me so happy...and even luckier to
to have been born into one of the few places

where people have time to even think about art.

q)What do you do (or what do you enjoy doing)

when you're not creating?

a)Frisbee, reading comics, Super Smash Bros 64,

the bike, picnicking in golden gate park,

movies for free, and taking trips to Los
Angeles/Orange County to visit

my long lost friends and family.

q)Do you have any projects or

shows coming up that you are

particularly excited about?

a)I have a show with Bwana Spoons,

Martin Ontiveros and Grant Gilliland called

The Continuous Spectrum coming up at

Double Punch which is one of those trendy expensive vinyl

figure stores here in SF...and I have a collaborative show

in the works with another local artist who

works in three dimensions. It's
not totally fleshed out and we don't have dates

or anything so I don't want to get too into it,

but I'm very excited about that one.

q)Do you follow contemporary art scenes?

If so, how? What websites, magazines, galleries do you prefer?

a)I browse on a pretty regular

basis and I post my work on the forums at

Both are very excellent places to go if you're looking for inspiration.

q)Ask yourself a question you'd like to answer, and answer it.

a)What do you think about artists who back themselves

into a stylistic corner in order to fit a certain interest group

specifically to make money? Art making should be about

doing what's satisfying to you and hoping

that people relate to it enough to want to make it a

part of their lives. It's a mistake to think too strongly

about the business end of things. As of now I have no idea

what it's like to make any sort of money via my art.

I just do it because I've always done it. But I'm certainly

at that point where I'd like to start working less and making

art more. If you're doing your own thing and you're good at it,

people will eventually recognize and appreciate

your work, which is when an artist starts to become successful.

q)Any advice for aspiring artists?

a)I think I just answered that question sort of...

but go get yourself a sketchbook and start developing

something all your own. Always keep it with you

and draw in that thing every day. You don't have to get

a degree but it's a good idea to at least take

classes at your local community college to keep

fresh thoughts and ideas running through your head.

q)Where can we see more of your work online?

a)On flickr or on myspace for the time being as

my website is currently "under construction."

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