Featured Artist 2016: Jason Butler
Published: 18 May 2016
In between juggling the running of his Studio, holding the biggest exhibition of his career 'Seekers', and preparing for future projects, inspirational and award-winning painter Jason Butler spoke to us about his work and his upcoming Open Studios weekend, which will be taking place on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd July at his own studio in St Helier, and what inspires him as an Artist:
"How would you describe yourself as an Artist?
I am a painter focusing on the human figure. My concept-based work explores the idea of how we live out our beliefs and ideas through various behaviours and actions. The work attempts to play with various ideas through the process of painting. I also produce portrait commissions.
Have you taken part in Skipton Open Studios before?
Yes, I have been involved from the beginning and it has been very encouraging watching the whole idea develop and progress over the years.
How did you first get into Art?
The art teacher at my school Mark Blanchard, was the key reason I became an artist. He recognised whatever talent was there when I was 13 and made me realise how powerful and life affirming art could be. I knew from that point it was the only thing I wanted to do.
Who is your creative inspiration?
The concepts behind the work is the main component of my work. These ideas drive the paintings forward. There are too many artists to mention who have influenced me over the years but the big ones have always been the likes of Titian, Rembrandt, Velazquez, Goya etc, etc. Regarding inspiration I will leave it to the artist Chuck Close to say it for me…
“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who'll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you're sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that's almost never the case.”
Why should we visit your Studio?
This year Abi Overland, Ben Robertson and Will Bertram will be taking over the majority of my studio-gallery space. They will be producing work specifically for this exhibition and I am very excited to see what they produce. They are very talented and great people to work with so I think people are in for a treat when they visit. The studio space is a nice place to visit and it will be set up as a professional gallery as it follows on from my ‘Seekers’ exhibition.
What have you been doing so far in preparation for this year’s Open Studios?
Myself and the artists mentioned have been having regular meetings and I know they are all working very hard to create the best work possible. Because much of the work will be installation based they have been visiting the studio and really thinking through how to utilise the space.
What can we expect from you from this year’s Open Studios?
I intend on showing a couple of new works for this event and will be helping the guys to get the show looking as good as possible.
Describe Jersey’s creative scene in 5 words… Developing, shifting, promising, exciting, unique."
Don't forget to visit Jason's ongoing exhibition 'Seekers' which will be taking place at the Studio Gallery, 10 Commercial Buildings, St Helier, Monday to Saturday 10:00AM - 5:00PM until Saturday 28th May. Take a look at Jason's artist profile to find out his contact details and his Open Studios weekend which will be taking place with artists Ben Robertson, Will Bertram and Abi Overland, on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th June, 10:00AM - 5:00PM.