Today we’d like to introduce you to Jordan Haro.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I grew up in Austin, Texas, – which, before Instagram and SXSW, was a genuinely artistically inclined town – raised by a family obsessed with consuming diversity of music, movies, food, culture. Much of the credit of my artistic pursuits goes to my parents, who are believers in the power of art and story. As a young child, it was hard to get me to stop talking. I wouldn’t shut up about anything. I believe this prompted my parents to keep me busy with endless extracurricular art activities to match my enthusiasm for expression. The first artistic milestone – that I can recall – was entering a poetry contest at held at the neighborhood bookstore, at the age of 7, for which I earned second place by way of a poem about the idiosyncrasies of rabbits.
I recall checking out of education pretty early after I realized I could make a bigger impact in life dressing up as a funny character or drawing provocative, satirical drawings during class. My observations and creativity were largely informed via whatever I consumed around me; like the latest news regarding “the war on terror,” or the unspoken comedy surrounding our slack-jawed art teacher who was clearly getting high between classes. I guess you could say that I developed a fascination with the stuff nobody questioned. Why should we accept any of these absurd characters or tales at face value? To me, it was like I was living inside a theater of my own life.
Eventually, school kicked me out, due to the rambunctious perspective which to what dosage amount I had yet to figure out how to share with my audience. Yes, I was the class clown. Years later, studying film seemed like a convenient way to satiate my thirst for life’s little curiosities while simultaneously pleasing the expectations placed upon me to attend college and pursue a career in SOMETHING. I did what I had to do to stick around school for a bit until I realized I was lying to myself about why I was there. I wanted to tell stories for a living, and those stories weren’t going to be found in school. So I left.
Since then, I’ve been cobbling together a life focused on learning more about the world we live in and trying to make some commentary about it along the way. I’ve made something “film-related” in just about every capacity of doing so, from being a dog-handler in a horror movie to directing a feature-length syndicated documentary. Home has been in New Orleans, New York, Austin and now LA – where I produce and direct commercial/promo content to pay the bills – while I focus on telling my own stories in my own voice.
Please tell us about your art.
There are three art forms that I engage in:
First and foremost, I’m a filmmaker. I’ve made documentaries, commercials, narrative films of all shapes and sizes. This has encompassed my career to this point in my life. Filmmaking is the ultimate team sport and is incredibly fun.
I’m a photographer – I love photography more than anything. It’s a talent that comes so naturally to me that it’s also the hardest medium in which I can understand my “voice” with; I feel like I can emulate different styles of photography better than I can provide a “Jordan Haro original.” Street photography is a tremendous passion of mine – to shoot and to consume – because it essentially packs the many complexities of a documentary film in one frame. Check out Vivian Maier – she’s kind of an unknown legend in the game. Surrealist works from folks like Terry Crewdson and Anton Corbijn really stoke my fire, as well. It’s safe to say that I want to find that firey blend of surreal and real.
I’m a writer. I believe this is my greatest and most important skill, yet comes packaged with the deepest recesses of understanding or making sense of my place within its realm. Poetry, essays, and journaling are daily rituals for me. However the podcast medium really attracts me as a medium to get writing out there in a way that isn’t so one-note; I plan on developing and releasing my first self-produced podcast by sometime this summer. I also have a few of scripts in the development pipeline ranging from pilots to feature length narratives.
To be honest, it’s hard for me to feel confident in narrowing down any one theme in my short body of work at this stage of my life. However, I think there is a commonality in my voice that is skeptical about why we universally agree upon anything. Every decision we make echoes onto the next generation in some way – big or small. Human beings are powerful; especially in large numbers! So when we collectively agree upon certain dogmatic ideas and treat that as THE ONLY WAY TO LIVE, we can really put a dent in things. That DENT is what I’m most interested in exploring – the problems we create ourselves, for better or for worse. The standup work of Richard Pryor and Dave Chapelle blew open my mind when I realized how a single art form could tap into so much more of the human experience and transcend the mode of storytelling. All in all, I want to tell stories. In summation, I’m here to ask the bigger questions about ourselves and hopefully learn something along the way.
What do you think about the conditions for artists today? Has life become easier or harder for artists in recent years? What can cities like ours do to encourage and help art and artists thrive?
There are days when I think, “Wow. How lucky are we that we live in a day and age when exchanging infinite information is easy as pressing a button?”
I believe the best of all artists work to invite us to experience something new within their unique perspective, like a storyteller holding the attention of a small, captive audience beside a campfire. But – much like the allegory of a tree falling in the woods – if nobody ever heard it, then did it ever really happen? An artist’s job is to effectively hold up that mirror at just the right angle to just the right moment for society to process the thought of, “Hey! That’s new and important!”
I believe most challenges for artists in 2019 is no different than it ever was. Society keeps expanding into new territory, and our job as artists is to hold up that mirror to society. The peculiar thing is how much of society’s map is enshrouded in darkness beyond our collective awareness versus what has already been done. The Mona Lisa was (and is still) admired as one of the first, best representations of an imperfect human smile steeped in mystique and a chasm of complexity. It was the first and best way that kind of thing had ever been made.
Artists need some amount of money to live and make their craft. Yet money and time are in a constant struggle to ruin or make an artist’s career. Time isn’t what it used to be; these days, society moves so quickly onto the next thing.
I’m a believer that some amount of limitation in either of these departments will help light a fire under your ass and get better results at navigating whatever your rhythm and process might be. Art exists to stir something in us regardless of time. As long as human beings exist, there will be art to be made.
Regarding changes that cities could consider:
1. Cities should always sponsor artistic endeavors with grants and tax dollars. We take it for granted how much access to mass media is sponsored, and there’s always room for more.
2. Healthcare coverage for all. This should be of utmost importance for everyone, artist or not.
3. Another idea I’ve long believed in would be to convert dying suburban retail spaces into live/work spaces reserved for artists.
4. In 2017, NYC passed a pioneering “Freelancer Isn’t Free Act” to protect artists’ promised wages with proof of written contract agreements. I don’t know why more cities haven’t followed suit, as this should be law everywhere.
5. I’m all in favor of destroying all golf courses and turning them into public parks. Some of the best memories in my life have come while in a public park.
6. Lastly, I’m always in favor of more affordable and efficient public transportation!
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
My personal website www.jordanharo.net has my film works, some photos, and a blog I try to regularly keep up.
To support me, follow me on Instagram @jordanhar0.
- Website: jordanharo.net
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @jordanhar0
- Twitter: @jordanhar0