First, I’d love to know a bit more about you! Where are you from? What first interested you in painting?
I was born in Baltimore where I still live. I’ve drawn and painted as long as I can remember. What first got me seriously interested in painting though was just being told I had some amount of talent.
Do you work primarily in oil? Can you tell me some more about your practice? What interests or influences you?
I actually start most paintings in acrylic for the speed of it, just to get some large moves down quickly. At some point I switch to oil primarily, for some of the finishes that it allows. My studio practice really relies on consistency. I’m only effective in the studio when it feels like an unavoidable part of my routine. I can’t really get a grasp on what a painting is doing if I just sporadically visit it.
I think this is why I’ve never been one of those people who can revisit an old painting and work back into it. Something about that seems contrived. I think this has to do with how I see painting as a depiction of a specific time. Working back into an old painting, for me, is like trying to make two different events feel like they are one. The new marks always feel like they’re a mask on top of the old ones, like they’re part of a completely different space.
I think as soon as an artist starts to proclaim that their work pulls influence from a specific place it kind of falls flat. The forms in my work are always directly related to objects in life. As far as thematically though, it try to stay away from declaring influence. I’m interested in making images.
What is your process like? How much do you plan pieces ahead of time as opposed to working intuitively?
I don’t plan the work ahead of time or do any sort of preparatory drawings. I always have an idea of the space I’m trying to depict, but never what forms are going to occupy that space. Recently I’ve started a series that is planned to some extent because all the paintings share the same general format or composition. I’m not sure how it’s working just yet.
What is your studio or workspace like?
I’m actually really lucky in Baltimore to have access to very affordable beautiful large spaces. My studio is in an industrial building where, from what i’ve been told, the bottle cap was first produced. Prices are slowly rising though, so I’ll probably have to downsize eventually.
What about a favorite tool or object in your studio that you wouldn’t want to be without?
Other than painting tools, probably the heater in my studio. I don’t mind working in the heat, but painting in the cold is difficult.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Is there some advice you’ve received that you’re glad you ignored?
The best advice I’ve received is to just be persistent; you’re not that special. I’m glad I ignored the advice to not pursue painting any further than a hobby.
What do you feel is the most challenging thing about pursuing art, either creatively or professionally?
The hardest thing for me is being completely in my studio when I’m there.
Now that you’ve been out of university for a short time, having graduated from MICA in 2014, is there anything you wish you would have been given more information on when it comes to pursuing your art outside of the university setting?
Honestly, not really. I really don’t think many people who make paintings expect to be immediately recognized and successful. This is basically what I expected.
What are you currently working on? Any exhibitions or projects coming up?
Working on a few things, but nothing concrete at the moment.
Find more on Instagram @jameson.magrogan!
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