Interviews with Artists

Jack Fisher

Interview by J.D.A Winslow

Published March 2015


Jack Fisher's work examines the relevance of certain cultural signifiers and objects whilst constantly shifting between physical and online space. His unique approach leads to a collage like practice which spans across galleries and online blog formats.


I was wondering if I could ask you about the your 'logo' (the sad Starbucks logo with your name and the nike tick) and the degree to which you consciously brand your (digital) self?

The logo began as an idea for a work I was planning to make. I started using it back mid ­2013 when the major corporations were under fire for tax avoidance. I liked the fact that these brands could gain notoriety and free advertisement whilst subconsciously infiltrating the mind of the reader. I like the global symbol that the branded coffee company stands for­ the lost touch of individual style that allows for a unique touch is lost in place to running an efficiently run bottomless coffee fountain. I uploaded it as my Facebook profile and then figured it'd be a good way to keep a constant across multiple platforms that I use to publish content. I've not heard anything yet regarding some copyright law I’m probably breaking but look forward to receiving the email. I see it as an attempt at leaching global recognition through readymade symbols; I suppose its just a simple way to draw from and visually hashtag brands into one new brand.

For me, the idea of maintaining a constant element whilst distributing work across multiple platforms immediately brings to mind Brad Troemel's idea of an 'aesthlete' of 'acultural producer who trumps craft and contemplative brooding with immediacy and rapid production'1. Is that something that you relate to?

Yeh, I first came across Brad Troemel searching for writing on 'Free Art'. I came across a talk he did which seemed to answer questions I had in relation to the way I was creating content for the blogosphere. It also made me think about the context I was placing my work in by putting it online. I then came across the Jogging and started submitting my work. It became pretty addictive seeing my images get posted then wait; hoping they might rack up tons of notes. Athletic Aestheticism I suppose came as a symptom from trying to produce more better content and the fear of missing out. I became interested in the ability to place my images into an online art context. I suppose in a way the way I work has evolved out of this constant readdressing whilst producing. I think that choosing to produce and publish free works online that are accessible to all, makes a much more open playing field for the everybody. Sometimes I look back on previous posts and wonder how in anyway the thing I’m looking at; might in some way mentally stimulate or be of benefit to the viewer. Any response becomes something to work from. Images become a bi­product from thinking and sharing ideas. The artist must constantly sculpt their brand as cultural producer; through the content they produce.

I think the idea of producing and distributing works for free online reminds me of Fluxus, specifically Macunias and his the idea that art should essentially be a voluntary additional activity. Is that something that seems true to you? Would you like it to be otherwise?

Yeh I'd agree with that ­ I think it’s pretty liberating. Think I prefer the 'pay as you feel'mentality ­ I’m sure this doesn't always necessarily work but in theory its much more democratic. I enjoy making things that make people say WTF? I’m not sure the artist should focus on commercialising their ideas in order to maintain a practice ­ I've come to the understanding that you have to find the balance of compromise between being paid to doing something you might not necessarily want to do and then doing whatever you want the rest of the time. I think working within a network of peers that send and receive ideas highlights the idea that anyone born with a smartphone can be an artist. Reckon Phluxus would be all over Fotoshop. Since working in a restaurant, I’ve been using the brief moments of spare time in between tasks to create artworks at work. Seeing it sort of as like an artist in temporary residence whenever I'm on shift. (www.workatwork.tumblr.com) I only allow myself to work from the things I’m using anyway. I like the idea of the chef as artist, constantly producing consumable ideas for people to digest and regurgitate into something new.

Shelfish Cunts, 2015

Yeah I've definitely been enjoying the work at work series.­ One of the things I like about the way you distribute work is that when I see it on Facebook people frequently comment on it. I guess I'm interested (particularly as I think we probably both attended similar BA programs) in how much you feel part of an online community and how much that has shaped your work, particularly when compared to an equivalent 'irl' community/art school?

Yeh; I guess whilst studying I was just engaged in discussion with people online around the world more than I was with people from the collage. When I learnt of the micro­communities like Black Mountain college and the idea of these hubs of idea growth; I just started questioning the role of the institution. I’m not sure what the art school experience used to be/was/is supposed to be and what it’s like in different cities like but yeh, I just found that people responded to my work online much faster. It seemed to make sense to keep within an open discourse of the internet that made me want to make/post more.I think putting your work on Facebook is just like using any other blogging platform except for the diversity of a global audience which sometimes seems a little absurd. It’s like having the ability to post into the worlds biggest chat room. I think its shows when you try and imagine how weird the demographic of people that like your status' would be if you put them all in a room together.
In terms of how this has shaped my work; I guess it probably just made me more experimental in my approach. Its about making things people can enjoy or possibly influence changes in habitual behaviour patterns.
Laugh Out Loud Everyday. I dont think you should be too precious with things you make. They can always be remade. Too many times my laptop has died and you get that horrible unsaved/I’ve­gotta­restart photoshop feeling. I try to work as quick as possible as not to get delayed, I can carry on with real life tasks like this instead of constantly getting sidetracked. I wish I was more organised or could get someone else to help organise me ­ at the moment I’m probably running on like 45­50% efficiency.


Is there a distinction then, between the work you make that is put online and the kind of work you show in a gallery? How do you present that kind of rapid, cultural production irl?

I try not to over complicate things when I get given the opportunity to show in a gallery environment ­ it’s pretty much all about the initial idea. I pretty much attack the production with the aim to get the job done asap. Often I feel the best way to present a work is just about finding the easiest way. Thats not out of laziness or lack of effort on my part ...I just think when it looks like its taken ten seconds to make, its because it did. Sometimes if I'm presenting a digital work; things become a little more problematic but still try and hold onto this banal readymade aesthetic that pretty much tries to detach itself from any aesthetically determined constraints whilst accidentally gaining more.
I’m interested in whether its possible for the artist to find the balance between The Dead Professional and The Rise of the Amateur. Becoming a Dead Professional Artist representing the false road to commercialisation of the artist as brand as opposed to the more amateur, constant producer of things for the self ­gratification of making and presenting. I don't see how art serves any purpose if it isn't supporting or allowing people to create more... If we exist as a democratic network of peers/creators then should there not be a system that aims to support this and enable sustainable growth? I’m trying to think about this idea of rapid idea generation and most effectively using materials to the best of our ability... But then when it comes back to it theres also something about it becoming too easy to make sculpture; but when I mean sculpture that doesn't mean its good. There's definitely not enough time to consider quality; just rollin' with the 'it is what it is'. I wish I had a list of all the missed photo opportunities of things I'd walked past or half second snapshots I'd missed and could never have taken in the instant on seeing them...

boob(IE) glasses, 2014

It often seems to me like that idea of producing work quickly is in part tied up with ideas of authenticity­ as if by presenting something so immediately you're maybe emphasising the lack of calculation within the work. It also seems to me that this particularly web based (anti)aesthetic seems appealing because we're so used to seeing polished commercial content (particularly on the internet)... Does that make sense to you?

The city is the jungle. Everything we do is the jungle. Dogs can't look up! Just add this image. Works wonders. Youd make a mother. Youd make a terrible mother. introduce them to your prison wife....I have a massive warhammer collection. They fall back to earth. Delegated drama sings. All that must renew. "Aesthetics is for artists as ornithology for birds". ­ . Drink Coca Cola, Its Sugar, Spice, all Things Nice. Drink Coca Cola. Forms grow tired. Ideas live forever. Isn’t that love? Freedom isnt free. it takes folks like you and me. besty reguads, jjack F­to­the­S­to­the­h­to­the­r. Take me to the clouds above. I want your body everybody wants your body so let's jack. Let's jack. I am out of the office until 2030, i will promptly deal with your request when i return. He's just a boy, I'm just a girl, can I make it anymore obvious? ツ. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDvuAYySJj0.
Putting ethics aside; imagine a realtime world map of ideas forming in the mind of individuals. PERIOD.

So what's next for Jack Fisher?

I’m not sure ­ I’ve got a list of things I need to make and a few other things I really want to make but I’m not sure what'll come first. I’m planning a couple of pop up solos around Leeds. Working on a couple of texts and just started on the School of the Damned so shaping up to be a busy year.


Jack Fisher lives and works in Leeds. Recent projects include Free Things, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, Leeds, Pizza Suicide Club TV Launch, Online / Otannenbaum, Q-Art Annual Exhibition, London, THE INTERNET TOLD ME TO DO IT, Online / BLEEK, Sint-Niklaas and Sculpture, Photography, and the Index, Cooper Gallery, New York.


If you like this why not read our interview with Jack Marder


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