Jarrett Christian is interested in creating and exhibiting art works that resonate with broad audiences. He has exhibited work in several galleries in the United States and recently was named a semifinalist at the Smithsonian Institute’s National Portrait Gallery for The Outwin Boochever 2016 Prize.
While he is best known for his immersive photographic practice, Christian has an extensive background in the arts and has studied at Savannah College of Art and Design, The Corcoran College of Art and George Mason University. He continues to approach multiple mediums and has produced several public art works in the U.S.
Parallels of influence from western heritages and art histories are evident in Christian’s work. In his series “FROM TERMINUS” he presents us with portraits of individuals riding the Washington DC metro inspired by the photographer Walker Evans. In his work “NOIR” bits and pieces of classical forms of painting are accessible in the photographs. Christian’s work strikes the minds eye as authentic and uniquely contemporary.
We caught up with Christian in the interview that follows:
TAG: Where do you live?
JC: Mostly I live in Atlanta, where my studio is, but occasionally it doesn’t feel that way, my creative process dictates my physical being especially when it comes to making photography.
TAG: You’re mostly known for your photography work, but you work with multiple mediums, do you view you’re photography work as separate from other forms?
JC: No not lately. I’ve been making art in some form for 32 years; I began drawing in Pittsburgh in 1984 and made my first photographs in 1986 while living in Los Angeles. So what I am getting at is, that while different mediums have their own limitations they can also have a lot in common. With that said, currently a lot of my drawing and multimedia work stem directly from my photographic practices. Really though, I’m whole-heartedly interested in all things pertaining to the arts.
TAG: Pertaining to the arts, what most interests you?
JC: I feel like that’s a trick question. I suppose that I could sum things up by saying that sometimes I am trying to capture what I feel is being presented to me, and other times I am attempting to reinterpret a kind of representation of an experience. I’m interested in creating art that stems from how we interface with our surroundings, how we see and interpret experiences. You know, how we tell stories and how those experiences might translate differently through a given medium to an audience. Specifically with regard to photography I feel as though being physically invested in a moment is what really makes my pictures work. But for example in drawing I might reconsider ideas that I have taken away from personal experiences, I can work with my memories, which in some cases are in the form of photographs, but my point is, I don’t necessarily have to be present to make art once I’ve captured it.
TAG: Can you describe your immersive approach to photography?
JC: That’s a bit complicated, but I believe that in lots of ways you get out what you put into things, so I invest a lot into my subjects. Whether that’s through researching the history of a person or a place or personally spending significant time with that subject. This type of practice has a way of allowing you to become part of things as a sort of insider to what is going on.
TAG: Can you talk about the images you’ve presented for us?
JC: The images that I selected for this gallery represent current practices or ongoing projects.
I have been working specifically with photography for the last couple of years, and the first three sections represent the work that I feel is most developed or ready to exhibit. The last sections are sort of sneak peaks at what I am currently pushing towards, like the little drawings, which are studies I did in September. I am looking at how we reconstruct a representation of a person, place or photograph we have experienced through these renderings. Essentially I’m reinterpreting my own experiences but I should say that I’ve been inspired in lots of ways by the painter George Braque. He was able to deconstruct a face or a place in such away that inspired Picasso and ultimately the cubist movement. That’s what its all about.
“I am interested in exploring and making photographs through direct encounters. Western heritages and art histories are critical aspects to my working process and aesthetic consciousness. People and places that appear “meaningful” feed my pursuit and I am interested in how these articles co-exist and interact.”
To contact Jarrett Christian visit his website or follow him on [email protected]