Today we’d like to introduce you to Jamison Carter.
Jamison, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I’ve been making things ever since I can remember. I grew up in Winston Salem, North Carolina during a time when creativity and the arts were a small push against the southern status quo. That landscape gave me a place, albeit very small, to exist as an outlier and engage in things that didn’t have to do with a means to an end. I was the art kid from K-12, a skateboarder, a paper boy from the age of 12-18, washed dishes and cooked in kitchens, volunteered at a teen hotline, played drums in a “televangicore” punk band called the 700 Club. I was lucky that this small fringe scene existed in a small southern city, it gave me space to be myself and act on my ideas. My mother was/is the over achieving Better Homes and Gardens home decorator. Early in my childhood I remember watching her make a giant (3 x 5 feet) marble and paint painting to match the couch…totally kitsch but still, it was a process that yielded an interesting result, a picture of calculated randomness, devoid of the hand. I had support at home, but the rest of my southern environment was a wall (religious fervor, racism, classism, the cold war and its slow dissolve, etc.) that I eventually came to push against, partly because it pushed against me, but also because it pushed against so many others.
In undergrad at The University Of North Carolina at Greensboro I was a floundering, way too experimental freshman and sophomore that nearly failed out of school. One day a counselor gave me some magic words: “you can major in Art”. I was majoring in social and psychological sciences, while taking art classes as my electives. I wasn’t cut out for the dogma of the discipline, probably because it wasn’t allowing me the space to create. I am forever indebted to my undergrad professors, the late Andy Dunnill, Billy Lee, and a pivotal visiting artist experience with Heidi Fasnacht. I got encouragement and critical discourse, practical skills and the freedom to experiment. This sealed the deal, I was hooked.
I took a couple of years and explored New York and Long Island, applied to grad school and went to Cranbrook in Michigan. I graduated in 2001 from the Sculpture program. I met my future wife in school, Margaret Griffith, and we moved to Los Angeles the summer of 2001. My first official day as the preparator for Margo Leavin Gallery was September 11, 2001…the beginning of change across the board and around the world. I have been in LA ever since, slowly growing an art career and becoming an educator.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
My work investigates the tensions between calculated labored constructions and gestural acts with material. I began this process with bread dough and steel, moving into more conceptual efforts by using color and wire and air, wood and plaster and resin. I often portray celestial bodies to investigate our relationship to them, as well as ideas of death and the perception of it. I find it endlessly interesting how the public’s perception of these bodies changes through new images that are recently and readily available. Through material investigation, a portrayal conveys humanity’s romanticized version of these objects, along with the tension of their physical relationship to the individual. In many ways the aesthetically raw appearance and/or perceived lack of refinement visible in the work is synonymous with the desperation and urgency present in the public psyche. My hope is that by addressing phenomena and discoveries that every human has to deal with, the viewer will take this idea and ease the tensions between themselves and the human world…where we all become more equalized. Commonalities presented in new ways in an effort to show our shared burdens, hopefully calming divisiveness and lessening the fear of the unknown.
It’s also an invitation to enjoy contradictions, things that amplify each other. And to enjoy catharsis—when one thing is wholly defined by its opposite. Putting them together and seeing what happens, with all of it being governed by time as the common element that points us to the systems of understanding, marking, and evaluating. Texture within time is what we crave; it allows us to be seduced into an idea, to ease us into the hard parts.
Have things improved for artists? What should cities do to empower artists?
I think the conditions for artists are ok. There are some definite perks of being in Los Angeles, the gallery scene has grown tremendously in the past few years, which makes for more opportunity to show and participate in the commerce end of things. That also attracts more artists, so competition grows. While there is more art and artists, a good thing in regards to cultural growth, there are not more collectors. There are not more grants, municipal opportunities and/or public art opportunities. Those numbers more or less stay the same. There are an immense number of artists run spaces that operate on the border between non-profit and commercial entities, on occasion providing an entry way into the art market, but more importantly serving as a place to experiment, free from the trappings of the commercial world. It’s very difficult to make a living solely from one’s work, there are very few artists that can do that. That’s why I say there is still work to do on the conditions for artists. I have seen a number of artists, myself included, become educators and thus be able to survive. I also see a lot of artists finding a way to bridge the gap between their fine art practice and product design, or providing creative services. This city is rich with opportunity in that regard; LA is the city of diversity in almost every aesthetic possible.
I would love to see LA embrace it’s unmatched artist base by providing more opportunity for public art, more funding to express the rapidly shifting culture we are experiencing. We are at a unique time when art can embody social change. Los Angeles should be the city to solidify and make this point in time historical. The time to make this moment’s monuments is now.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
I am currently represented by Klowden Mann in Culver City. You can visit www.klowdenmann.com or the brick and mortar space, located at 6023 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232. My last solo was this past June, generally artists have a solo exhibition every 18-24 months. I will be showing work at Untitled Art fair in Miami this December with Klowden Mann.
I also just completed a solo exhibition at La Sierra University in Riverside. There is a catalog that goes with the exhibition that can be affordably ordered at: http://www.blurb.com/b/9049044-jamison-carter-brandstater-gallery
Online I have some work up with Curatorial Hub, www.curatorialhub.com. My website is www.jamisoncarter.net. Studio visits are always welcome, my studio is located at my home in Altadena. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries.
- Website: www.jamisoncarter.net
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/retracnosimaj/
- Other: http://klowdenmann.com/artist/jamison-carter/
Images courtesy the Artist and Klowden Mann
Photos by Lee Thompson