The new artist interview comes from an individual who merges the worlds of fine art and illustration. I sat down with the master of monochrome, Jesse Draxler, to hear about his processes, inspirations, and he has an interesting take on things... 

Lisèle Teyssier for Unit London: Hi Jesse, how would you describe the genre of your work? 

Jesse Draxler: If you follow my work or look at my Instagram, you will see that I do such a large variety of work, so it is difficult to define: from abstract, to conceptual, to figurative, with mediums ranging from charcoal drawings, acrylic paintings, to installation and collage.

UL: With such a large palette of creation — Could you describe your techniques, your choice of medium, subject and colours? Why monochrome is so predominant in your work?

JD: I employ a large variety of techniques, processes, mediums - and I am always inventing along the way. I would say that the majority of the ways I work I made up along the way. I am constantly learning new processes and finding new materials and I just play with them until I figure out how to work them into my lexicon which results in organic processes and techniques which are unique to me. When I look at other's artworks I usually try to figure out how they made it. Most of the time it is relatively simple and once I know am somewhat bored. A mystery is taken away. If I can't figure out how the artist made a work then I am intrigued - thats the work I like the most - it's immediately engaging. It means the artist is thinking differently, which to me is the most important part of being an artist. 

I work in monochrome for a number of reasons. I am all about simplifying things down to their essence. I feel colour gets in the way a lot - I am not interested in the inherent meanings colour comes with. Everything I am looking to portray can be portrayed in black and white, and if it can be, why shouldn't it be. Occam's Razor states:"Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected." I read this the same as the likes of taking the path of least resistance. The simplest way is the best way unless further insight or benefit be gained by taking a more difficult path. Essentially logic! I try to live my whole life as such. I'm also what is commonly known as colour blind - which is part of the equation but not the main underlying factor in the decision. 

UL: How long does it take you to finish a piece - do you work on several pieces at once? 

JD: I work in a studio. I work in what I call sets (or series), and I work on multiple sets at a time - usually some commission and some personal all at once. I don't pay attention to how long an individual piece takes, or even a set. Everything is a continuation of whatever I worked on last, and so on and so forth. So everything I am making now has taken my entire career to make, and what I work on next will be the same. I have no message - I don't believe art has to mean anything more than what it is. 

"Art is an "isness" — where text is always about, image always is."      Jesse Draxler.

UL: Where do you find inspiration for your works?

JD: If you look for inspiration I doubt you will ever find it. Inspiration is one of those things that either comes to you or it doesn't and it can never be forced. The best one can do is set their life up in such a way that the inspiration has an easier time flowing in - to be consumed by the practice. 

UL: What do you think of the art world and its evolution? (as an artist and a creative I think that you are experiencing it in many different ways)

JD: I don't know enough to make an assessment — I keep to myself, I'm not too sure what the "art world" is up to.  

Current exhibition:
Jesse Draxler’s solo show ‘TERROR MANAGEMENT™’ is on view at Booth Gallery [325 W. 38th St., #1, NY, NY] until February 20th. According to Jesse, ‘the fact that one day we will die has been governing both our internal behaviour and our interactions with society throughout all time, since the advent of self-awareness.”

Follow Jesse Draxler's work:
Website - Instagram


Interview conducted for Unit London