The work of Jeff Kraus, is characterized by minimal shapes that often resemble unspecific architectural surfaces and landscapes. Here we explore his unique studio practice…
Tell us about this body of work launching on Tappan.
This body of work his highly intuitive and experimental. I was trying to find an archival way to use the spray painted plastic. Adhering it to the panel allows me to explore the transparency of the plastic while also manipulating the textures I cannot achieve on canvas. I have always gravitated towards collage in my work and this is just another example.
Describe your work in three words:
Aggressive, stirring, architectural.
What's one thing you still have from your childhood?
My hand made bug catcher for catching fireflies in the summer.
What is your creation process like? How are you conceptualizing and thinking about each of these pieces?
I am driven by process and experimentation. I do little to no planning for my work. I enjoy the anxiety and uncertainty that I go through in my studio. Some pieces happen immediately, while some take quite a bit of time. It’s about the exploration and performance in the studio environment.
When was the first time a work of art affected you? What was it?
I was taking an intro to painting class in undergrad and I saw a Cecily Brown painting for the first time (in a book), it blew me away. I was immediately drawn to the energy of her work.
Other than the genre you work in; what other types of art do you most enjoy?
I have been drawn to sculpture lately. I like the idea of being able to fully walk around a piece, see it from all sides. It's different from painting for me in that it has a stronger physical presence. It has a lot of visual weight which is something I try and explore in my paintings.
Do you have a favorite quote, or a phrase you think about often?
I recently came across this quote by Ninja from Die Antwoord and it feels relevant. "People are unconscious, and you have to use your art as a shock machine to wake them up. Some people are too far gone. They'll just keep asking, 'Is it real? Is it real?' That's dwanky. That's a word we have in South Africa, 'dwanky.' It's like lame. 'Is it real?' You have to be futuristic and carry on. You gotta be a good guide to help people get away from dull experience"
An art collection celebrates the social & political world a collector wants to inhabit. Do you personally collect, and if so what and why?
I personally collect a lot of work. I trade with my friends and hang their work with pride in my studio and home. In my collection I have everything from paintings, prints, works on paper, and sculpture. The work I collect brings me joy to look at and live with everyday. Art makes me feel in a way no other thing can.
Jeff Kraus says
“I am driven by process and experimentation.... I enjoy the anxiety and uncertainty that I go through in my studio.”
How would you define the role social media plays in art? Art making? Art promoting?
You can connect to society instantly, which can be good and bad. I think sometimes too much of the mystery of art is given away through social media. I often struggle with how much behind the scenes studio content I want to share.
What's the bravest thing you've ever done?
To be honest, I think making art. I am a very shy person and it can be hard sometimes to create and be like look at this thing I made and care about it, aren’t I cool? I have a love / hate relationship with attention.
What’s one habit you wish you could break?
I get defeated easily in the studio. If something isn’t going right I usually just want to call it a day rather then sticking around and trying to work through it. I keep a drum pad at the studio to work out some anxious energy on. It helps me reset and get back to work.
Silence or sound while creating? If sound, what?
I have to listen to music while creating, it's what drives me. There are specific records that will get played over and over again while working on a body of work. I can look back at certain works and remember exactly what album or song I was inspired by.
Favorite new thing you discovered in 2016?
What are you most looking forward to in 2017?
Learning how to develop work outside of my studio in Grand Rapids, pursuing more residencies, making more installation / sculptural works. I would like to brach out of just making 2-dimensional objects.
About Jeff Kraus
Kraus' work emphasizes the performative act of mark making.
Michigan born visual artist Jeff Kraus currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. His approach to painting is both rhythmic and immediately compulsive. Scores of spontaneous movements dragged, scratched, and pressed onto surfaces, Kraus’s work emphasizes the performative act of mark making transcribed through formal explorations of material.
b. 1985 Kalamazoo, MI Lives and works in New York, NY
2011 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Printmaking, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI
2014, Reekruffs, Rowster, Grand Rapids, MI 2014, EID MAR, MadCap, Grand Rapids, MI 2013, 95 Feet Deep, Saugatuck Center for the Arts, Saugatuck, MI 2013, Conditions , Gaspard Gallery, Grand Rapids, MI 2012, Sink to the beat, Sparrows Coffee and Tea Newsstand, Grand Rapids, MI
2012, A better taste of New Work, MadCap Coffee, Grand Rapids,MI
2012, Taste of New Work, MadCap Coffee, Grand Rapids,MI 2011, Maybe next time I’ll get it right, Hoi Polloi Grand Rapids, MI 2011, The tempo of life dictated by a heavy workflow, Padnos Gallery, Allendale,MI
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2018 The Future has no presence, Asphodel Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
2018 Half a Wave, Pfizer Building, Brooklyn, NY
2017, Millenial Pink, Ann Arbor Art Center, Ann Arbor, MI
2017, The Jump Off, Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, Grand Rapids, MI
2016, A theory on Contemplation, Prjct Omni Exhibit #2, Traverse City, MI 2016, Wielding Now, Tappan Collective, Culver City, CA 2016, Seriality in the Archive, Have Company, Grand Rapids, MI 2014, The Steezledorf, Rox Gallery, New York City, NY 2014, Free , Gaspard Gallery , Grand Rapids , MI 2014, Rituals ,Gold Pane Gallery, Chicago, IL 2013, Fall Group Exhibition, Gaspard Gallery, Grand Rapids, MI 2012, Field Studies, Culture Works, Holland,MI 2012, Group Show, Lafontsee Gallery, Douglas,MI 2011, 100 Grand Show, Nice Gallery, Grand Rapids, MI 2011, DIG, DIG, DIG, Site Lab: Blandford Nature Center, Grand Rapids, MI 2011, Landed (15 views of the landscape), Padnos Gallery, Allendale, MI 2010, Art workers wont kiss ass (S.E.A.S), Free Radical Gallery Event, Grand Rapids, MI 2010, 3rd annual 50x50, Mexican Sans Frontiers, Grand Rapids, MI 2010, Eating the Art, Padnos Gallery, Allendale, MI 2009, 2nd annual 50x50 , Mexican Sans Frontiers, Grand Rapids, MI 2009, Critorama, Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, Grand Rapids, MI 2009, Collaborations, Padnos Gallery, Allendale, MI 2008, Parallel Spaces, 62. / 64. S. Division, Grand Rapids, MI
2007 2nd Place, Juried Art Exhibition Printmaking/Illustration Category. Northwestern Michigan Community College, Traverse City, MI.
2017 Emergent Magazine, published by Adeo
2016 Cultured GR : Mural feature
2016 Revue Magazine, cover and feature
2016 Create Magazine : Studio Sundays
2016 Fresh Contemporary
2016 Scandale Project Feature
2016 Young Space Interview
2016 Cultured.GR - Thirty-six feet of beauty added to Wealthy
2016 Revue West Michigan Arts Issue / Cover Image - Interview
2016 SERIALITY IN THE ARCHIVE / Works by Jeff Kraus and Chris Cox 2016 (web) 2015 HYPERALLERGIC / A view from the easel
2015 Rapidian Article / Profile
2015 FREE / Gaspard leaves its mark
2013 Rapidian Article / Profile
2013 Rapidian Article / Solo Exhibition - Conditions