It was one of the hottest weekends of the summer, the air wrapped around me like a blanket and begin to squeeze the energy right out. It was Friday morning and I was not at work, but on the train headed into the city for three glorious days of music. The August sun beat down upon my neck as I walked the 10 blocks to the festival, and arrived just in time to wait in line for my wristband while missing the first band. Every moment of each day was filled with wonderful performances, crowds of people, and free stuff. People were handing out bandannas, fans, postcards, pins, cds, etc. The pockets of my oversized shorts were filled. Walking out just before Pearl Jam, on the final day of the festival, I see a pin laying on the ground. Small, white, with sun light bouncing off of its face. I pick it up and read... "JERE MIAH KUC HART". Puzzled, I board the train home, pin in hand.
Jeremiah Kuch uses vintage images to create surreal pieces of art. Currently residing in Indiana, his pieces combine both the familiar and the unknown in a rather unique way. Recently, Jeremiah was kind enough to answer a few of my questions.
Orange Alert (OA): How would you describe your work?
Jeremiah Kuch (JK): A disarray of color with a bit of history.
OA: Can you take us through the process of creating a new piece? Where are you finding a lot of the images you use in your pieces? How are they applied to the canvas (or wood, it's hard to tell over the internet)?
JK: Using paper, cardboard, or even cereal boxes as a foundation, the pieces develop layer by layer through the use of acrylics, inks, water,coffee and other mediums. Experimentation with application and mediums has been a vital element in development of the pieces. The environments are free to grow and build. The medium and I work together to achieve a desired textural surrounding. The hand cut clippings come from old books and magazines (1950's Humorama pin-up magazines etc.) acquired overtime. Subjects are carefully chosen for each environment and then placed appropriately using a gel medium. Last layers are then worked back in to finish the pieces.
OA: How did the jagged cutting of the subjects mouths come about? It is definitely a powerful effect.
JK: Some subjects receive jagged mouths to eliminate their facial expressions and provide a clear escape for inner emotion.
OA: Who are some of your biggest influences artistically?
JK: Robert Rauschenberg, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Julian Schnabel are three big inspirations. Rauschenberg's combines and his innovative processes are very influential. Basquiat provides a great graffiti rooted style in his collages. Schnabel has excellent use of color and composition.
OA: There are several political undertones in your work. How has the war affected your work, and in your opinion the arts scene as a whole?
JK: In my own pieces I occasionally use the war as a means to stir up emotion in the viewer whatever that emotion may be. I just want the pieces to be a small catalyst to make people reflect on their own thoughts of the war and even maybe just maybe why they feel the way they do. The art scene is always going to be affect by current events and right now currently we have a war. People always have different opinions on war so it definitely affects the art scene. Your going to see a lot of anti-war art and then maybe some supportive stuff.
OA: What's next for Jeremiah Kuch?
JK: More Art Shows is the plan. Keep moving forward in developing new processes, incorporating new mediums and possibly moving to some larger scale pieces. I have a whole collection of original photos from the eighteen hundreds just waiting to be cut up.
OA: Coffee? If yes what is your favorite type of coffee and where is your favorite coffee spot?
JK: There is this little local place in Marion, Indiana called Southside Diner where a nice coat of smoke covers everything. They have they best cup of black coffee ever. It comes out with an almost film like surface on top. So good cup after cup. I always drink to much when I'm there.
OA: I came to discover your work through a button I picked up a music festival. Do you think there is a connection between art and music? Who are some of your favorite bands to listen to while creating?
JK: I always surround myself with music when creating pieces. You will always hear a whole mix of music when in my studio from artists like Wolf Parade, Of Montreal, Ghostland Observatory, Jakeway, GhostfaceKilla, M.I.A, MSTRKRFT, David Bazan, Okkervil River and Tapes n' Tapes. My art is very connected to the music I listen to.
For more information on Jeremiah Kuch please visit his website.