admin On dicembre - 11 - 2010

– interview –
Mutations from contemporary reality figures into the world of fantasy and nightmares, like a God in creation of creatures full of darkness and arised from passion, JK Potter is the link between literature, imagination and art, an art, his one, where passion is the engine, and people, transfigured, half invisible and moving, with smartness and painstakingly crated essence, evoke the idionisyncratic and furious sensibility that steams up from his works, from photography to illustrations and paintings.
He, the new genius of mixed visual arts, speaks about his favourite (and inspiring) dreams, the fall of the walls between men world and animals one, Lydia Lunch, illustrating horror novels, steampunk books, the influence by John Heartfield and Clarence John Laughlin, grotesque and the beauty in darkness atmosphere.

– JK Potter: a great artist crossing from photography to art itself. How would you describe your work?
 JK: My work is a sickness that pours out of me like a bleeding wound. Things build up in my mind that simply must be released into my work. If I don’t create I feel like I might explode. It’s also a substitute for psychoanalysis for me. The images reveal ancestral memories and submerged worlds that constantly surprise me.

– And how your works come to life, from the idea?
JK: I get many of my ideas from dreams.  I dream so intensely that sometimes the dream seems to start before I fall asleep. My dreams can be so intense that I wake up in the morning emotionally exhausted. For example last night’s dream had naked people with pine cones growing out of their faces crawling through narrow tunnels in a giant termite mound-like structure. There were hundreds of them and they were all pushing round resinous balls of compacted insects, shellfish, and ancient coins into a cavernous central chamber. There they fed these objects to a massive creature that was like a giant worm with huge spikes of futuristic architecture sticking out of it’s skin. I can’t describe it in words very well so I need to make a picture.

– Where do you take the inspiration in working?
 JK: There are my dreams as I described. I also find inspiration in Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas, deep in the American south. I love dark swamps, creepy old abandoned hotels, crumbling factories, cotton gins and plantation homes.
I find so much to inspiration in these haunted places. Some of these locations are dangerous and scare the shit out of me, but it is worth the risk. Sooner or later I figure a crumbling wall will fall on me, or I will fall down some slime
covered stairs and break my neck.

– What about you career and the artists that influenced you more?
 JK: John Heartfield and Clarence John Laughlin are my main influences, but I’ve
been influenced by everything from Italian fresco painters to modern graffitti artists. I’ve been photographing art on railroad cars recently. Mostly tags, drawings, and images scratched in the paint. Railroad trains are traveling art galleries.

– In you works there’s a sense of mystery and a growing pathos, they give to public the idea of human nature in evolution and transformation and they stop the between lines from men and animals.
JK: I love animals and I don’t really consider humankind to be the highest  form of life on this planet. Just because we have the ability to destroy the planet doesn’t automatically make us number one. If anything we are lower animals. I know many disagree with this idea but I think some creatures on this earth are obviously better than we materialistic humans. I also sense our animal selves and the deep bonds we share in relationship to the animal kingdom.  This has inspired my series of part human-part animal images.

How would you define your art?

JK: I can’t really define my work as art at all. At this point I consider myself a weird- image maker. As you can see I have many ideas about my work and what it means to me, but I no longer call it art. If someone else thinks it is art I don’t complain.

– What about photography and art today: do you think it’s a world in crisis?

JK: If photography and art are in crisis it is only because everything else in the world is in crisis as well. Surrealism on the other hand has been co-opted by advertising. It’s so commonly used to sell things. It’s so sad.

– The horror in your art…
JK: I think most of my best horror work has been done illustrating books by Lucius Shepard, Ramsey Campbell, Stephen King, and many others. When I am illustrating I am relying more on the writer’s imagination than my own.

– Women in your works.
 JK: I have had some truly impressive female collaborators like Katrina Uribe, Lydia Lunch, and Frankenstein’s Cat. I owe so much to my models and collaborators who have provided me with so much support and inspiration over the years. My models literally risk their lives sometimes working with me. Many location shoots are dangerous because of unstable walls and floors, asbestos, lead paint, black mold and such. Trespassing always has it’s risks as well especially with models in strange costumes or naked.


– What do you expect might be the reaction, for the public, to your works? 
 JK: I would hope they find my images grotesquely beautiful. I am truly obsessed with the darkly beautiful in this strange dying world. I’m not out to attack or make an ugly shocking splash. There is a side to the grotesque that is gorgeously exquisite to me. Some people recognize this beauty instantly. Others just can’t see it. I feel sorry for them.

– Next exhibitions and work?
JK: I am working on a new artbook on the haunted American south, as well as a series of Railroad Art images called “Love Your Yard.” This is a documentary series of other peoples art, not my own. There is a preview of “Love Your Yard” on Youtube. .
I am also illustrating a large collection of stories by the late Karl Edward Wagner for Centipede press. I  have a new Steampunk book by James P. Blaylock coming out from Subterranean Press, and some illustrations in Jeff VanderMeer’s Steampunk Bible.


by Ilaria Rebecchi

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4 Responses so far.

  1. […] King's Road » Blog Archive » JK POTTER – interview: art and the … […]

  2. I’m curious if it’s ok to borrow some piece of this publication to use for my presentation project.

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