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Interview with New York-based Artist Jason Covert, Longlisted in the Aesthetica Art Prize

Jason Covert was longlisted in the Aesthetica Art Prize with his work Excavation, an ultra-personal journey through one man’s fears. Spanning media including film, photography and sculpture, Covert is a multimedia artist based in New York. Solo exhibitions include Excavation (2014) and The Bridge (2012) at Hionas Gallery, New York; and group shows at Ann Street Gallery, SCOPE pavilion and LACDA Gallery, while his work is also held in numerous private collections. We speak to Jason about his practice, inspirations and upcoming projects.

A: Which artists and filmmakers do you take inspiration from in your work?
JC: In college I was asked the same question and brashly replied, “I am inspired from within!” How naïve I was! I am daily inspired by the great Gustav Klimt, the epic American landscapes of Bill Hughes, the comedic mastery of Bill Watterson, and the gorgeous film work of Nicolas Winding Refn, to name but only a few.

A: In Excavation, we are invited to peer inside the mind of a man, compelled to share his darkest depths. What is the meaning behind this work?
JC: When I was little I was often angry, and had a difficult time finding an outlet for those feelings. My mother encouraged me to scream into a pillow, punching and gnashing as I did, rather than taking it out on those around me. Excavation is that pillow: it is my way of coming to terms with the death of my father, his alcoholism and the dysfunctional relationship we shared. It is also a parable for how we might all face the ideas of disappointment, anger and death.

A: Where would you like to take Excavation next?
JC: Excavation, the film, is one small part of a truly multimedia body of work that includes large format photography and sculpture as well. I was honoured to show the entire experience at the Hionas Gallery in New York City in 2014. I would very much like to share the experience again, outside of New York, ideally on an international stage.

A: What are your current and future projects?
JC: Currently I am preparing for my next solo show set to open in New York on 16 May. The Forest Through The Trees is a collection of graphite based works on paper dealing with the loss of environment and our inability to acknowledge that fact, often getting hung up on the details of daily life. After that I plan to begin the long and arduous task of creating another film based project. I intend to scale things up with this next endeavour, which will be a counterpoint to the darkness found in Excavation.

To see more of Jason Covert’s work visit www.jasoncovert.com

The Aesthetica Art Prize is now open for entries. To submit, visit www.aestheticamagazine.com/artprize

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Credits
1. Jason Covert, Excavation.