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Home FEATURES Jacob Tillman Interview

Jacob Tillman Interview
Written by Bryson Gill   
Friday, 02 September 2011 11:24

BG: So Jacob, before I enquire about your upcoming September show (Fri, Sept 9th) at Mark Wolfe in San Francisco, I'm inclined to ask a few brief but personal bio questions about your history and upbringing because I think you have an incredible past.

Interviewed by Bryson Gill


Small Moon, 5 x 3 inches. Gouache and spray paint on postcard, 2011

Can you tell me about where you grew up, about your father as a Minister and the story about how that affected you (and your family), and also how and why you ended up in the Bay Area and finally in Los Angeles?

JT: I grew up in Colorado near Boulder. Until I was aged 14 my dad was a pastor in Christian churches. The earlier church where he was assistant pastor was very much like the famous "Evangelical" churches that are featured in the documentary "Jesus Camp". There were miracles, spectacles, speaking in tongues, a pool for baptizing. Sometimes church members would line up around the stage and my dad would lay his hands on their heads and pray. When this had gone on long enough, the person would be knocked over by the power of God, falling into the waiting arms of deacons to lay on the floor crying from the experience. I was suspicious, so one time I got in the line. My dad put his hands on my head, I think my arms were in the air, and then I fell.

I was a child being lead to believe in the full text of the bible, the beginning, immaculate conception, worldwide flooding from rain, eternal suffering in Hell, and everlasting life in Heaven.

There I was, laying flat on my back asking myself if I had been knocked over by supernatural force or what? I went up knowing I was going to fall so was this a real thing? I had my doubts. Somehow I always felt like I was being tricked, and I still feel like that sometimes. Now I mostly feel like other people are being tricked and I'm not, but I catch myself back on the other side of that line occasionally. When my dad started his own church the theatrics were toned down a little, but the belief was notched up. No fakers. I think I could fill a book with the stories from my childhood and the lessons I learned from questioning my surroundings, this is just a teaser. My love for skateboarding and punk rock lead me to the Bay Area and I moved to LA to attend grad school at UCLA.


Still Life with Sculptural Element (Water), 60 x 60 inches. Oil on canvas, 2010

BG: How do you like LA? Do you have a favorite food cart or any sketchy food cart stories?

JT: I love LA. People are very free to express themselves here, and not just in a politically correct, socially accepted way. Anything goes. "Beto's" is my favorite food truck. It's on Jefferson near Burnside from 7:00-11:00pm and I highly recommend their tacos al pastor. The food is not sketchy.

BG: How was UCLA and who did you work with there?

JT: UCLA was really great. I pretty much stuck with the painting faculty, they offer a genuine painting program where you go into the studio and work. I think it's what people expect from MFA programs but rarely find. I was very inspired by Lari Pittman, Roger Herman, and Don Suggs and worked with them repeatedly. UCLA a real gem! The library is AMAZING!!! Because I was a grad student and UCLA is a research institution they let me check out as many books as I want and for like 2 months at a time. I still have a lot out even now! I'll have to return them soon though as I'm moving to NYC.


Outer Space Series 1, 12 x 8 inches. Gouache, graphite on gessoed paper, 2011

BG: Your last show at Mark Wolfe was right after graduate school and you had made a pretty extensive group of paintings. How would you describe that show and how are you thinking this show will be different in terms of approach and art work?

JT: I was still in school for the last show, and I had nothing to do except paint! It was so nice. There were paintings in that show that I really felt were good and others that I was suspicious of, in spite of the ample time I had to work. Now I have to work full-time to pay for my studio practice and bills and every moment I have to make art is precious. It gives me a different appreciation of the dedication I have to this conversation of art. I feel very privileged to make art with my spare time. It doesn't hurt that I enjoy my work at the wood shop very much as well. I'm glad to do both kinds of work.


Dried Bouquet Hanging, 120 x 84 inches. Oil on canvas, 2010

BG: I know you've been making a lot of furniture lately. Does that change the way you're thinking about making art in general? By that I mean that making furniture is typically pragmatic and straightforward and has a clear endpoint. Do you approach making drawings and paintings with a similar clear idea to begin and with and an endpoint in mind?

JT: I think most of the process of drawing and painting is "pragmatic and straightforward and has a clear endpoint." But when you get to those "endpoints" you look at what you have and ask questions about it and the "endpoints" turn out to be milestones. You say "yea" or "nay" or "so be it," and set out for a new "endpoint" over and over. You learn what you can along the way, learn to be open to experiences and judge false confidence, and artwork is the product of this journey and you are a product of your artistic practice. It's a process of self direction and self examination that allows you to live independently.

BG: Does your cat still feature frequently in your drawings?

JT: The way I cared for her is similar to the way I care for my work. Like it's a living thing that's independent and takes care of itself except when it doesn't. And my life is still very much a part of my drawings and paintings in a narrative way. Death is also a part of it. That comes through in the mood and quality of my work. I wouldn't expect anyone to be able to translate my life story from looking at my artwork, but hopefully be able to relate to the images with their own experiences.


Flight 2, 12 x 8 inches. Graphite on gessoed paper, 2011

BG: With the exception of some vase and flower drawings it seems like these new works are more abstract. Do you have a particular slant towards abstraction right now or is the transition just happening. Or is it not happening and I'm just projecting?

JT: I'm able to approach abstraction in a more honest way than I ever have before. There's something about the free way ideas flick off the tip of a pencil. Whenever I've tried doing abstract images in the past I feel like I have to really force it, with the armature of a representational image I have the freedom to wander in the direction of abstraction. The image is independent of the rules that apply to things in the real world and that makes working on them an adventure. Now I can also do abstraction that wanders in the direction of representation. It works in a similar way. Every one is an independent adventure that is related to my experiences in the real world which is also a crazy adventure.


Outer Space Series 2, 12 x 8 inches. Gouache, graphite on gessoed paper, 2011

BG: Are there types of art or art work that you're diabolically opposed to and types that get you juiced whenever you see them? I remember for a while that you had an affinity towards the Chicago imagists. Who else? and what other influence slip into your work.

JT: In all genres there is interesting, thought provoking work and junk. Mostly junk I'm afraid, but as I work in relationship to the stuff that inspires me and the junk I find myself learning to appreciate things that I have previously dismissed and sometimes dismissing things I used to find inspiring. I think that may be the point of it all.


Small Meeting, 16 x 18 inches. Graphite on gessoed canvas, 2010


Still Life with Ancient Technique, 14 x 14 inches. Oil on canvas, 2010


Untitled Machine Drawing, 12 x 8 inches. Graphite on gessoed paper, 2011


Untitled Machine Drawing 2, 12 x 8 inches. Graphite on gessoed paper, 2011

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Links:
http://www.wolfecontemporary.com
http://www.jacobtillman.com
http://www.brysongill.com

Mark Wolfe Contemporary Art is pleased to present By Extension, an exhibition of new paintings and works on paper by gallery favorite Jacob Tillman in his second solo outing.

In this new body of work, Tillman further develops his idiosyncratic interpretation of time and space, exploring the relationship between exterior spaces, interior planes, and the dimensionality of the objects within. Gravity takes on a subtly mercurial quality, allowing objects to shift, hover, and realign in a way that seems self-considered. Simultaneously, individual claims to the third dimension become lost, with features abstracting into patterns, and visual rhythms emerging from dynamics of texture, surface, substance, air, and light. The works challenge, puzzle, and always compel.

Tillman received his MFA in painting from UCLA in 2010. In addition to shows at Wolfe Contemporary, he has exhibited in Los Angeles, Prague, Salzburg, and Rome, and has completed residencies at J.B. Blunk (Inverness, CA) and Galleria Studio Legale (Rome).

+++++

Showing in the Gallery Ell will be paintings by Sarah Thibault, a recent MFA graduate from the California College of the Arts. Thibault’s paintings of the interiors of antique shops breathe life into the sculptures, vases, and chandeliers within. Through texture, color and light, a spectral quality is imbued which invites contemplation of their storied pasts and uncertain futures.

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Peter Gronquist @The Shooting Gallery

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Berlin based Jay Bo recently held a solo show at Hamburg's Circle Culture featuring some of his most recent paintings. We lvoe his work.


NYCHOS @Fifty24SF

Fifty24SF opened Street Anatomy, a new solo show by Austrian artist Nychos a week ago last Friday night. He's been steadily filling our city with murals over the last year, with one downtown on Geary St. last summer, and new ones both in the Haight and in Oakland within the last few weeks, but it was really great to see his work up close and in such detail.


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John Felix Arnold III on the Road to NYC

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FRENCH in Melbourne

London based illustrator FRENCH recently held a show of new works at the Melbourne based Mild Manners


Henry Gunderson at Ever Gold, SF

Ever Gold opened a new solo show by NYC based Henry Gunderson a couple Saturday nights ago and it was literally packed. So packed I couldn't actually see most of the art - but a big crowd doesn't seem like a problem. I got a good laugh at what I would call the 'cock climbing wall' as it was one of the few pieces I could see over the crowd. I haven't gotten a chance to go back and check it all out again, but I'm definitely going to as the paintings that I could get a peek at were really high quality and intruiguing. You should do the same.


Mario Wagner @Hashimoto

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Serge Gay Jr. @Spoke Art

The paintings in the show are each influenced by a musician, ranging from Freddy Mercury, to Madonna, to A Tribe Called Quest and they are so stylistically consistent with each musician's persona that they read as a cohesive body of work with incredible variation. If you told me they were each painted by a different person, I would not hesitate to believe you and it's really great to see a solo show with so much variety. The show is fun, poppy, very well done, and absolutely worth a look and maybe even a listen.


NYCHOS Mural on Ashbury and Haight

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The Albatross and the Shipping Container

Beautiful piece entitled "The Albatross and the Shipping Container", Ink on Paper, Mounted to Panel, 47" Diameter, by San Francisco based Martin Machado now on display at FFDG. Stop in Saturday (1-6pm) to view the group show "Salt the Skies" now running through April 19th. 2277 Mission St. at 19th.


The Marsh Barge - Traveling the Mississippi River from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico

For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to quit my job, move out of my house, leave everything and travel again. So on August 21, 2013 I pushed a canoe packed full of gear into the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Lake Itasca, Minnesota, along with four of my best friends. Exactly 100 days later, I arrived at a marina near the Gulf of Mexico in a sailboat.



contact FF

Alexis Anne Mackenzie - 2/28
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 10:21

SAN FRANCISCO --- Alexis Anne Mackenzie opens Multiverse at Eleanor Harwood in the Mission on Saturday, Feb 28th. -details

a_m


 

The Death of the Artist—and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur
Wednesday, 21 January 2015 10:34

When works of art become commodities and nothing else, when every endeavor becomes “creative” and everybody “a creative,” then art sinks back to craft and artists back to artisans—a word that, in its adjectival form, at least, is newly popular again. Artisanal pickles, artisanal poems: what’s the difference, after all? So “art” itself may disappear: art as Art, that old high thing. Which—unless, like me, you think we need a vessel for our inner life—is nothing much to mourn.

lead

Hard-working artisan, solitary genius, credentialed professional—the image of the artist has changed radically over the centuries. What if the latest model to emerge means the end of art as we have known it? --continue reading

 

"Six Degrees" @FFDG
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17_ms

Work by Meryl Pataky

 

In Wake of Attack, Comix Legend Says Satire Must Stay Offensive
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Ron-Turner

Ron Turner of Last Gasp

"[Satire] is important because it brings out the flaws we all have and throws them up on the screen of another person," said Turner. “How they react sort of shows how important that really is.” Later, he added, "Charlie took a hit for everybody." -read on

 

Solidarity
Thursday, 08 January 2015 09:36

charlie

 

SF Bay Area: What Might Have Been
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tiburonbridge

The San Francisco Bay Area is renowned for its tens of thousands of acres of beautiful parks and public open spaces.

What many people don't know is that these lands were almost lost to large-scale development. link

 

1/5/14 - Going Back
Monday, 05 January 2015 10:49

As we work on our changes, we're leaving Squarespace and coming back to the old server. Updates are en route.

The content that was on the site between May '14 and today is history... Whatever, wasn't interesting anyway. All the good stuff from the last 10 years is here anyway.

###########
 

Jacob Mcgraw-Mikelson & Rachell Sumpter @Park Life (5/23)
Friday, 23 May 2014 09:22

Opening tonight, Friday May 23rd (7-10pm) at Park Life in the Inner Richmond (220 Clement St) is Again Home Again featuring works from the duo Jacob Mcgraw-Mikelson & Rachell Sumpter who split time living in Sacramento and a tiny island at the top of Pudget Sound with their children.

Jacob Magraw will be showing embroidery pieces on cloth along with painted, gouache works on paper --- Rachell Sumpter paints scenes of colored splendor dropped into scenes of desolate wilderness. ~show details

park_life

 

NYPD told to carry spray paint to cover graffiti
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 10:37

nyc_graffitiNYC --- A new graffiti abatement program put forth by the police commissioner has beat cops carrying cans of spray paint to fill in and cover graffiti artists work in an effort to clean up the city --> Many cops are thinking it's a waste of resources, but we're waiting to see someone make a project of it. Maybe instructions for the cops on where to fill-in?

The NYPD is arming its cops with cans of spray paint and giving them art-class-style lessons to tackle the scourge of urban graffiti, The Post has learned.

Shootings are on the rise across the city, but the directive from Police Headquarters is to hunt down street art and cover it with black, red and white spray paint, sources said... READ ON

 

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Wednesday, 16 June 2010 17:39


Headlands Center Fundraiser -6/4/14
Tuesday, 20 May 2014 07:54

SAN FRANCISCO --- The Headlands Center for the Arts is preparing for their largest fundraiser of the year set to go down on June 4th at SOMArts here in the city. Art auction, food, drinks, live music, etc and all for helping to support a great institution up in the Marin Headlands. ~details

ABOUT HEADLANDS
Headlands Center for the Arts provides an unparalleled environment for the creative process and the development of new work and ideas. Through a range of programs for artists and the public, we offer opportunities for reflection, dialogue, and exchange that build understanding and appreciation for the role of art in society.

headlands

 

Congrats, Dudes(ette)
Monday, 19 May 2014 09:29

Just want to say congrats to Fecal Face's Rachel Ralph for graduating from SFAI with her masters in curatorial studies. Also want to congratulate Alex Ziv who also just got his MFA in painting. Also a high five to the talented Mario Ayala who also just graduated from SFAI as well! --- All super talented artists (thinkers), and we're excited to see what the future holds for them!

 

 

 


 

 

 

Alison Blickle @NYC's Kravets Wehby Gallery

Los Angeles based Alison Blickle who showed here in San Francisco at Eleanor Harwood last year (PHOTOS) recently showed new paintings in New York at Kravets Wehby Gallery. Lovely works.


Interview w/ Kevin Earl Taylor

We haven't been featuring many interviews as of late. Let's change that up as we check in with a few local San Francisco artists like Kevin Earl Taylor here whom we studio visited back in 2009 (PHOTOS & VIDEO). It's been awhile, Kevin...


Peter Gronquist @The Shooting Gallery

If you like guns and boobs, head on over to the Shooting Gallery; just don't expect the work to be all cheap ploys and hot chicks. With Make Stuff by Peter Gronquist (Portland) in the main space and Morgan Slade's Snake in the Eagle's Shadow in the project space, there is plenty spectacle to be had, but if you look just beyond it, you might actually get something out of the shows.


Jay Bo at Hamburg's Circle Culture

Berlin based Jay Bo recently held a solo show at Hamburg's Circle Culture featuring some of his most recent paintings. We lvoe his work.


NYCHOS @Fifty24SF

Fifty24SF opened Street Anatomy, a new solo show by Austrian artist Nychos a week ago last Friday night. He's been steadily filling our city with murals over the last year, with one downtown on Geary St. last summer, and new ones both in the Haight and in Oakland within the last few weeks, but it was really great to see his work up close and in such detail.


Gator Skater +video

Nate Milton emailed over this great short Gator Skater which is a follow-up to his Dog Skateboard he emailed to us back in 2011... Any relation to this Gator Skater?


Ferris Plock Online Show Now Online as of April 25th

5 new wonderful large-scale paintings on wood panel are available. visit: www.ffdg.net


ClipODay II: Needles & Pens 11 Years!!

Congrats on our buddies at Needles and Pens on being open and rad for 11 years now. Mission Local did this little short video featuring Breezy giving a little heads up on what Needles and Pens is all about.


BANDES DE PUB / STRIP BOX

In a filmmaker's thinking, we wish more videos were done in this style. Too much editing and music with a lacking in actual content. Just because you can doesn't mean you should.


AJ Fosik in Tokyo at The Hellion Gallery

Matt Wagner recently emailed over some photos from The Hellion Gallery in Tokyo, who recently put together a show with AJ Fosik (Portland) called Beast From a Foreign Land. The gallery gave twelve of Fosik's sculptures to twelve Japanese artists (including Hiro Kurata who is currently showing in our group show Salt the Skies) to paint, burn, or build upon.


Ferris Plock - Online Show, April 25th

FFDG is pleased to announce an exclusive online show with San Francisco based Ferris Plock opening on Friday, April 25th (12pm Pacific Time) featuring 5 new medium sized acrylic paintings on wood.


GOLD BLOOD, MAGIC WEIRDOS

Backwoods Gallery in Melbourne played host to a huge group exhibition a couple of weeks back, with "Gold Blood, Magic Weirdos" Curated by Melbourne artist Sean Morris. Gold Blood brought together 25 talented painters, illustrators and comic artists from Australia, the US, Singapore, England, France and Spain - and marked the end of the Magic Weirdos trilogy, following shows in Perth in 2012 and London in 2013.


Jeremy Fish at LA's Mark Moore Gallery

San Francisco based Fecal Pal Jeremy Fish opened his latest solo show Hunting Trophies at LA's Mark Moore Gallery last week to massive crowds and cabin walls lined with imagery pertaining to modern conquest and obsession.


John Felix Arnold III on the Road to NYC

Well, John Felix Arnold III is at it again. This time, he and Carolyn LeBourgios packed an entire show into the back of a Prius and drove across the country to install it at Superchief Gallery in NYC. I met with him last week as he told me about the trip over delicious burritos at Taqueria Cancun (which is right across the street from FFDG and serves what I think is the best burrito in the city) as the self proclaimed "Only overweight artist in the game" spilled all the details.


FRENCH in Melbourne

London based illustrator FRENCH recently held a show of new works at the Melbourne based Mild Manners


Henry Gunderson at Ever Gold, SF

Ever Gold opened a new solo show by NYC based Henry Gunderson a couple Saturday nights ago and it was literally packed. So packed I couldn't actually see most of the art - but a big crowd doesn't seem like a problem. I got a good laugh at what I would call the 'cock climbing wall' as it was one of the few pieces I could see over the crowd. I haven't gotten a chance to go back and check it all out again, but I'm definitely going to as the paintings that I could get a peek at were really high quality and intruiguing. You should do the same.


Mario Wagner @Hashimoto

Mario Wagner (Berkeley) opened his new solo show A Glow that Transfers Creativity last Saturday night at Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco.


Serge Gay Jr. @Spoke Art

The paintings in the show are each influenced by a musician, ranging from Freddy Mercury, to Madonna, to A Tribe Called Quest and they are so stylistically consistent with each musician's persona that they read as a cohesive body of work with incredible variation. If you told me they were each painted by a different person, I would not hesitate to believe you and it's really great to see a solo show with so much variety. The show is fun, poppy, very well done, and absolutely worth a look and maybe even a listen.


NYCHOS Mural on Ashbury and Haight

NYCHOS completed this great new mural on the corner of Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco on Tuesday. Looks Amazing.


Sun Milk in Vienna

With rising rent in SF and knowing mostly other young artists without capitol, I desired a way to live rent free, have a space to do my craft, and get to see more of the world. Inspired by the many historical artists who have longed similar longings I discovered the beauty of artist residencies. Lilo runs Adhoc Collective in Vienna which not only has a fully equipped artists creative studio, but an indoor halfpipe, and private artist quarters. It was like a modern day castle or skate cathedral. It exists in almost a utopic state, totally free to those that apply and come with a real passion for both art and skateboarding


"How To Lose Yourself Completely" by Bryan Schnelle

I just wanted to share with you a piece I recently finished which took me 4 years to complete. Titled "How To Lose Yourself Completely (The September Issue)", it consists of a copy of the September 2007 issue of Vogue magazine (the issue they made the documentary about) with all faces masked with a sharpie, and everything else entirely whited out. 840 pages of fun. -Bryan Schnelle


Tyler Bewley ~ Recent Works

Some great work from San Francisco based Tyler Bewley.


Kirk Maxson and Alexis Mackenzie at Eleanor Harwood Gallery

While walking our way across San Francisco on Saturday we swung through the opening receptions for Kirk Maxson and Alexis Mackenzie at Eleanor Harwood Gallery in the Mission.


Jeremy Fish Solo Show in Los Angeles

Jeremy Fish opens Hunting Trophies tonight, Saturday April 5th, at the Los Angeles based Mark Moore Gallery. The show features new work from Fish inside the "hunting lodge" where viewers climb inside the head of the hunter and explore the history of all the animals he's killed.


The Albatross and the Shipping Container

Beautiful piece entitled "The Albatross and the Shipping Container", Ink on Paper, Mounted to Panel, 47" Diameter, by San Francisco based Martin Machado now on display at FFDG. Stop in Saturday (1-6pm) to view the group show "Salt the Skies" now running through April 19th. 2277 Mission St. at 19th.


The Marsh Barge - Traveling the Mississippi River from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico

For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to quit my job, move out of my house, leave everything and travel again. So on August 21, 2013 I pushed a canoe packed full of gear into the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Lake Itasca, Minnesota, along with four of my best friends. Exactly 100 days later, I arrived at a marina near the Gulf of Mexico in a sailboat.


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