Text by Elisabeth Labelle From a small town in rural Wisconsin, Jesse Draxler now lives in Minneapolis (MN, USA) where he works restlessly in his new studio. His artwork reflects the minimalist aesthetic of his atelier, rarely using colors other than black, white and grey. If he used to draw as a child, collage has become his medium of predilection. Paintings, sculptures, gifs and garments are only a few examples of what he can do with his impressive technique and distinctive style. Here is a part of the interview that Flanelle Magazine has made with Jesse in our October Geometry Issue :
FM: Let’s go back to the beginning. When did you start making art and experimenting with your own style?
JD: I’ve been drawing since I was a small child, but I don’t think it was called art until relatively recent. Style has always been of utmost importance to me and my practice, so I’ve always been aware of its role. I think within the past year or so it has become more direct and succinct, closer to my intention.
FM: Your hand-crafted technique of collage is impressive. How did you become interested in this medium? Were you influenced by other collage artists?
JD: My senior thesis at college was on a subculture’s aesthetic being assimilated into mainstream culture using punk in the 70s & 80s as a case study – this was before the death of subculture years ago. I think that’s where I picked up on collage as a viable form of art. In the beginning, I was influenced by some other collage artists, but only in process not in content.
FM: After visiting your Tumblr, I’m curious to learn more about your creative process. Where do you take your inspiration from and how do you transform it into an art piece?
JD: I don’t separate myself from my work. Instead, my work is simply an extension of me. It’s in the moment, meant to be a fragment of a bigger ideal. I feel it’s all pieces of something larger, elements that build up a point of view, and ways of working through ideas and theories I am trying to understand or come to terms with.
FM: As we can see in KRIZ10, ARMOUR and in many of your UNTITLED paintings, your work often hides or distorts facial features. Why is that so?
JD: The face is a highly relatable signifier, it is very immediate, and quickly brings forward themes of identity and self.
FM: The idea of transformation seems like an important part of your creative process. How did your style and technique transformed over the years?
JD: In every way. A year ago is a lifetime ago. I am always learning from my process, adding new processes, understanding myself and my work more and more. I’ve become stronger in my skill sets and more confident in my intent.
FM: You worked with fashion labels such as OAK NYC & Emma Berg in the past. What do you find interesting about the art of clothing?
JD: I am aesthetic obsessed, in this way I feel akin to the fashion world. Designers have a point of view and may have a message they are trying to convey through their garments, but in the end the shit just has to look cool and be made well – I can totally get behind that.
FM: In your studio, do you work with music in the background? If so, which artists inspire you?
JD: I almost always work with music on so I listen to a lot and am always in search of artists to add to my iPhone. HTRK, Arca, Cocteau Twins, Deftones, Forest Swords, Marilyn Manson, Holy Other, MBV, JJ, oOoOO, Pictureplane, Jai Paul, Zebra Katz, Pusha T, Lakutis, Kool A.D. – all in rotation for the past while.
FM: Do you have other dreams you would like to fulfill in the future?
JD: I have abstract dreams. A degree of contentment, a bit of satisfaction, true calm perhaps.
If you wish to see the whole interview, you can find it in our Geometry Issue on magcloud