Artist talk with Jure Kastelic 

'Kill Your Darlings', 2020

Acrylic on canvas

170 x 130 cm

Tell us about yourself.
My name is Jure Kastelic and I'm an artist centering my practice around the unsexy side of money like its origin, issuance, governance and the seemingly related rising inequality, declining purchasing power and the fictional trickle-down-economy. Since falling into the rabbit hole of bitcoin I've been painting and talking about its ideas, mythology and community through this lens. 
 


Where did your passion for art begin?
I loved taking photographs with my family's camera and one day I won a local National Geographic competition for kids in Slovenia (where I'm from). This triggered my focus and aspiration, I started looking at Ed Ruscha and other artists using photography in more conceptual ways, which eventually brought me to painting. 

How would you describe your work to someone?
I don't like to question things through art, I like to offer answers that I come to through my research. I test these answers on myself first before shilling any crazy ideas. Practically this means I paint about bitcoin and I bitcoin to paint. I feel this is the money all progressives should know about and use it as a tool to opt out of the crony capitalist society we live in. 

'Winter Jump', 2021

Acrylic on canvas

90 x 90 cm

What are you currently working on?
Currently I'm packing my bags to go to Torre al Cerro art residency in Tuscany with my partner Marta Barina with whom I co-founded Mare Karina. Afterwards I have two exhibitions coming up in Milan, Italy. One with Salotto Studio and the other one at Fabio Gatto Showroom. I'm also presenting some works at the coming Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts (called Iskra Delta this year).

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'Munchhausen trilemma', 2020

Acrylic on canvas

91 x 140 cm

'Conjoined opposites', 2020

Acrylic on canvas

91 x 140 cm

When you start a new work or project, do you plan what you’re going to create or do you improvise?
The majority of my practice consists of reading and learning. You can see most of this process in my Instagram stories. Once I have the message distilled I use an algorithm to make a lot of digital sketches that help me determine how the final physical painting will look like. I also take a lot of photographs of my life and things happening around me which are the base of my works on paper. These are centered more around the idea of what I'd like my life to look like and less on the analytical works that determine how I'll get there.  
 

Can you highlight some of your influences and discuss how your influences have made an impact on you and your practice?
My biggest influences are people outside of art, from cypherpunks like Satoshi Nakamoto and Hal Finney to Internet activists Alexandra Elbakyan (of Sci-Hub), Aaron Swartz, Elizabeth Stark (Lightning network), to pseudonymous Twitter accounts that inform my art practice in ways I'm constantly trying to contextualise. I also enjoy the work of a lot of artists mostly for purely aesthetic reasons.
 

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'Tropicana', 2021

Acrylic on canvas

190 x 190 cm

.What are your plans for the remainder of this year?
I'll be working on works on paper at the residency in Tuscany, refine the AR sculptures we are preparing for the show in Milan (with Marco Martignone and Klemen Kapš) and then, Covid allowing, take a bit of vacation in December before the next exhibition scheduled in January.