Gareth Jackson is a conceptual artist operating in the North West of England. His work has been described as 'cold and post human' which pleased him greatly. He has previously produced both commercial art and high art, but now prefers to occupy an indeterminate post modern zone.
PML: You wanted to call this interview Made in Adversity. Why was that?
GJ: It's the name of my faux media company and the circumstances in which my work is made.
PML: Can you give us some examples of this adversity?
GJ: Willfully producing no budget works / refusing to permit colour in most of my work / working outside of the industry-establishment / not seeking approval or often even an audience / not relocating from the rural North to London. And although I am not now impoverished, I have been for long periods.
GJ: Most of this ADVERSITY is from self imposed prohibitions.
PML: You do keep a low profile. I googled you and didn't find much.
GJ: It amuses that while people seem to litter the internet with 'selfies' and whatnot I take a contrary position of attempting to minimize my personal self. Almost everything is an act of art, so is given due consideration.
PML: You’re a filmmaker, an editor and a writer...
GJ: I attempt to produce works in all media. I have little interest in constructing a formal career as I am interested in what can be discovered if you turn around and travel in the opposite direction. This means that my work can be restlessly divergent. I think of these various strategies as hats and I am very fond of hat-stacking.
PML: Is this an attempt to avoid artistic unity?
GJ: No. All of these strategies / hats could be thought of as subsets of my conceptual art practice. It is never entirely clear if I am making a film or writing a text or producing a conceptual artwork in that form. I strive to leave no gap between art and life - therefore almost everything becomes potential material for / or act of art. I would perhaps regard myself ('misen' in Northern slang) as a philosophical test pilot questioning if theory holds in application.
PML: Is there any particular hat you prefer wearing nowadays?
GJ: I have drifted away from filmmaking a little in recent years, and now mostly produce textworks.
PML: Why do you think that is?
GJ: I had a very prolific period making no budget experimental films which culminated, but did not conclude, with making LORD HORROR - THE DARK AND SILVER AGE (2010) after which I was unsure if there was any new territory which these films could explore.
PML: So writing is fresher?
GJ: I am now very interested in words and their arrangement in considered order. I find there is something very direct / immediate in the act of writing although I prefer authoring SPECULATIVE FICTIONS pages as that is a concurrent marriage of writing, graphic design and illustration.
PML: What are you trying to do in your writing?
GJ: I strive to remain experimental although this becomes trickier the more textworks I produce.
PML: Is that because of the danger of repeating yourself?
GJ: Yes, with familiarity it becomes a rote process which does not particularly interest me.
PML: But is it still possible to be an experimental writer in our hyper modern era?
GJ: After the sixties it is very difficult, perhaps impossible, to produce anything truly experimental in any media; but this does not absolve us from the attempt to do so.
PML: What are your general aims as an artist?
GJ: My aim is mostly to please and amuse myself and with regards to others to 'wreck everything and ruin their lives'.
PML: And beyond that?
GJ: The provocation of thought. I find much of contemporary art disappointing as most artists operate within the strictures of the art industry / establishment, and permit their work to be commodified. Coming from an abandoned career in the commercial arts as a graphic designer and (uncommercial) illustrator, I reject this and struggle to keep my work 'pure' - FREE and distributed electronically to ALL.
PML: It’s not necessarily wrong to make a living from your art…
GJ: No, but I prefer to adopt a contrary approach by applying personal prohibitions. This position is willfully quixotic. I thoroughly enjoy being quixotic and I do this because someone has to.
PML: Tell us about one of these free projects - your online magazine SPECULATIVE FICTIONS.
GJ: SPECULATIVE FICTIONS (SF) could be read self contained pages as an e-magazine or as works exhibited in an imaginary exhibition. I write my own page contributions and respond to author submissions as an editor / graphic designer / illustrator.
PML: And SF is, I understand, published annually?
GJ: Yes. ISSUE ZERO of SF (2013) was entirely my work being a test experiment to define what SF should be. With ISSUE ONE (2014) I opened the project to submissions as I am interested in the act of collaboration which can be engaging and can temporarily permit the relaxation of certain personal prohibitions.
PML: What other collaborative work have you been doing?
GJ: My most recent collaborative work is participating in the exhibition (AND MODEL Gallery /Leeds / 11/06/15) which accompanies the book launch of the Robert Meadley novel GOING TO OST. Robert is the greatest 'philosophical comedian' working in the English language.
I usually avoid the act of exhibition as I prefer to circumnavigate the art ind/est and engage with the viewer directly.
PML: If your work is in a gallery, it still engages with the viewer.
GJ: The act of exhibition confers the status of 'art' onto any object which appears inside a gallery and I feel it is preferable to allow the viewer to make their own readings and value assessment of the work.
As I reject the commodification of art entirely I feel that everyone should be able to own an exact copy of a work of art which enables them to engage with it in their domestic environment. The internet has now enabled artists with the potential to distribute their work freely and directly.
PML: Is SF a long-term project?
GJ: I am driven by whimsy so I usually conceive and conclude most projects very quickly, although I have committed to produce annual issues of SF for as long as it remains interesting - unusually, for me, distribution is an integral part of this project.
PML: Why is that?
GJ: The act of distribution can be very time consuming. More often than not when I conclude a project I immediately move on to new projects as the work being seen does not greatly concern me but always disregarding the act of distribution had become very much an omission.
With SF I only need to distribute issues on the 01/01 annually and then give it no further consideration.
PML: You also have some ongoing film projects.
GJ: I do have to get round to finishing the nearly completed but long bypassed short films TERMINAL and THE LAST MAN ON THE MOON - - - which may or may not occur in 2015.
In the interim the written texts for these films also became pages in SF.
PML: What else does the future hold?