In the weekend, suddenly struck by a sense of having spent too much time working, and not enough time living, I decided to get amongst it all for a couple of days. I had some pretty big nights in the process and was in bed by 8.30pm on Sunday, but it was worth it.
Along the way, on Saturday night, I decided to get my Harry Smith on, and do some proper field research. In layman’s terms, this means shut the f^&k up and let the new people you’ve just met school you on their world, and their frame of reference. As a result, I was introduced to the art of Dunedin’s Jay Hutchinson, which viewed under the same light as my recent post about UK visual artist Christopher Labrooy, seems to form a continuum of sorts.
Academically decorated with a Masters from the Dunedin school of Art, Hutchinson currently runs a gallery down there called, somewhat hilariously A Gallery. Initially described to me as a tattooed punk hip-hop kid, and then a Jack Johnson style singer songwriter, I suspect he is quite the character. The descriptive language used about him, and the enthusiasm people spoke of him with lead to me, come Monday, getting my google on.
What I discovered was a series of works which speak on a multiplicity of levels, or as NZ Style Collective put it, “Through a meditative, labour intensive process Dunedin artist, Jay Hutchinson creates works which combine a delinquent nostalgia with a thoughtfully articulated conceptual backbone.”
To cut to the chase, he creates pieces which on first glance look like everyday school books, all tagged up by a bored (possibly stoned) teenager, who may or may not also indulge in in-class fingerboarding, and maybe even hiding iPod buds in their ears under impressive dreadlocks. On closer inspection though, it turns out that his classically adolescent book graffiti, has actually been painstakingly hand stitched onto digitally printed silk.
As you’re probably realising, this theoretical framework f^&ks with convention heavily. It suggests age reversals, gender role reversals, and blurs the line between fine and street art. In this thing we call life, nothing is every really concretely one or the other, it’s always a lot of this and a little of that, or visa versa. Hutchinson’s work holds a candle to this dualism and we should salute him for it.
You can view a gallery of his works to the left. Afterwards, check out the website for A Gallery below.