September 14, 2021 | Art
Coming to The William Vale on September 17th, LA-based mixed media artist, Jen Stark, is bringing her latest exhibition “Cascade” to Brooklyn. This interactive art exhibition featuring 6,000 sq ft of ihypnotic projections, mind-bending murals, and transformative sculptures is the artist’s most ambitious project to date. To kick off the opening of this interactive dreamworld, we asked Jen Stark a few questions to get to know our new resident artist a little bit better.
Q: What is your background in art?
A: I grew up in Miami, FL creating artwork in the public school programs there. My grandpa was an artist and also worked as a photographer and writer for the Miami Herald. His work was greatly inspired by natural landscapes, birds, sailboats. He would have me over to his house for watercolor lessons when I was little and definitely helped instill that early artistic spark in me. Once I graduated high school, I went to MICA art college in Baltimore. After school I moved back to Miami to start my career as a professional artist.
Q: If you weren’t creating art, what would you do?
A: When I was younger, I dreamed of being an underwater photographer or marine biologist. I love the ocean and the idea that there is still so much we don’t know about it.
Q: You tend to work across multiple mediums, what new mediums are you interested in exploring?
A: I’m interested in doing more computer generative artwork, as well as public sculptures that have a renewable energy source connected to it.
Q: How and where do you draw inspiration for your pieces?
A: I’m inspired by nature and its connection to the spiritual world. I love how designs in nature are based off mathematical equations and fractals. Sacred geometry, evolution and plant growth are among a few of my inspirations.
Q: What draws you to multicolored and multidimensional pieces more than other art styles?
A: My love of colors comes from its use in nature. It is usually an attractant or repellent: A bright red fruit begging to be eaten, or a dangerous multicolored poison dart frog warning you not to eat it. This dichotomy is very interesting to me. Color is intended to grab your attention and I love playing with these ideas with my work.
Q: We see that you’ve been creating some cypto art. What are your thoughts on NFT’s and the generative art movement?
A: I’ve always had a love for digital work and animations - my minor in college was actually animation. I love the sequential, meditative quality of it. I started out doing stop-motion animations and just evolved into more digital animations. The NFT movement is very inspiring to me. So many digital artists never had a way to capitalize on their art, and now they have an avenue for it. I think this will go down as part of art history. What’s happening now, feels like the beginning of the internet: there was so much mystery around it, full of vast opportunities. I’m excited to see how NFT’s will eventually become part of people’s everyday lives: from concert tickets to digital collectibles and more. Whether they know/accept it yet or not.
Q: Your public art pieces make an impact in all the best ways, what’s your dream public art location?
A: I’d love to create a public sculpture in either a park or school – and the sculpture would have a renewable energy component to it that gives back to the community. I want to continue to create work that has a positive impact on people’s lives.
Q: Why did you decide to bring your artistry into an immersive IRL experience?
A: I’ve always been a fan of public and interactive art. I love the idea of people touching, and interacting with the work. It almost becomes a collaboration between myself and the viewer, they will be able to create color, movement and sounds with their body when they walk into the space. I wanted to take my artwork a step further, than just being hung in a white gallery space. People can dance, interact, play and create their own sounds in the space.
Q: What is the inspiration behind the event?
A: I wanted to create a mesmerizing experience that the viewers could connect and collaborate with. Inspired by nature, math, science, and psychedelia, I created multiple rooms with vivid colors and patterns that are in direct conversation with the natural world. In some rooms, the viewer is bathed in colorful, undulating waves of light. Other rooms invite them to become an instrument, creating a unique sound with the movements of their bodies. The animations serve to dislocate the viewer into an immersive ecosphere of kaleidoscopic forms, drips, and organic shapes, altering perceptions and creating awe in all who experience them.
Q: Why have you selected The William Vale?
A: My first solo show in New York City was in Williamsburg, so it only made sense to open my first interactive animation show here as well. It's exciting to show in such a creative and artistic neighborhood. The hotel provides a fitting environment for the exhibit - the space is gorgeous with its high ceilings. The hotel has amazing views of the city from the rooftop and beautiful greenery in the surrounding courtyard.
JUST FOR FUN:
Q: If you could publish a book, what would it explore and what would be the title?
A: I’d create a pop up book based on my artwork. I’ve always loved pop up books – I have a collection of them in my studio. Maybe I would call it STARK POP
Q: We love pups here at the William Vale. Tell us more about Yaya the studio #Zeldog.
A: Zelda is my pup of almost 10 years. Her mom was a stray that decided to have her puppies in my studio lot when I lived in Miami. I decided to keep one of the puppies – Zelda – (got the other pups adopted out) and moved to LA with her when she was 6 months old. She is the best, almost like a cat in some ways, but I love her. She has had a few nicknames throughout the years: Zdog, Yaya, Maw Maw, Baby Z. She enjoys treats, playing with her sister/roommate Josie, and rolling around in dirt.
For tickets to Cascade: A Jen Stark Experience at The William Vale in Brooklyn, click here.
Photographs by: Ira Chernova
Written by: Kristen Daniels