Jason DeMarte Interview - The Hopper Prize

Jason DeMarte

Jason DeMarte on a longstanding interest in making & the natural world, early experiences with photography, responding to the work of Martin Johnson Heade, & a practice that evolves from project to project.

How did you get into making art?

I have always been interested in making things and the natural world even as a kid. Photography came to me quite early as a way to record my childhood adventures. This interest continued throughout my adult life.

What are you currently working on?

I am just finishing up a new body of work called Arcadia. The work will be exhibited this May at Rule Gallery in Denver Colorado. The work is made from photographs made in Costa Rica over the summer of 2019. I was directly responding to the work of 19th century Hudson River School painter Martin Johnson Heade who’s series of romantically inspired paintings focused on tropical birds and lush foliage of Central and South America. Namely Orchids and hummingbirds. I wanted to apply my way of working with the more domesticated flora and fauna with the seemingly wild rain and cloud forest habitat.

Photography came to me quite early as a way to record my childhood adventures. This interest continued throughout my adult life.

Jason DeMarte

What inspired you to get started on this body of work?

This work evolved out of previous series where I was mostly working with domestic flora and fauna. I wanted to push those ideas and to adapt my way of working to address historical romantic representations of these places by injecting contemporary elements that suggest ideas surrounding climate change , land-use and the history of naturalism.

Do you work on distinct projects or do you take a broader approach to your practice?

I mostly work on distinct series.

What’s a typical day like in your studio?

These days I am juggling teaching remotely from my studio and making work. Typically, I will spend the first part of the day working with students and the evenings making my own work. Depending on where I am in my process a day might consist of shooting plants in the studio or remote shooting birds in my back yard or slaving over the computer stitching work together.

Who are your favorite artists?

Thats a tough one as it’s always changing but some of the people I have been looking at recently are Jean-Pierre Roy and Alexis Rockman.

Where do you go to discover new artists?

I spend a fair amount of time looking at artist on instagram but I also like to look at specific galleries artist.

Jason DeMarte is an artist based in Ann Arbor, Michigan who was recently shortlisted for The Hopper Prize. To learn more about the artist:

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