Our Behind the Canvas profile this week is on Toronto based artist Jake Boone. Jake grew up state side in Maine, before going to school and living and working in New York. He is known for the deconstruction of the canvases he works on, often patching them and repairing once they have been stripped down, or used from other projects. Additionally Jake plays with scale and texture in his work. It is our pleasure to introduce you to, Jake Boone.
AP. Give us a brief background on who you are, what you've done, where you've lived.
JB. My father grew up in Maine, and my mother is originally from Saskatchewan, so I've always been connected to both Canada and the United States. I received my undergraduate degree in Upstate New York, actually I lived in New York for several years before deciding to do my Masters in Fine Art. I attended York University for my MFA, and have done several artist residencies: Skowhegan, Banff and the Vermont Studio Center. I currently live and work in Toronto, and when I am not painting, I also do work as a graphic designer.
AP. How would you describe the type of art you create?
JB. When painting, before I put any pigment onto a new work, I often break down the surface of an older canvas. I achieve this by sanding, stripping the paint and obscuring old subject matter while also revealing unanticipated ground. Not only does this process open up a composition when it becomes too rigid, but by "brutalizing" the canvas it also creates a deliberately uneasy push-pull between destruction and creation. Often, with a show, many of the canvases have already experienced many incarnations, having previously been painted, shown, and then after a period of time put back on the wall to be scraped down and used again.
AP. What project(s) are you currently working on?
JB. I have been renovating my studio, so I have had a bit of a hiatus from painting, but I am anxious to get back. I am also a graphic designer at the CBC where I work on the Rick Mercer Report, which can be demanding of my time.
AP. Where can people find your art? How can they purchase a work?
JB. Most of my work is held in private collections, but those who are interested in acquiring a work can contact me through Art Perspective.
AP. Who is your favourite creative person? Why?
JB. Pete Seeger was definitely a hero of mine, not only because he is an amazing musician (if you aren't familiar with his work, find his performance of "Blue Skies" - it will make you a convert!), but he was one of those rare souls that are able to stand by their convictions through deep adversity (ex. the McCarthy black-listings). For painters, I have always been a big fan of Phillip Guston, Ben Shahn, and Leon Golub.
AP. What is your favourite album of all time?
JB. A very difficult question! If I had to choose (and I would rather not...), it would probably be Quadrophenia, by The Who. Although lately, I have been listening to a lot of bluegrass.
AP. If you didn't have to work what would you do with your time?
JB. I would definitely paint a lot more than I currently have time for. I would also spend more time outdoors, hiking, kayaking and swimming.
AP. What is your favourite journey?
JB. For actual journey's, one of my favourites that I revisit from time to time is climbing Mt. Katahdin in Maine. I have hiked it numerous times since about the age of 11, and I have to say it is as beautiful as any of the Rocky Mountain peaks (although, I may be a bit biased).
AP. Do you have a favourite piece that you have personally created?
JB. My favourite piece right now is "HA!" - I am still in love with the surface, even after almost 5 years. Usually my favourite tends to be my most recent, but right now, it's definitely still "HA!".
AP. What are your thoughts on the influence of fashion and music on visual arts?
JB. I am not so sure about fashion, I don't follow it much, but the connection between music and visual arts has a long history with many cross-over artists. I think about Andy Warhol and the The Velvet Underground, collaborations between Bjork and Matthew Barney, or David Byrne who started making music while attending the Rhode Island School of Design.
AP. Who is your favourite author?
JB. For contemporary writers I am a big fan of Martin Amis, but I have to say Haruki Murakami is right up there.
AP. Where do you go for inspiration?
JB. Often just spending time in my studio can be inspiring. Even if I am just cleaning up, or sitting with a coffee, being in the space is a great way for me to "charge my batteries".
AP. What is your greatest achievement in life so far?
JB. I find it hard to pick one, at the top of the list would be my growth as a painter and as a designer. In my day job I have been so pleased to be part of the Rick Mercer Report for the past 8+ years, but before working as a graphic designer I worked as a teacher. I mostly taught in the US, from Nebraska to Vermont, I was teaching university level visual arts.
AP. What is your favourite colour?
JB. I don't think I have had a favourite colour since I was about 12 years old. In certain contexts, any colour might be the "perfect" colour; I recently revisited one of my favourite rooms at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the room is dominated by a large Anselm Kiefer painting. The work is fairly monochromatic, except for these brilliant pink poppies scattered across the canvas, it is absolutely gorgeous.
AP. What is the one thing you want to share with everyone reading this?
JB. Art is continually rewarding and surprising. As I mentioned above, I recently had a trip to New York City, where I went back to the Met to see some of my favourite paintings that have resonated with me for over 20 years (Philip Guston, Anselm Keifer, and George de La Tour).
To see more of Jake's work, or to inquire about his available pieces, please contact us.