Today we’d like to introduce you to Jeff Iorillo.
Jeff, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
A lifelong Californian, I grew up in West LA in the 70’s, riding my orange Schwinn bike to the beach as a kid. After many years in San Francisco and a good long run as an advertising agency creative director, I moved back to LA for love and to pursue a second career in fine art. During my SF days I got into things like yoga, meditation, and chi gong, practices I’ve kept up for a couple of decades now that definitely inform my life and my work.
Today I live in Silver Lake with my husband and our dog Chaka, rescued from an LA County shelter. My studio is at home and I work every day, showing in galleries around LA as well as recent exhibitions in Japan and Italy. My paintings are represented by galleries on the West Coast and have found their way into collections and public installations from LA to Hong Kong to Mexico City.
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?
I’m a painter, sculptor, filmmaker and performance artist working in acrylic, enamel and mixed media on canvas, masonite, and metal, as well as clay, plaster, sheet steel, and video. Basically I’ve never met a material I’m not curious to try!
I’m what’s known as a “process artist”, meaning I’m inspired by the process of investigating and manipulating the materials more than a concept or message I’m trying to communicate.
California’s sense of limitless possibilities and its role as the place where new ideas come to life have informed my approach to making artwork. I was a child when Southern California art came into its own with the “Light and Space,” “Finish Fetish” and other movements fueled by new materials and technologies born in SoCal’s aerospace, surfboard, and automotive industries. I like to think I’m working in the SoCal tradition of experimentation and development of new and original approaches to creating art.
I’m intrigued by organic materials and using destructive processes to create work. For example, I burn bamboo from my back yard to create a dense, crunchy black ash that I use as a sculptural material and texture, with melted beeswax as glue. I created one body of work, my “Sun Paintings”, by setting vats of watered acrylic paint and crushed marble in my backyard during heat waves to dry down to a thick crust.
I’m looking to create images and objects with a presence that feels substantial, inhabited. I’m less interested in communicating my own story than I am in providing a moment of contemplation or fascination that invites the viewer to create their own.
When somebody just wants to spend some time staring at a piece, or says they simply got really into being with it–that’s when I’ve succeeded, that’s when my work means something to someone else that I could not have predicted.
This attitude found some friends when I became one of the LA Mud People, a tribe of urban primitives who appear unpredictably, nearly naked and smeared with clay, wearing sculpted heads that obscure our faces. Mud People are silent, curious, slowly and gently exploring their surroundings, not doing much. As “non-performance” artists, we interrupt the normal frenzy of city life in a way that invites others to slow down and stop thinking so hard and experience a moment of quiet curiosity themselves.
Do you have any advice for other artists? Any lessons you wished you learned earlier?
Yes, two brutally simple pieces of advice that I’ve found are totally true:
One, if you want to be a professional artist, then be a professional artist. That means work every day, focus on what you’re doing, be able to talk and write about your work. It means show up on time, deliver your work when you’re supposed to, be ready to show when you’re invited, have your act together in terms of your website, promo materials, Instagram etc. No whining, no excuses, no drama. Be a professional.
Two, if you want to be part of the art world, then be a part of the art world. This means get out to the galleries and museum shows, attend artist talks and curator lectures, read the local art pubs online and magazine, join professional associations and facebook groups, take classes and workshops and teach classes and lead workshops, make friends with other artists because those are the colleagues who will invite you to show with them, even consider curating shows yourself.
I have heard that there are more artists working in LA right now than any other place on the planet at any other time in history! So the competition is crazy but the community is rather wonderful. Find your tribe, have friends you like to show with, find the galleries that are right for you, and step up and participate.
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 show regularly at Gallery 825 on La Cienega near Santa Monica Blvd., home of the LA Art Association. A video I made with a Japanese Butoh artist will be included in the show there that runs through June 1. I’ll have work in a show at LA Artcore Brewery Annex for the month of May. I just completed a 7 by 10-foot painting that’s installed in the lobby of a new highrise on Wilshire and Crescent Heights. And there’s no telling when or where the LA Mud People will appear.
Last year I was in over a dozen shows in SoCal and beyond; two sculptural pieces were featured in the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art’s Sculpture Biennial. In November I traveled to Naples, Italy to show my 60-second video, “Arrivederci Napoli,” and a suite of paintings it inspired. In 2015 I took my gnarly, colorful Sun Paintings to Japan for international shows at the Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art and in Kyoto.
To support my work, come and see it, check it out on Instagram, or even better–invite me to show it somewhere!
- Website: www.jeffiorillo.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jeffiorilloart/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jeffiorilloart
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/jeffiorilloart
Photo #3 of me in front of my work talking to Tulsa Kinney, Editor-In-Chief of Artillery Magazine: used by permission