We spoke with artist Jason Hackenwerth about his process, consciousness and the exploration of transcendence and transformation. Jason's incredible work has been featured all over the world including the Guggenheim in New York, Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles among others.
At what point did you know you wanted to become an artist and this is what you were meant to do?
I can’t remember at time I didn’t consider myself an artist. As a child I spent much of my time drawing while other kids played sports. My mom took me to art museums but never sports or things like that. As a teenager I was emulating Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns when nobody I knew even knew who they were. My mother told me I could be anything I wanted to be and if I worked hard enough at it and became the best in the world, I could make it my life. That has been my plan since I was 7 years old.
That's fantastic! What gets you excited and motivates you daily?
I wake up often before dawn with visions of paintings I want to make or perhaps I should say, that seem to want me to make them. It’s as if the images call to me from the ether, from my dreams. I wake up so inspired I can’t wait to get to the studio and get started. And coffee. Lots of coffee.
You work in various mediums such as painting, sculpture and installations. Do you have a favorite piece that you have created or most proud of?
There have been many sculptures and paintings that I’ve felt were breakthrough works. I do love them but eventually it happens again and they are replaced by the next one.
How did you first come up with the idea to take your balloon sculptures to the next level with your massive installation pieces?
I was sticking little balloons around in the subway stations in clusters like little impromptu installations. The Scope Art Fair offered me a chance to instal one at the fair in London in 2004. I did but it was torn down by the hotel before the opening. I was devastated. I spend a couple days really upside down and then in perhaps the lowest moment of my life, a vision of a sculpture popped in my mind. (pun intended) I began immediately working to bring it into reality. It was miraculous. That first sculpture lit a fire that launched my career.
How would you define your process?
My process is an integral part of my life. I think of it almost as ritual rather that routine. For me every moment should be appreciated and given respect. Sometimes I’m bursting with ideas that need to get out, other times I’m quiet and allowing the space to be there. It’s almost like visiting the void and waiting for the visions to come as if I am waiting for a bus or holding an invitation for a mystical friend who will come to be escorted to the world.
In some of your paintings you incorporate words. What is your biggest source of inspiration?
The words usually just jump out. There seems to be a connection to the alliteration of a word and the visual structure of it that beckons me to put it on the canvas. Sometimes these words get erased or partly erased. I think this relates to my own self and the need to let things out and get rid of them or realize them and let them exist without judgment, or maybe just examine the relationships they create with the other elements.
What are you most interested in creating these days?
In most cases I’m trying to make work that points to transcendence and transformation rather than get stuck making work that screams about what is wrong. In this way, I do not rely on the world or circumstances being problematic to give my work a reason to exist and in the end become more of the problem. By making work about the exploration of transcendence, the work remains dynamic and will always be a valuable signpost for others on the journey to enlightenment.
How does the state of our consciousness in world today influence your work?
Some members of the scientific community have begun to make the connection between our consciousness and the physical word through experiments in quantum physics. Essentially, our consciousness is all there is. Our perception of the world, the universe IS the world. Without our perceptions, there is no world no universe. We are here as consciousness descended into matter in order to both experience physical life and become aware of ourselves as consciousness. My work is an exploration of opening the portal between the physical world and consciousness to allow a visual manifestation of human experience to be captured.
What do you find fascinating at the moment?
The realization that time is an illusion created by our physical manifestation. Everything that ever will happen and has happened is all omnipresent outside of our physicality.
We would like to thank Jason Hackenwerth for chatting with us, it was an absolute pleasure!