Hunting Trophies: Interview with Jeremy Fish

by CaroPosted on

Now on view at Mark Moore Gallery’s project room is “Hunting Trophies” by Jeremy Fish, marking his first solo exhibition there. (We previously covered Fish’s work at Mark Moore Gallery here.) Fish injects a high dose of color to the space where he appears next to Christopher Russell’s monochromatic prints, “GRFALWKV”. Walking into the exhibit is like stepping inside Fish’s own trophy room, stacked with cartoon animal ‘kills’ in his highly saturated, illustrative style. Fish has decorated every inch of the space, from the hand-painted wood cabin wallpaper to his “Bear Skin Rug” on the floor, a collaboration with artist Ben Venom. Even the frames of his paintings are intricately designed and carved to look like his characters, while others are mounted onto wooden plaques. Through his unique sense of humor, Fish takes a tongue and cheek look at the nature of collecting art as a competitive sport and how we value possessions. Hi-Fructose caught up with Fish to talk about his new work.

HF: There are many reasons why people collect art. A collector might purchase a piece because it moves them and enhances their life in some way, or they want to invest in the best, maybe even resell it later. What type of collector is behind “Hunting Trophies”?

JF: I’m not really sure what type of collector is behind a show like “Hunting Trophies”. I guess that’s partially what inspired this theme, and body of work. The idea for this show came about as I thought more and more about the elitist nature of Fine Art, and the concept that these expensive paintings become trophies for those who can afford them. That idea evolved as I began to imagine a very successful hunter, and climbing inside the mind of this hunter. What did he choose to hunt and why? I studied Fine Art at SFAI in the late 90s. It was the foremost strictly Fine Arts driven program in the country at the time. As a result of this education and background, I have fought a constant battle in my career to work in both the Fine Art, and the Commercial Art realms. It is super important for me to communicate with a larger audience from all social and economic backgrounds, not just those who can afford to be invited in, and own original artwork.

HF: Are you an avid collector yourself and are there any particular artists that you ‘hunt’ for? What do you look for in a piece?

JF: No not at all, I am saving my money to buy a house in North Beach. I have a small collection of Dr. Seuss sculptures. He is my favorite artist of all time. I also have a special collection of works by my close friends.

HF: A common motif you’re using is the character unzipping itself to reveal another form or story. Can you talk about the theme of revealing or disclosure in this way, and your inspiration behind this idea?

JF: I have personally gone through a ton of change over the last couple years. Peeling off layers of the past, and revealing a story or a personal history underneath; the zippers are a theme I used a lot in the mid-2000s, and as I started doing all this taxidermy style work, it seems to fit, so I brought it back.

HF: I really loved all the small details you put into the display of the work, especially the frames you designed. Can you talk about your process a little bit?

JF: I work with a master wood carver in Indonesia named Nyoman Sedayatana. I draw out the designs for the frames, and he does the carving. It is a wonderful collaboration and a special friendship.

HF: What can we expect to see from you in the future?

JF: My show at FFDG is a celebration of my 20th anniversary of the month I moved to San Francisco when I was 19. The owner of the gallery is founder of Fecalface.com, John Trippe, and we have been friends almost my entire time in SF. I am excited to celebrate this time with my old friend, his wife, and their brand new baby Trippe! It will be probably 25% retrospective of older drawings, mixed with 75% newer works. The theme is pretty autobiographical and introspective. The focus is on my deep love and appreciation for all the amazing things that happened to me over the last 20 years here.

“Hunting Trophies” by Jeremy Fish exhibits at Mark Moore Gallery through May 3rd, 2014.

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