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Studio Visit - Jeff Kraus

Studio Visit - Jeff Kraus

Studio Visit - Jeff Kraus

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Studio Visit

Jeff Kraus

From Michigan by way of Brooklyn, Jeff Kraus, spent the month of March in our Los Angeles residency program creating and taking in the West Coast for the first time. The works he made during his time here reflect his new fascinations found within the city he now calls home. “The NY landscape has greatly influenced my visual language. I am responding more to the apparent chaos and constant decay, and growth of the city. I have become infatuated with the construction site aesthetics.” To prepare for his upcoming launch we asked him about his time with us, and how his practice has evolved.

 

Q.

Tell us about this body of work launching on Tappan.

A.

I was born and raised in Michigan, and pretty much knew I wanted to be an artist very early on. In elementary school I wanted to grow up to be a cartoonist. I loved to draw and create characters. I didn’t make any art in high school, then fell in love with printmaking in college. Halfway through my undergrad I became enamored with painting. I leased a studio space off campus and continued to diligently make paintings and never stopped. I moved to Brooklyn in 2017 and have upheld my full time studio practice.

Q.

What is your creative process?

A.

It usually starts by experimenting with a new process and materials. Decisions are then informed by covering up old work and preparing a surface. My work is built out of process and experimentation. Mistakes often become the final piece. I like to be surprised in the studio. Old works inform new works, along with failed attempts and piles of trashed material.

Q.

Describe your work in three words.

A.

Visceral, tense, curious.

Q.

What draws you to painting?

A.

The fluidity, immediacy, and history of the material. I like to think of painting as an object - something you interact with on all sides, not just a flat picture on a surface. I really enjoy the process of building up marks and surface, the creation of physical and visual dimension.

Jeff Kraus says

“MY WORK IS BUILT OUT OF PROCESS AND EXPERIMENTATION. MISTAKES OFTEN BECOME THE FINAL PIECE.”

Jeff Kraus
Jeff Kraus

Q.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

A.

Lately, construction sites, and graffiti. I am fascinated by the markings on the ground made by survey workers, their unintentional beauty and layering left on the ground overtime.

Q.

Are there any quotes or mantras that you particularly connect with?

A.

“Surrender is the most important part of painting; letting go” - Brenda Goodman

Q.

What do you listen to when creating?

A.

There is always music playing in the studio. I rarely work in silence. My musical tastes are all over the place. Lately, Earl Sweatshirt, Black Marble, Panda Bear, Daughters, Wild Nothing, and Hot Snakes.

Q.

When do you make your best work?

A.

When I am not trying

Q.

What influence does living in Brooklyn have on your work?

A.

Whether I realized it or not, moving to Brooklyn has changed my work. The NY landscape has greatly influenced my visual language. I am responding more to the apparent chaos and constant decay and growth of the city. I have become infatuated with construction site aesthetics.

Q.

What influence does modern culture have on your work?

A.

Technology has changed the way we look and interact with art. I feel as though the work has to translate well in photographs because that is how the majority of the audience sees it.

Q.

What is your relationship with social media?

A.

Love it, hate it, need it, don’t want it.

Jeff Kraus

Q.

This is your first time in Los Angeles. Three words for it thus far?

A.

Radiant, broad, fluid

Q.

What was inspiring you during your time here?

A.

Openness, light and space. The landscape is obviously very different than NYC. You really have space to move around and breathe here. You can see through things, the sky really opens up.

Q.

Did you come with an idea of what you wanted to create? How did that shift and change while here?

A.

I came only with material and an open mind. My work is highly intuitive and inspired by my immediate surroundings. So naturally I started with a process that felt familiar and adapted to what I was seeing on my walks to and from the studio. I have about 3 different bodies of work going at once, each one developed in its own way. I am looking forward to taking what I have learned here in LA back to my studio in NY.

Q.

What messages or emotions do you hope to convey to your audience?

A.

Precariousness, sensation, transcendence.

Q.

Who are some contemporaries or figures in art history who have influenced you?

A.

Mark Bradford, David Hammons, Steven Parrino

Q.

What makes you laugh?

A.

Rude people on the subway, people in NY get so angry over the silliest stuff.

Q.

What makes you excited about the future?

A.

The ever unknowing of what could or could not happen.




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