Doodling pop culture in Breckenridge |

Doodling pop culture in Breckenridge

Summit daily news
Special to the Daily

Jamison Sarteschi always has been obsessed with two things: New York City and “tastefully gaudy” objects.

Immediately after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Drew University in New Jersey, he moved to New York City. In the past decade he’s lived there, he has created what some might call “tastefully gaudy” art.

Though he doesn’t like to precisely define his pieces, most of his drawings are a conscious or subconscious commentary on pop culture and human nature, such as one of a pig butt, which mocks obesity, or drawings of various objects – from crowns of thorns to pizza slices and worms; the latter bears the question: “Pick which one Jesus wore and win a prize.” It is an observation of demoralizing what once was sacred and taking everything for granted.

Wednesday, he talked about how easy it is to poke fun at pop culture because it’s so “greedy and gaudy.” Even the “green” movement has become a commodity in his eyes, almost like a toy in a store.

“It fascinating that they can turn everything …” his sentence trails off. “I’m mocking the greed and irony of society.”

His work has evolved from large, mixed media to smaller work, mostly because he hasn’t had studio space for the last two years, so he had to downscale. He’s excited to spend a month at the Tin Shop – his first residency – because it allows him to create larger-than-life canvases again.

When he moved in earlier this week, he covered the walls with selections from the 300 drawings he has created. Measuring approximately 8×11, he fills the paper with small details, mostly in black ink, then brings them to life with fluorescent and bold colors.

Themes of sarcasm, sexuality and playfulness abound.

“I like to push boundaries,” he said about the notable use of male genitalia and the female form.

“It’s always interesting to throw in there,” he added. “I would rather have people offended than find my work boring.”

However, the sexual symbols don’t scream off the pages; they coexist with myriad other depictions, hidden yet apparent to anyone who looks closely.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, some of Sarteschi’s drawings appear bluntly childlike, as if a kindergartener scratched all over a blank sheet of paper. This, too, is deliberate and offsets his sophisticated talent as an illustrator.

“I go in and out because I love the innocence, the child-ness of it – writing ‘yummm’ over and over,” he said. “I just shut my eyes and keep drawing. (It’s an) implied ignorance and playfulness.”

He spends anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours creating his 8×11 work.

“I spit something out, let it be and then evolve to what it is afterwards,” he said, adding that 99.9 percent of the time, he doesn’t know what he’s going to draw, though he may begin with a mood or a desire to, say, draw a pizza.

Tuesday, June 15, he invites people into his world by asking them to draw blindfolded, then add to a large canvas while blindfolded and listening to a piece of music. Then he’ll add his inspiration. He calls it the Butterfly Effect.

“It’s an artistic tribute to the concept that even the smallest, little thing can affect something huge,” he said. “(By participating), they’ve altered what I ever would have created were they never here.”

Indeed, a different approach.

“His work is very whimsical and colorful,” said Arts District coordinator Jenn Cram. “I’m curious to hear how the Butterfly Effect creates these interesting drawings.”

His goal of the workshop: “Just to try something fun and see how interesting art can be,” he said. “I don’t have any constrictions or limitations. It’s for anyone who thinks it’s too stuffy in the art world.”

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