In today’s interview we will take a peek into New York Artist Case Jernigan’s Organized Art Space. Case is formerly a Charleston resident but has been living in New York for some time. I made arrangements to visit his studio after being encouraged to interview him by Corrigan Gallery where he is represented here in Charleston. Case works in his home studio loft space, quite small but very light filled and efficient for the work he does. He works in various mediums but his most recent paper cutout’s have These photos are not styled so this is typical of what his working studio looks like on an average day.
Case Jernigan-Artist Intro
HKPS:: When did you realize you were an artist?
Case::I always drew. I remember trading drawings in elementary school for food and small toys with classmates. I felt like people saw me as an artist, or the guy who made art, from an early stage, but I didn’t fully embrace that until I went to Italy for the first time. It was a gut punch in a good way. So much skill and craft and love placed in the sculptures, paintings and buildings found on every corner. It’s a cliche, but it was true. I came back from that experience and decided I needed to hold myself to a higher standard.
HKPS:: What materials do you work with?
Case::I draw with ink / graphite / charcoal and sometimes use acrylics. I make cutouts with papers from Nepal and Japan primarily. I also work with video – filming in stop motion and making digital drawings.
HKPS:: Is making art your primary source of income? Do you have a partner who helps to support you?
Case::This past year has been great, I’ve worked on a number of big commissions and am making more money from art now then I do from my part time job of coaching tennis and squash.
HKPS:: How much time do you spend in your studio weekly/daily?
Case:: Probably 40-60 hours.
HKPS:: Do you work in solitude/seek out solitude or enjoy company?
Case:: I go through stages. Week long stretches of solitude and working into the evening, followed by some dry patches where I socialize, go out drinking beers, play a lot of soccer and feel blissfully empty. That doesn’t last long, and I’m back in the studio struggling with the same old problems. I don’t enjoy having studio mates anymore, I prefer to be completely undisturbed while working.
HKPS:: Where do you make your art, how big is your studio and how long have you been in this space?
Case::I used to share a large space in Bushwick, but I was priced out. So now I have a separate loft in my apartment. It’s great for smaller projects and animating, but I could do with a bigger space at times. I’m an Artist in Residence at the Center for Book Arts, so I can work there too.
HKPS:: When you began working in this space did you plan any systems for the overall set up or did you let things evolve organically? How did past studio spaces or systems influence this space?
Case::I have no organizational skills. I plant nails into the wall to hang tools on, tack paper onto the walls and get going. As I move into a piece or project, a steady wall of detritus, paper and graphite shavings build around me like a hamster. I gain comfort from this until I freak out because I can’t find anything. Then a total overhaul – cleanup, rearrange, and start all over again.
HKPS:: Do you use personal objects & memorabilia in your art? Do you collect memento’s, found objects or other ephemera?
Case::I’m inspired by nostalgia-based objects constantly. Where’s Waldo Books, the Hobbit illustrations, old Mario video games, cartoons and animations from the 80’s and 90’s. But I don’t physically use these things in my work. They usually surf around in the head and they give me images when I need them. Usually my memory of those things is more important than the physical object itself. I mounted a show of Batman drawings and cutouts on Long Island earlier this year, and the curator gave me a Batman figure. The figurine sits on my window ledge.
Case::Some planning phases work for me- the nailing together of wood panels- the ripping of new papers into workable strips, going to the hardware store, that sort of thing. I work in so many ways that the patterns are irregular and unpredictable. One week I’ll only work with ink, standing and painting on the wall. The following three days will be spent cutting paper sitting at my desk. The next 2 days I’m engaged fully with one digital animation. I wish I could control this part better, but maybe that would be detrimental.
ARTISTIC LEGACY & PROCESS
HKPS::How much thought do you give to your artistic body of work in terms of historic value and the overall legacy you will leave behind?
Case::Typically once I’ve finished something I’m on to the next. I give less thought to what I’ve left behind and think more about new projects.
HKPS:: How do you store/archive your work or records?
Case::I keep my papers in drawers and they seem to do OK. Some of my larger pieces could use a bit of care.
Thank you Case for sharing your creative process and space with us. Head over to Part II where he shares more about his organizing habits and systems. Also, be sure to check out this video on his website where Case shares how his soccer interests collided with his interest in mythology and art! He’s also got a new video project called “The Story of Euro”…Here
*The idea for the Inside the Artist Studio series began while attending an art retreat where I curiously observed the differences in the creative cycle of order and chaos and what that looks like for different individuals. I’m very interested in sharing how organizing affects the artist’s creative process. Some systems and order are vital to our creative PLAY and learning to find a balance that works to enhance your creativity is what I hope to share with you through these interviews.
Is there a particular artist whose ‘Tool kit’ you would like to see featured? Leave a comment below and let me know!