Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Storied Objects: Q&A with Jason McLean

Artist Jason McLean, who recently moved to Toronto after 18 years in Vancouver, has a pretty interesting practice. As I've mentioned here before, he works in drawing as well as sculpture and multiples. Particularly striking are his reworkings of sports equipment, such as those seen above.

Since McLean is having a show at Jessica Bradley in Toronto right now, it seemed an opportune time to sit down and have a chat. Today, a condensed version of same was published in the National Post. Here's an excerpt:

Q Often you paint on old photographs or used sports equipment. Why?

A Sometimes I enjoy the awkwardness between sports and art. I'ma closet sports fan, and I like the way a recognizable object opens up to a larger audience.

The photos partly started when I worked for Adbusters. They wanted me to work over 40or 50 pharmaceutical photos. Book art by people like Marc Bell influenced me, too.

But sometimes, there's so much age in an object you can't go wrong working with it! It's kind of like an older person who has all sorts of stories. It's so much more interesting than someone new, in a way.
Q In addition to making art, you collect it. Why?

A It's like an addiction, I guess. In my early years, I liked to collect sporting cards, trading them and getting deals.

Art collecting is sometimes about remembering people when you leave a city. Sometimes it's about wanting to make a home feel different. Sometimes people inspire you, so if you can acquire something of theirs, it seems magical.

I'm really into trading art, too. We've traded art for wholesale fruit, birthing doulas, house tiling and law work. It's like, what can't you trade? I've never traded for a car, but then again, I don't drive.

Image of one of McLean's works (not in the Bradley show) from StyleServer

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