An interview with Sarah Joncas
For anyone who follows Sarah Joncas‘ work, it should come as no surprise that music has and is a large influence on her painting process. Just as mediums or materials are essential to creating, Joncas considers music a necessary ingredient to developing and fulfilling her ideas. It was no doubt that sooner or later music would become the central theme to a body of her work. From instrument to dance, the artist has brought music to the forefront of her solo female narratives and embraced this all-important part of our culture. Similar to the pop element in her work (visually impacted by sources such as comic books, anime, film and cartoons), Joncas’ musical inspirations are mostly streaming from rock and alternative roots. Suitably given the title ‘Siren‘, this show is about the seduction and romance of music. It gets us moving, gets us singing, tugs at the heartstrings and becomes undeniably infused with our character and how we identify with the world. To further this theme, all the works included in ‘Siren’ have been named after songs/lyrics/bands that suit them or provide an opening to interpretation. Some inspired by, some titled afterwards with consideration. Though physically silent, it has always been the artist’s hope to create work that can speak and touch someone in a similar way as a piece of music does.
Please talk a lil’ bit about the work that makes up your new series for ‘Siren‘. Was there one particular moment that helped to shape this body of work?
Well, I’ve wanted to make a music themed body of work for awhile now, which may not be so surprising. The title felt suitable as this show is about the seduction and romance of music, as well as linking to my usual subject matter of dark, solitary women. I wasn’t entirely certain that this would be my direction in the beginning, but after starting on a couple pieces – a dancer and a quiet geisha holding a guitar – everything else just flowed out naturally and without hesitation.
Why did you choose to become an artist?
It was a fairly natural course for me. I hate to be the cliché and say I knew from the beginning, but I kind of did. I loved drawing even at 2-3 years old, told my mom at 5 that’s what I wanted to do. It’s just what makes me happy!
From your time at art school, name one thing you learned while there that has stuck with you to this day?
Don’t let anyone stop you from making the art you want to make! It’s good to take suggestions and criticism, it might even benefit your work, but you’ll be better off doing what makes you happy since that’s where the passion for creating is. I’d be so miserable if I listened to a prof who told me figure painting is dead… Besides, he was wrong.
The works in your new series are all named after popular songs from the rock and alternative realms. Would you one day like to work with a band on creating the layout/concept for their album art? If so, which one band would you pick if you had your choice?
I guess I would be pretty amazed with such an offer, at least if it were a band I enjoyed. I’d feel so unworthy though, haha. There are so many musicians I love, but I keep going over what bands my work might actually suit rather than just anyone. Maybe a band with a strong female lead like Portishead, Tori Amos, Cat Power, Bat for Lashes, Garbage etc…
Being from Canada, what do you like most about California when you come to visit? What strikes you as the biggest difference?
Well, I haven’t traveled much of Canada yet, but compared to what I’ve seen – the landscape! And all those crazy trees. Somehow I doubt someone would visit Ontario and gawk at the pines, but every time I saw a cool looking tree in LA I had to take a photo and touch the bark… Is that weird? And you guys have the ocean and all those valleys… My answer might be different if I got the chance to travel to BC or the Maritimes, but I haven’t.
What have you got coming up in terms of shows after your show with us?
I have a piece in the Last Rites Gallery (New York, NY) October group show, a piece for your 5 year anniversary show in November, and a solo I’m already starting work on for April with the Last Rites Gallery… Expect the work to get dark for that one.
Sarah Joncas ‘Siren’
Opening Reception: THIS FRI, Sept. 3rd 7-11PM
Check out Sarah’s progress on her mural for ‘Siren’ here:
6009 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232