Annika Marthinuss: Tell me a little more about your work. How would you describe it?
Brandon Jones: My work is a culmination of years of self directed exploration into both materials and concepts. In my work I am constantly trying to find new ways of solving problems that occur when making art. Oftentimes I find my work circling back to the idea of the unreal, and searching for ways to bring objects and concepts of that into reality. Having years of my life dedicated to fantasy I believe that this is a focal point that draws my work in this direction. I would say that my work tends to find a balance between the two concepts of the real and the unreal, that can be seen as an extension of escapism.
AM: When did you decide to study art/be an art major? How did you decide you wanted to be an artist?
BJ: I decided to pursue art at the age of fourteen upon taking art classes in school. While starting out I may not have been very good at art making or very knowledgeable on the subject, I always felt at peace and comfortable when making art. I did not know what I wanted to do at first, all I knew was that I wanted to further expand my art career. After graduating high school, I chose to begin studying art education. I soon realized that education was not for me but still chose to pursue art and switched my career plan to study visual arts.
AM: Which studio class has been the most valuable to you and your growth as an artist?
BJ: Sculpture was the most valuable class to me as it helped me learn to work through the artmaking process as well as opened my mind to material exploration. Before studying sculpture in class I was very set in my ways of using what I know as far as materials. I also was not very focussed on expanding the concepts behind my art. During my time studying sculpture I was pushed to further understand what I was making and why I was making it. I now find this to be one of the most important things to think about when making art.
AM: How do you find inspiration?
BJ: I find inspiration for my art by looking into and studying the unreal and elements of fantasy. Upon doing this I am also thinking about ways that I can twist ideas and concepts from those sources into truly unique objects represented here in the physical world. Sometimes I will leave myself to my thoughts to see what other ideas I can come up with unrelated to that previous theme. I also tend to come up with certain ideas that I may not be able to bring to fruition, these I set aside working on them from time to time until I can come up with a way to complete that piece.
AM: Your work has an interesting play between natural and inorganic materials. Can you explain more about your material choices, processes, and inspirations behind this piece?
BJ: The piece I am working on for the TCNJ senior thesis exhibition is inspired by the unrealistic landscapes that can be found amongst many fantasy worlds and as such is composed of more commonplace natural materials such as moss, dirt, and sand, combined with more outlandish materials such as cotton and the obvious crystals. When choosing the materials for this piece and most pieces I create, I look for what materials would closely and best represent the subject of the piece I am trying to make from a visual and material standpoint. I also tend to find out about a material and try to explore the limits of what I can do with it. For example the mountain piece is made of moss, dirt, sand, and crystals. I chose the moss to represent a scaled down version of grass at the base of the mountain. Followed by dirt with a gradation to sand to represent the start of the mountain being more dirt like, moving to a more rock like peak. I then chose the crystals to add the element of unreal/fantasy to the piece by having it appear to be overgrowing the entirety of the landscape.
AM: What is your current studio set-up/ working process at home? Have you adapted your working process based on current conditions?
BJ: Currently my studio set up consists of a workspace for assembly in my basement with tools such as the stovetop in my kitchen to prepare the crystals for growing. Typically when I work the area that I work in is completely dependent on what I am working on and adapts accordingly. In essence the world is my studio and I use different parts at different times. I find myself to be very adaptable to the environment around me when I am working as I more or less only need an empty space for the majority of my work. Any other structures needed to work I will either find or make myself to fit my needs.
AM: How would you describe your work in only 3 words?
BJ: If I were to describe my work in only three words I would have to say; expect the unexpected.