anonymous asked:

Ok, I've been following you for a very long time bc I love all of your stories, but the real reason you caught my eye it's bc of how amazing you're as a person! So nice to see people like you in the fandom, it's like you're that wise friend that's always helping us and giving us great advices. God bless you Ivory, you deserve a great life. //jvl anon

Anonymous said: You’re really lovely and I hope you know that. The way you respond to asks in a direct yet gentle manner makes me really glad I followed you in the first place. I see many tumblrs thinking asks/questions from their followers are a waste of time and respond almost negatively to a simple, and normal question. Thanks again!!

Anonymous said: Hey I just wanted to let you know that I think you’re “gukvory answers” thing is a really really good idea, and that I appreciate this effort! Thank you for being so attentive towards your followers and readers :)


Jacob van Loon (on Tumblr) & Chad Wys (on Tumblr)


CW: How influenced are you by art history (less the academic discipline and more the evolution of artistic motifs and ideas throughout time)?

JVL: I’m anchored to certain aesthetics from art history and aesthetics that come from certain disciplines. Allowing unrelated aesthetics to intermingle is my favorite challenge about creating new work. Something I think you can relate to.

CW: Are you personally invested in art theory or critical cultural theories? By extension, do you consider yourself a philosopher?

JVL: I can’t say I’m much of a reader, but when I come across something interesting I tend to pick it apart obsessively. The First Flowers are influenced by a single chapter of a Loren Eiseley book. What reading do you turn to if you want to foster new ideas? Do I come across as a philosopher? Do you?

CW: I think a lot of us are philosophers! I don’t think some of us can help it. If we experience the world and digest those experiences I think we classify… not a terribly high bar, but I’m continuously surprised by the amount of people who can’t seem to think for themselves and for whom questioning their world is too inconvenient even to be tried.

I always turn to old ideas with fresh eyes. I’m lucky to have a somewhat hearty collection of art-related literature and picture books—most acquired at local library sales. Often I turn to those; sometimes I cut them up and use them in my work, but mostly I’m a reverent observer. The other day I began reading about Jacques Louis David, reigniting my love of his painting Death of Marat. I don’t know if that will translate into any new work for me, but he’s been on my mind ever since. David, a neoclassicist, worked with anachronistic historical themes and motifs, not altogether unlike myself.

JVL: Some of my favorite art is figurative, because I think it takes nuance that I don’t have to successfully address the human figure in art.

CW: Agreed. I’ve never been much of a draftsman, and the human form is a beauty as well as a mystery to me. I guess that’s why I appropriate it so much.

Speaking of artistic tradition, in your experience does the Internet compare to a traditional art gallery in terms of communicating your work to an audience? Do you think the nature of the display influences how your work is interpreted?

JVL: In some specific ways, the comparison between online and real life experiences is becoming more arbitrary. After gaining some momentum with an international audience online, it’s become clear to me that on some level I’ve bypassed conventional channels of promotion, with tangible results. I didn’t have to shop my work around from gallery to gallery, I’ve spent minimal amounts of time schmoozing and I’d like to think the time I spend online enhancing my network serves a higher social function. I don’t think my experience is unique. My approach to networking and promotion is undoubtedly how things now work in general, in and outside of the art world.

What I and many others who are concerned with the basic function of art still need is a tangible experience with art. Even as a predominantly 2-D graphic artist, the physicality of artwork is still a large consideration of mine. To see art on a screen will never be the same as being in a room full of art.

CW: I’ve often thought that galleries and museums are not remotely replaceable, although in recent years I’ve begun to suspect they’re not entirely indispensable.

My work often exists in the physical world, but I see as much validity in the reproductions I share on the web. (Much of that has to do with the fact that my work explicitly grapples with reproducibility in the first place.) I’ve only ever observed your work online and I feel a strong connection to it. That causes one to wonder how the reception of artwork changes under different conditions of display—and there’s little doubt that it does.

There are inherent problems with the loss of materiality, and a lot of them, but I see contemporary art as increasingly transcending materiality; some might argue that art is practically post-optics at this point (ideas trumping form). I happen to think aesthetics are eminently important, but I see aesthetics transcending materiality, and I see aesthetics coming through loud and clear over the Web.

JVL: The internet changed how information is designed and consumed. Do you think art is more of a universal focus than it was before public access to digital platforms? “Disposable” comes to mind when I think of how fast information can move out of focus and past the cultural peripheral. There’s a kid nearby me right now thumbing through his Instagram feed and he spends less than a second looking at each picture. What’s he or anyone else actually taking in, especially when there’s material in and outside of art that needs more time to consume?

CW: I think it has been true for some time that people who care about considering art very deeply will do so in- or outside of a designated physical space. I don’t follow many blogs on Tumblr or many people on Instagram because I know the limits of my attention. I think the Internet improves access to all things (including art), thereby broadening the audience, but I think desensitization is a symptom of information-overload in general (at, or away from our devices). Sadly, I don’t know if that’s avoidable.

How we cope with choosing information is a deeply personal challenge. The Internet doesn’t change that, but, as you said, it does change access. I think you’re right: “disposable” is a great descriptor. Access to too much information at every moment has caused almost all of it to become disposable. How we look is more important than ever—I think where we look might be becoming less crucial.

(to be continued)

Chad Wys, Nocturne 109. c-print, 30"x23.25" (2011)
Chad Wys, Nocturne 113. c-print, 30"x23" (2011)
Jacob van Loon, Homan Square. Watercolor, acrylic, and graphite on panel (2013)
Jacob van Loon, The Moguls. (diptych) Watercolor and graphite on panel, 40x24" (2012)

[art discussion hosted by Artchipel]


Art Writer’s Wednesday 21 - Artists on Tumblr

Jacob van Loon (on Tumblr) & Chad Wys (on Tumblr)
A Discussion between artists Part I

Introduction by Chad Wys

Over the past year I’ve become increasingly interested in social media like Tumblr and what it means for the visual culture around us—and, most especially, for artists who have at their fingertips a powerful tool for sharing work with an ever broader audience.

I’d first experienced Jacob van Loon’s artwork a year or more ago at Behance.net, another powerful content-sharing hub for creatives to disseminate their work to a discerning audience, itself comprised of a techno-commune of graphic designers, fine artists, art directors, and an all-around creatively-inclined crowd. An interesting side effect of websites like Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook has been the loss of clarity regarding artists vis-a-vis observers since sharing one’s favorite artworks via one’s blog is virtually as creative an expression as putting paint to canvas (and in this artist’s humble opinion, oftentimes more so). And it’s in such a place—Tumblr, a spider’s web of visual-leaning blogs by anyone and for everyone—where, through the skilled editorial and curatorial prowess of my fellow visual essayists, I was reintroduced to Jacob’s work. It’s ubiquitous on all the right blogs and it commands a powerful presence among one’s crowded newsfeed. If you miss it or look past it, that’s your loss.

In the later half of 2013, I approached Jacob with a request for a discussion, on the record, not between interviewer and interviewee but between contemporaries. Interviews with artists are in abundance on the web and rather than approach a Q&A session in quite the old-fashioned way I thought it would be illuminating to strike up an open conversation between artists. What follows is a casual discussion between myself and Jacob on topics such Tumblr, art “versus” design, modes of display, and our brief personal histories.

Chad Wys: I don’t know about you, but my mind has really been on Tumblr lately. It’s such a brave new world for images on the Web. And it seems like an especially good fit for artists. Are you finding it advantageous to share your work via Tumblr?

Jacob van Loon: Ever since I started using Tumblr in late 2010, I recognized it as the platform which most quickly moves visual information, aside from Twitter which isn’t intuitive for presenting work online. It’s also been interesting to see Tumblr, run by mostly younger people, initiate live experiments on how to make the experience more interactive for users posting original content. There’s nothing else like it right now, at least nowhere near the same scale and with the same momentum.

CW: I’m certainly a fond follower of your blog and I look forward to your posts; it’s like we, the public, get to connect with our favorite artists in a more intimate way—insofar as we feel like we’re getting a direct feed from your mind to ours. Perhaps this is mostly an illusion, but there seems to be some truth to it. Has the Tumblr format influenced the way you feel about the Internet and sharing your work with others? Has it influenced the way you experience the work of other artists?

JVL: It doesn’t feel particularly new since I’ve been using the internet for business purposes since my teens. I felt a sense of urgency about Tumblr when I first started. That was unique. Tumblr is a microcosm of how fast the world moves and if you’re on Tumblr and use the site correctly, it’s all there in your face, on your computer, your phone, your friend’s phone, wherever. I’ve always been curious to see new artwork online so it’s nice to have Tumblr be kind of an RSS for new and classic work all the same. It’s great to see what people so different from yourself value and perpetuate from their own platforms. I follow between 4-500 artists at any given time which is still unreal to consider. When did you start establishing your network online? Why Tumblr?

CW: 2009 was a transformative year for me as I was introduced to Behance.net for the first time. That year I also produced my first series of Readymades. I consider that website, its social network, and that series of works my earnest point of entry on the Web (the right work, in the right place, at the right time).

I initially took notice of Tumblr after I became aware that people were sharing my work there. I decided the format complemented by desire to blog and to share the materials that inspire me. But this year I’ve seriously started to regard Tumblr as a dedicated place where I can share my own work directly—as a resource for getting it out into the world. Now that you’re “Tumblr famous” how do you handle the fan girls and boys in your inbox?

JVL: I rarely get messages. I’ve been told I put off a certain vibe, even though my public interaction is minimal. A lot of questions that might come in are also deterred because I don’t have anonymous reply available as an option on my blog and haven’t for a while.

CW: It’s probably wise to disallow the anonymous comments and questions feature, but I find a little bit of honesty comes at me that way. It’s interesting mainly for curiosity’s sake, but once in a while someone will be bold enough to confirm my own doubts and concerns.

Do you feel any pressure to post something your Tumblr audience will adore, or to withhold something you’re unsure about?

JVL: It’s more entertaining than anything to watch how the follower tick reacts to non/posting. I’ve lost clods of followers over certain posts, as far as I can tell there’s no rubric for this, it just happens. My posting has decreased a little in the past year because I’m in the middle of creating new work and don’t usually share older work on my blog, and I can lose anywhere from 10 to 200 followers just for not posting anything during the week. At which point the number on my dashboard becomes less abstract than the person behind it. Posting some new work on my blog and losing 20 followers as a result isn’t too much different than getting work shown in a gallery, then having 20 people come through, express their distaste for my work amongst themselves under their breath, then leave 45 seconds later. You’ve gotten a lot of feedback from both the supportive and hypercritical—how do you end up considering all that?

CW: I can receive a bunch of really great, nurturing comments and then stress about one in particular that’s a bit more critical. Ultimately, I think good public criticism is how we grow and compliments are how we know we’re on a good track. I’ve been fortunate, I think, that my work has been divisive enough to foster the occasional enraged comment—the sort that implies I should stop working entirely, or that what I’m doing doesn’t constitute “art.” When that happens, it’s clear that I’m pushing someone’s buttons pretty hard and I consider that a kind of hollow triumph.

JVL: Hollow triumph. That made me laugh. Is that the same thing as small victory?

CW: Hah! I suppose it is. But a pessimistic and supremely unfulfilling victory, to be sure.

For me, Tumblr has been an exciting experience. I like the immediacy it affords. And as much as I appreciate feedback—in the form of conversations or “likes” or “reblogs”—it has also instilled some apprehension in me. For example, if people don’t respond as well to a work as I’d hoped, that impacts me on some level; alternatively, if viewers seem to respond to something I was unsure about, my perspective might change accordingly. Perhaps such reactions on my part are foolish since so much interaction over the Web is artificial and highly incomplete, but do you think this sort of digital existence for our work has the power to influence our output, or to impact our creative concerns and ideas?

JVL: That’s something a lot of artists would have a difficult time admitting, at least artists in certain fields. All art, everything about it down to the pencils, is a device we use to control our environment—audiences included. I went through a few different schools and got both arguments of being swayed or motivated by an active audience. Do you feel a sense of guilt about being responsive to/influenced by your online audience?

CW: In some ways I do—I think those are the death-throes of modernism poking through my psyche. I think one of the central tenants of postmodern thought is audience reception. Where modern art was centered on the artist and his or her explicit meaning, postmodern art is wide-open to interpretation by each viewer. As long as we direct the viewer, through our work, into some sphere of thought—toward some concern—they can ponder it for themselves and establish more inter/personal meaning. I believe this is a more edifying way of sharing ideas, rather than merely prescribing a thought structure. For this reason, I think audiences are enormously important to consider, but part of me also feels shame about succumbing to any sort of influence. I think there’s a fine balance at play where artists should consider an implicit audience but refrain from making too many concessions/compromises. I guess finding that balance is one of our main obstacles.

JVL: The desire to want eyes looking back at your work, the extension of you… Art is a selfish act, but I’ve never believed a person that’s said “I make art for myself.” Part of is to respond to experiences, it makes sense to consider groups of people or broader audiences when creating. Outside of that,  everything is a screen now. Any working artist in this decade (at least) that thinks the Internet as an audience isn’t important is a stupid artist. You can be an asshole about the internet not being real enough all you want, as long as you get someone else to do your PR, I guess.

(to be continued)

Chad Wys, Bust Of A Weeping Boy. Paint on found porcelain, 7"x5"x4" (2009)
Chad Wys, Bust Of A Weeping Man. Paint on found ceramic, 12"x7"x5" (2013)
Chad Wys, Figurine Of A Deer Deleted. Electrical tape on found, 7.75"x7"x2.75" (2010)
Jacob van Loon, Taimah. Watercolor and graphite on panel, ~34x48" (2013)
Jacob van Loon, Pershing. Watercolor, acrylic, and graphite on panel, 32x48" (2014)
Jacob van Loon, Singapore, Michigan. Water-based media and graphite on panel (2012)

[more Jacob van Loon & Chad Wys | art discussion hosted by Artchipel]