Artist talk with Jacob Gerard
“Diamond in the back”, 2020
Acrylic on canvas
Tell us about yourself.
I go by my first and middle name Jacob Gerard. My father was a bad man so I don’t like to use his name. I grew up poor, my adolescence was like a scene from Gummo. I’ve developed a strong sense of humor to cope with all the weird trauma I experienced. I was born in Paterson, NJ. Then mostly lived in the Catskills in upstate NY after my autistic fathers mental illness and drug addiction began to spiral. I graduated from an alternative education program after dropping out in 03’ I think. I moved to Brooklyn, NY around 05’ and worked jobs washing dishes, selling pot, landscaping, warehouse stocking, then carpentry/ construction for the last ten years until I decided the job was so depressing I would rather die then continue. So with that in mind I figured why not try the only thing that I ever had any interest in...art. Which I think leads to the next question.
Where did your passion for art begin?
I always drew. I have ADD and I’m on the autism spectrum. So during school I could never focus on what the teacher was saying if I wasn’t interested. And I also can never stop fidgeting and tearing up napkins and paper. I’m extremely neurotic and annoying haha. So naturally I began drawing whenever I had a moment. It is the only thing that can quite my brain. So I don’t know if that’s where my “passion” for art began. I mean that was in the country. We didn’t have any art books, not a lot of people had internet or cable so it wasn’t until I moved to the city when I was 18 that I saw a painting for the first time that wasn’t an oil painting of a bowl of fruit or a barn. But, maybe it was 08’ during the recession. I got laid off like everyone else here and couldn’t find a job. So that’s when I painted for the first time. I was doing tattoos on my friends and selling pot to try and make money. And I began painting on wood I found in people’s garbage. I would mostly paint pictures I saw in National Geographic. I did a few cowboy painting I thought were really cool. And looking at the paintings I did I felt good about myself for the first time in my life. So ya I think that was when the light turned on my head. But I stopped once I found full time work and It wasn’t until 19’ that I quit my job and tried painting again.
“Extra cowboy”, 2020
Acrylic on canvas
How would you describe your work to someone?
No clue. I don’t know how to describe art at all. I’m pretty uneducated, your guess is as good as mine. Ummmm I tend to use a lot of bright colours s, contrast , patterns and tricks. because usually the theme is kind of dark and depressing, so I might do I painting about doom and gloom end of the world stuff, but I don’t want it to be so depressing so I’ll add a lot of colours and fun animals to distract you a little. Sorry I really don’t have a good answer for this. Sometimes I just tell people I paint the funny pages.
What are you currently working on?
Currently I’m trying to stick to one theme for the first time. I’m trying to do these car crashes. And I working on a paint layering technique. Each time I’ve been experimenting and doing something different to see what I like and don’t like. I’m trying to take the car apart more and more and make it more abstract. Trying to block off sections with colour r to further separate and dissect it, but also stay within a range so it doesn’t become too busy. Like my last painting I did all yellows, pale green, pale blue. Then splash of light pink/peach and the whole think is sitting on two big blue tires. And when you look closely you can see underneath there bits of turquoise and aqua coming through the edges.
When you start a new work or project, do you plan what you’re going to create or do you improvise?
Yes and no. I have folder upon folder of ideas that I write down and save in my phone. And I catalogue every painting and drawing that I like into a different folder on Instagram. It’s really extensive. I have a folder for portraits, tattoos, landscape, patterns and tricks. Literally everything I like in the least bit I save. So sometimes I might think i want to do a series on baseball cards or car crashes. And I’ll do that for a week or two, but for the most part I just scroll through my folders and see things that pop out to me at that moment and draw them down, after filling up a page I begin to
“Crash Pt 6”, 2021
Acrylic on canvas
combine things I like and see if I can mash them together. That’s when I start creating something of my own and run with it. So ya, I feel like a lot of art nerds wouldn’t say this, but I copy a lot. But I always turn it into something of my own and combine stuff from all over. If I feel like I borrowed too much off another artist I will give them credit, but for the most part by the time I re draw it and re paint it 12 times, it’s not even close to what it started as. So
I’m not worried about it.
Can you highlight some of your influences and discuss how your influences have made an impact on you and your practice?
A lot of my work probably always goes back to my original influences which was tattoo flash. Like I said, I moved to NYC a dumb redneck. I really didn’t know anything about art, but I knew I wanted to fill my arms with tattoos ASAP. So I got really into that and began doing it myself on friends. So i got my hands on some sailer Jerry tattoo books and would just copy the flash in them. Aaanyway ya, but as far as when I decided to start painting and learning about art in 19’.. I’d say I was drawn a lot to Basquiat and Warhol. I really loved Otto Dix, but wouldn’t say it effected my work at all. Raymond Pettibon is another obvious choice. But idk, honestly my biggest influence I don’t even know who it is. My brother found this big door on the street with a painting on both sides. He dragged it home and hung it on the walls. I never seen anything like it. I was in love with the style and the way he layered colors and I would just stare at it and try and figure out what the order he laid the paint down and I could never really figure it out and I loved that. It kept me engaged. And the images were kind of dark and bizarre, but the way it was painted kind of distracted me enough I didn’t care. So ya this unknown artist I basically unsuccessfully try and copy every day.
What are your plans for the remainder of this year?
Remainder of this year...that’s a good question. I saved up enough money doing construction so I could focus on art for 2-3 years...I'm not selling shit and I’m running out of money. So something’s gotta give this year. Ideally I will create a website for myself. Reach out to more galleries and stop being so anti social and intimidated. Try and make my work more professional, consistent, and intentional looking. I just want to make enough money that I can paint every day. I have wild depression and anxiety so the only thing that makes me not hate myself is when I do a painting I like. So at the end of the day that’s my goal above everything else. Haha, do something that makes me not hate myself.... Jesus I’m depressing.
“Crash Pt 4”, “crash part 5”, 2020
Acrylic on canvas