Jesse Draxler / Visions of darkness

Punk rock subculture and black collages: Jesse Draxler, American mixed media and multidisciplinary artist in conversation with Maria Abramenko.

You have long been investigating subculture in your practice. Did art or music come first and when?

My love of art and music reside on a non linear timeline. They arose mutually at a young age and I owe an equal debt of gratitude to each.

What did you work on with Secret Bones?

A few years back Caleb, the owner of Sacred Bones, asked if I was interested in releasing a book through their label. Misophonia, a 200 page art book, was released about a year or so later in 2018. I’ve also created the album artwork for some of their artists, namely Zola Jesus and Daniel Davies, as well as merch and some other random visuals here and there. Much love for Sacred Bones.

Tell us about your current show in No Gallery in LA.

This show was initially scheduled to open in June. Due to Covid No Gallery had to close their brick and mortar location in Los Angeles and the show was cancelled indefinitely, but despite this I decided to finish the body of work I was in the middle of as if it weren’t. Once that body of work was completed I crashed hard. I had an existential crisis of sorts, I moved, and was mentally at one of the lower points in my life. When that period slowly subsided I began to work on new panels which turned out to be the Shifted series (the waving chandeliers.) Doing so restored some confidence and joy into my practice and coincided with Casey, the director of No Gallery, hitting me up asking if I was ready to do a pop up. Initially I said no, not wanting to deal with Covid restrictions, but warmed up to the idea in a matter of days and quickly became more stoked to do an exhibition than ever before.

Creating the work over such a long timeline, during such wild, life-altering events both personally and socially, has given this body of work a certain gravity and depth, but also a levity which hasn’t been as forward in my work before. The show runs until the 27th of October in Chinatown, Los Angeles.

Where and when do you get your inspirations from?

Following the opening of Table of Losses I find myself in a depression, feeling vacant – but this provides a blank slate to impress upon and I am excited to see what inspires me from here. Inspiration seems to go in cycles; as the yin to the yang of creation – input and output. I can be inspired by anything I lend my attention to.

You work with so many different materials can you describe a usual working on collage process, if there is one?

Whatever it takes.

What are you working on at the moment?

I have a number of unannounced projects in the works and I co-own a record label called Federal Prisoner which always has a lot going on. I tend to keep a lot of irons in the fire so that even in downtimes the momentum remains flowing.

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