New York-based artist Jason Freeny is best known for his whimsically macabre sculptures that blend science with pop culture. Opened through precise vivisection, his re-adaptations of cartoon characters reveal their meticulously detailed and anatomically correct internal parts. In these sculptures, the viewer is shown a previously unimagined side to familiar icons, lending an added dose of reality to fantasy subjects. Hi-Fructose recently caught up with Jason at his studio to view his process and talk about his evolution as an artist.
Jason Freeny’s artistic training began at Pratt Institute in the early ’90s, where he was enrolled as an industrial design major. However, Jason tells us that one of the most pivotal experiences during this time was outside of the classroom, when discovering the burgeoning Lowbrow art scene that was emerging from California. Upon leaving Pratt, Jason spent his time working as a commercial artist. Over the years, he was an illustrator for Penthouse, employed at MTV’s Special Events Department and eventually was hired as a “toy inventor” with The Obb Toy Group. It was during this era that Jason began pondering the working dynamics of toys, had they been born as biological creatures.
In 2007 Jason completed his earliest anatomical toy themed work — a digital rendering of a balloon animal with bones and organs viewable through its transparent shell. Realizing the limitless possibilities of this unique style of 3D customization, he moved on to making his own version of the Gummi Bear, and later, other figurines. Now creating his fine art sculptures full-time from his Long Island studio, he’s taken on many of the characters we all grew up with, re-imagining everything from Barbie to Mickey Mouse.
After wrapping up his most recent solo show (“Choice Cuts” at 101/exhibit), Jason is currently setting his sights on mass producing several sculptures, thereby making his art accessible to new audiences. Though in part because much of his previous work requires licensing from the owners of the characters he’s parodied, Jason is now in the process of designing his own original figures for manufacturing. Check out some of the prototype sketches below and be sure to keep up with his website for the latest news.