'Making movement' / Jason Kolenda
Chances are that if you’ve been frequenting gigs lately, or keeping up to date with what’s happening in Melbourne’s hip-hop scene, you’re already familiar with Jason Kolenda’s work (IG: @__blinkerfluid). Whilst predominantly working in drawing and printmedia, Kolenda’s work lends itself to an array of artistic, cultural and functional references. His practice is a balance between figurative drawing and digital print media.
Beyond the function of event posters, the movement conveyed throughout these images isn’t that of haste, but rather the movement of someone in transition or deep in thought. Movement has been the muse of a range of influential artists of the twentieth and twenty-first century, from Degas to Huyghe, and it is reassuring to find young artists that continue to be interested by it. With an understanding of this crucial element, the figurative work that Kolenda produces is layered with intimate subtleties and instances of introspection. Below is a selection of Kolenda’s figurative work as well as a few defining questions about his work, his influences and where he might be heading.
Evidently you have a background in graphic design, I was wondering how/why you started exploring drawing and print media? (Additionally: how you developed an interest in design?)
Jason Kolenda: Before I ever really got into graphic design I’ve always been drawing. My mum is a designer as well, so as a little kid I used to sit with her while she was working and she just gave me stuff to draw with. Ever since then I’ve known that my real passion lies in image making, whether that be drawing, collage or really any other medium or method I take a liking to. For example, just recently I picked up a brush pen instead of my usual biro and it made me feel so much more confident with the subject matter that I was trying to capture. The ability to vary the line weight gave it a lot more interest in my eyes. This being said, though, I do still love messing around with layouts and digital media- which is why I try and do little zine and collage projects here and there.
You appear to have a strong connection to the current hip-hop scene in Melbourne, does that connection relate to any central theme in your work?
JK: That connection is mostly due to the fact that I’ve got a few mates who are involved in that scene who I’ve done work for. It seeps back into my style just because the more proper work I do for others, the more I get out of my comfort zone and experiment with other styles and whatnot. However, there’s also a connection that I think personally links more with skating and how that culture influences my life and the way I do things.
Do you have any major influences (be they artists, events or genres)?
JK: I’ve got a couple of major influences from different periods of time, which all kinda play into what I make today. A major one is Egon Schiele, just because of how he radicalised and exaggerated form in such an accurate way. Back when I was using more ballpoint pen, I definitely took heaps of inspiration from his work. Another big influence for me would be Raymond Pettibon who did most of the art for Black Flag [American punk rock band]; not so much that “four-bar” logo, but more the posters he did for their shows when they were starting out. The combination of crazy illustrations with bold text in a nice layout appeals to me so much, which again is what I try to achieve with my collage and design stuff. There’s also a bunch of Russian tattoo artists I follow on Instagram at the moment and their stuff is amazing, mostly using just contrast to create really confronting blackwork images.
How do you see your practice developing in the next few years?
JK: A big goal for me recently has been to get some work together for a gallery show, but I think at the moment I would love to keep up the freelancing and work with and meet more people. I’d also love to start working on some bigger projects as well, maybe get into a bit of painting and some larger scale print stuff, because I usually stay away from those things.
Jason’s IG : @__blinkerfluid
Words: Tarquin Charlesworth