Android Jones Interview & Opening Reception Photos
Meghan Hope LeClair spent some time with Android Jones for an in depth interview for our friends over at Sensible Reason. Here’s an excerpt from her amazing interview.
As a visual creator, you utilize a plentitude of various mediums. What are your favored forms of creative manifestation?
In the past decade or so, I’ve invested a lot of my energy into the medium of electricity and making art with electricity: electric art. There are new creative tools coming out at an exponential rate….. tools that have evolved to meet the needs and desires of our own consciousness.
It is interesting to zoom out and place myself in a cultural context of where I am as an artist in the greater scheme of things, of how I fit into the several thousand year-old conversation of art history. The artists that I have admired the most have always had one thing in common – their art wasn’t just about themselves, but also about pushing the whole art movement forward and that way pushing humanity forward. Many of them had utilized or even invented tools that were considered advanced or unusual in their age. The paintbrush was a piece of technology at one point, and papyrus and paper. Now we live in an age with some of the most incredible breakthroughs. What digital does for me—with Wacom, and Photoshop and the various programs—is it unleashes the bandwidth of my ability to create and it’s gotten to the point now where it cycles back. At first it was truly mind boggling just having these tools where you had control over thousands of colors and shapes and textures. I could paint with photographs and all these ways of being creative that I wasn’t even aware of when I was growing up. So you have these new epochs that keep opening and opening, and what’s really exciting about it for me now, is that many of these tools have become second nature.
As an artist, I don’t take credit for the art that comes through—not that it’s beyond what one human can do but because for me it’s a distillation and an abstraction of reality that happens when the artist allows it to happen. It’s taking the infinite molecular density of everything around me — and this incredible mystery that cannot be understood — distilling it and abstracting it into a way of communicating with other people. So these tools allow me to communicate more, they allow me to communicate it faster and they allow me to communicate it in a way that I had never done before. But not only that — after years of use, when the tools start becoming second nature—they have a direct effect on the way that I imagine and my imagination itself. So now I can imagine with these tools. When I think of an idea or concept, it’s not just what I could draw with a piece of graphite, for example, but with the availability of a growing number of incredible programs I have the possibility to create something that would never have been possible with a piece of graphite. It also takes significantly less amount of time to achieve a high level of complexity through a digital medium than through a traditional medium. Oil paintings can take months…… I’d never be able to create the breadth of work that I do now. That would be humanly impossible. No matter how many colored pencils, or how much time I had, it would be impossible to recreate all of the shapes and tones and values with any traditional medium. I am infinitely grateful that we have these amazing tools and pieces of technology, and a delivery method like, the Internet, where we can share all of these things instantaneously. It’s easy to take what we have for granted after we’ve had it for a while; we get used to it. But as far as where human consciousness has been for the past 100,000 years on this planet and what we’re capable of now…it’s pretty amazing.
How do you view the role of technology in the advancement of personal expression?
I see that technology is an incredible opportunity. It comes back to when we were talking about the esoteric. There are different definitions, but for me, ‘esoteric’ in the best sense of the word alludes to the idea that everything is alive; that nature is a living organism and we’re all part of something together. There is no separateness in esoteric ideas. When it comes to alchemy it is about a fundamental integration and incorporation of everything as one larger machine. I’m obviously a big fan of technology; I don’t see it as something that is removed or alien from us. I see technology as just an extension of our own consciousness. That’s where it really came from…materials from our earth, our consciousness, language, and the reality around us. If that is the case, then we are intimately connected with it. It becomes about using the opportunity it brings. We are connected to it and disconnected from everything at the same time. We’re in the Maya of our own illusions. As an artist I feel a certain responsibility, an obligation and an opportunity to make the most that I can with the tools that I have available. Communicate what you need to, while you can. Don’t take it for granted.
I don’t see technology as something that is going to continue forever. I assume that there is probably a cap to it…but you never know how the whole story is going to go, as there are many theories about it. Really, I think it is important to recognize how amazing it is that we have it now.
What is the inspiration behind this exhibition, MASS-droid?
The bulk of the work in this particular show I created on the road. I do a lot of art touring in a vehicle that I call the “Night Rainbow.” It’s a military box truck that’s converted into a digital studio. I’ve got it rigged up with monitors and a power generator, an alternator and deep cell batteries. It’s a fully self-contained mobile art studio. For almost two months I spent my time making content….. and I made one big, long continuous image. Then I printed it out, and worked on it some more. This exhibition is displaying an aspect of that show.
To me, an art show is often a call-to-arms…a way of saying, ‘What do you have right now? What can you reasonably create with the assets that you have available to try and inspire and uplift people?’ MASS-droid is the result of me trying to push the envelope and see how big I can make pieces that still are whole. I wanted to go larger than I ever had before, and I also wanted to put forth a template that I could use for all of my work. For example, there are certain base limitations, metrics of our reality, and how we build things—things fit into sizes; things need to fit into trucks, into boxes, into shipping containers…… I am experimenting with how to utilize available assets to create the largest impact. This show involves light boxes and other works as well but what I am most excited about are these 3’ x 8’ wooden panels as I mount the prints to them and stack them to create one continuous image. What I like about this aspect of it is that as a template I don’t need a driver to come out and drive the work out here. Transportation is always something that you have to consider in art shows. I have some bigger pieces in light boxes, but what I think is fun about this particular show is that I could show up with a check book and a zip-drive and recreate the show anywhere I wanted to go. All the materials I need are at a Home Depot and any Kinko’s with large HD printers that can print the work out. I could recreate this anywhere I wanted to go.
This is another example of how certain technologies and mediums of digital art are able to redefine what is possible. This art was once just something on a monitor of mine, and now its eight feet tall and fills half of the gallery. I like to push what I am capable of creating. And I do spend a lot of time on the monitor and in the virtual world of my own art, so it is kind of nice to be able to step back and see it as a whole. Each piece can be (and has been sold as) an individual abstract piece, but I like the idea of work that can be bigger, that can tell a larger story and be displayed outside as well, be a mural….. This method simply fits into certain parameters that make it easy it distribute and share on a physical plane.
Read the full interview on Sensible Reason:
Thanks to Timmy D’Antonio photography for capturing the night of Android’s opening reception. Also a huge thanks to David Block and The Human Experience for creating a perfect environment in which to view the large scale worlds on display in the gallery. Enjoy the pictures and we’ll see you in June.