French-born artist Jaybo Monk returns with his second RUN with us, with his flowing Where Does The River Sleep? pulled from his recent exhibition Beauty Fool at Denver’s Blackbook Gallery. Exploring oil paint, Monk used this image as part of his ongoing conversation based on the fact that beauty became a form of success. Read on as Jaybo Monk gives us the story behind Where Does The River Sleep?, what he’s been up to lately and more . . .
1xRUN: Tell us a little bit about this piece, anything immediate you would like us to highlight about this image?
Jaybo Monk: “Where Does The River Sleep?” was part of my show “Beauty Fool” at the Black book gallery in Denver.
1x: When was this piece created and what materials were used?
Monk: I use always spray paint and enamel, then I started to get more experienced with oil, which is now my main love regarding paintings. This piece was created in 2015.
1x: Tell us how the idea and execution came about for this image?
Monk: I normally, and I still do, work in a serial way. I choose my formats in functions of the space where it will be exhibited. I dispose the canvas around me and work one after another slowly in. I provoke mistakes which will be avoided on the next canvas, due to this each one becomes a unique answer to the “problems” I have created myself.
The idea behind “Beauty Fool” was to start a conversation on the fact that beauty became a form of success, in other words: if you are ugly, you are a loser. You’ll be mobbed and your chance to have a good job is extremely limited. I have worked in fashion and culture magazines since 1994 and I could easily estimate the main changes in subcultures, and advertising companies jump on early, getting more from the underground iconographic than before. The internet did change individualism in a sea of beauty cliches.
For example Hipsters who don’t like to be hipsters, but are hipsters because they claim the right to be different, but they are all equally different.
Now every product is looking similar. You can’t see a major difference on a Nike sneaker or an Adidas one. People try to look poor, buying clothes from major companies to look like low class citizens, but the prices of each item could keep the homeless off the street for three months. Subcultures becomes one of a big eclectic mash. Beauty becomes one sided. Everything becomes perfect around me, perfect and unnatural. The consequences are more rude than we may think. In this show I’ve tried to avoid symmetry and tried to break the beauty stereotypes we are use to seeing. Give ugliness a chance to shine.
1x: How long did each of this image take to create from start to finish?
Monk: I can’t tell you for real, and I think this question is irrelevant. It took me 53 years to accomplish the level I am now…
1x: What is unique about this piece compared with your other work?
Monk: Nothing is more unique than any other one was, I am always painting the same picture, just with different questions which brings different answers, a bit like an actor who will play any kind of different role without changing his comportment. Not playing someone else, but playing himself in a different situation.
1x: Why should people buy this one of these prints?
Monk: That’s easy, because I don’t do prints much, I understand that fans don’t have the money available for an original, I am please to give them this opportunity.
1x: Describe this image in one gut reaction word.
1x: What have you been up to over the last few months? Bring us up to speed on how things have been going recently for you?
Monk: This last year had up and goods as every year. I was happy enough to have the support of many collectors which really moves things in my direction. I have changed my studio in a much bigger space which give me the opportunity to think bigger.
1x: Any recent shows or exhibitions that you had?
Monk: I had the chance to show with Dave Kinsey in Amsterdam at Kallenbach Gallery, a sold out a Soze Gallery in LA, different group shows. I was happy also that I could show with Mirus Gallery in San Francisco curated by Art Poesia.
1x: What are some of the ways you have been trying to push yourself with your work over the last year?
Monk: Strangely, it is by trying to disappear, to make it more hard to see what I do. The flux of the multitude of artist around the world doing bigger and bigger, and even more bigger walls, or shows, or videos…all of this makes it difficult for the public to be critical or even have a real opinion on something. We have to think that social media gives your piece a time of couple of seconds before swapping to the next Art Tinder. I decided to get myself more hard to get, without losing the joint venture with my galleries.
1x: What are some strides you feel you’ve made in your work recently?
Monk: I am trying to escape in the abstract world, I am always trying to fight my routine by trying new material and techniques. I am preparing a book about my Land Art intervention, which had nothing much to do about what I paint. More sculptures, objects and photography. Video is also an option. I am planning on a art space in August 2018 which will change the vision of how someone can have of gallery.
1x: What was the last piece of art that you bought?
Monk: I did buy a cow head by Meissa Fall @meissafallstudio, she’s an artist based in St. Louis Island in Senegal.
1x: Do you have any big shows or events coming up that you’d like to share?
Monk: Things are in the planning, Amsterdam, definitely New York in March, Dallas, Los Angeles and Berlin, and I have to do a lot of commissioned work, which generally are of a bigger size. Sculpture is a field I will explore more in the future .