Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Lode Street Studios: Jake J. Thomas

            My name is Jake J. Thomas and I’m starting this blog to show you the real deal when it comes to rad art.  Why am I qualified to rip this task to shreds like a rat making bedding from a napkin?  Good question.  There’re the degrees, sure, and they authorize my expertise, but that’s wacked.  Knowing I obtained my Ph.D. in Literature from UCSC and that I did a B.F.A. in painting at Lewis and Clark will impress you, sure, but is it reason enough to read my blog?  Yes.  It is.  Still, there’s more.  Much more.  Listen to the music and look at the magic.  That’s all I have to say, but I’m going to say it a thousand and one ways, again and again.
           Let me state it simply; art saved my life and there’s a good chance it's saved yours, too. I'm thinking of doing a series of of stories about a character named Art who goes around saving lives because it’s so fucking true to say that art saves lives. The thing is: your life has to be saved over and over again—not just once. It’s a good thing that art’s fully up for the challenge, huh? What a trip: art. It manifests a secular belief in some form of reason or purpose behind our intelligence and feelings. That’s one way describing its effects, anyhow. I'm not going to try and limit what you consider to be valid as art. Instead, I plan to write about stuff I find to be rad and try to explain why it’s meaningful to me.
              Why do I think we need to be saved?  Why do I think art should be celebrated?  Where do these questions come from?  Valid and intriguing, there are always inquiries surrounding every supposition.  The second you make a claim about art you are encountered by doubts.   At least I find myself in such a besieged position but I cruise through the voids like I was floating across dark asphalt on a skateboard, because I have practice working with uncertainty.  I'm comfortable with paradoxes.  Art saves lives, but, ironically, access to the experience of art almost always has to be defended and justified, because it’s not yet part of most people's daily lives, therefore it's value is not widely understood.
            One defining thing about art, the kind that I consider to be rad, is that you have to experience it in person.  The necessity of proximity makes the task of the rad art blogger more challenging, but the value of seeing artworks in person is hard to overstate.  Seeing art is an experience, and it has a different time-span than other forms of culture.  Reading a book is a process that has a more linear and flexible timeline to it.  Sure, you might skip around and read some parts more than once, but generally you read a book from start to finish.  How long are you supposed to look at a series of photographs?  How do you know when you are finished?
            The openness of art is one of its strengths, but it can be a limitation, too.  All too often the task of interpreting the work is left entirely to the viewer.  Without enough guidance given through structure, however, the public can be alienated by this seeming emptiness.  Minimalism can easily be mistaken for laziness just like expressionism can look like madness.  How do we consider art within a context that allows for the value of the work to be realized?  Well, this blog is one modest attempt to bring art into a discourse that is discerning and energizing.
            I started this blog with a series of self-portraits not because I’m overly concerned with my looks.  Narcissism wouldn’t be a great reason.  No, vanity has little to do with it.  I wanted to give you an image of me so that you can imagine where I’m coming from.  I’m 36 years old.  I live with my dog in a house just off of 26th Ave. with three amazing women as housemates.  I go get coffee in the morning just a few blocks away.  I live surrounded by surfers and in the heart of one of the world’s surf capitals.  I don’t surf, yet, because I've been busy learning my craft as an artist and writer.  I’ve always seen surfing and skateboarding more as an art than a sport, though, so it’s definitely a goal to cover some of the rad and expressive action arts happening around these parts.  If I can find the scrilla to get a board and a winter suit, then I’m planning on getting myself into the water soon, too.
            You should follow my blog if you appreciate great writing and photography about art.  I’m going to try and post once a week, on Wednesdays, so keep checking back and let me know what you think.


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