Jarryd Cooper is currently in residence in Leipzig, and soon has a show opening at the Australian Embassy in Berlin on May 3!
Can you tell me a little bit about you?
Hi there! I’m Jarryd, I am a painter from Melbourne, Australia, currently working in Leipzig, Germany. I finished my honours last year at RMIT University in Melbourne. Honours was a great experience for me and really helped me push my practice. Right now I’m happy to be in Leipzig soaking up the culture and spending a lot of time painting.
When did you first discover art, or realize you wanted to make it yourself?
I always enjoyed making art when I was in high school but never really gave it much thought. It wasn’t until I started painting as a way of relieving the stress of full-time work that I considering studying art. I loved the sense of calm that came with painting and wanted to learn as much as I could so I decided to quit my job and study full time.
What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
Previously my paintings attempted to investigate the way in which we interact with the exponentially growing number of images in contemporary culture, especially digital images, so my work was very figurative and image-based. Over the course of my honours project, I pushed the imagery into a more ambiguous space and focussed on the materiality of paint. I am still focussing on the same phenomena but I am doing so in a more ambiguous and allegorical way.
What is your process like?
My research is heavily studio based, working with drawings and collage before making paintings, I like to work on as many paintings as I can a the same time, right now I have 5 paintings I’ve started this week and I hope to start another 2 today. I usually work on paintings for 2-3 weeks sometimes longer, long enough to build up a lot of layers on the painting. When I work from drawings they are usually cartoonish and graphic, but they are just a jumping off point for the painting, they become looser and more painterly. I am trying to adopt a kind of stream-of-consciousness approach, whereby objects emerge or become subsumed by subsequent pictorial arrivals. In my work, each element strives for dominance or is swept aside by more urgent gestures as the paintings take shape.
There is often a tension between purely abstract passages and imagery; Various elements come forward or else are covered over. I try to be guided by the paintings as much as I guide them into being. I am always trying to be aware of the space in my paintings, is it a landscape that we are looking at, or an enclosed space? or is it both at once?
Do you have a mentor, or a piece of advice (or both), which has influenced your practice?
My supervisor last year encouraged me to embrace the strangeness in my work, something I was reluctant to do. since then I have felt freer to create and not worry about what people may think.
What is your studio like?
I am currently in residence at LIA in the Spinnerei in Leipzig, the studio I was given is lovely and large. I have really enjoyed working in here so far. It’s also nice to be around so many great artists and curators etc.
What do you find most daunting, challenging, or frustrating about pursuing art?
Aside from the uncertainty and the creative ups and downs that come with being an artist. Navigating the art world, networking and making contacts has been hard for me as I am a relatively quiet person. But it its a skill I’m willing to learn. I’m doing ok!
What are three words you would use to describe your work?
Inventive. Vibrant. Dream-like.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on a series of paintings for a show I have at the Australian Embassy in Berlin called A Lull in Form, which opens on the 3rd of May. I’m trying to utilize the space I have and work a larger scale and produce as much work as I can. Building off the working method that I developed last year.