INTERVIEW: Jeremy Stroup
Jeremy Stroup’s artwork absorbs information and aesthetics from different corners of art history, rearranging them into a modern context. His interest in a variety of subjects borrows symbols from their original context and rearranges them with others, attempting to honor both tradition and contemporary culture. His drawings and paintings feature a prominent use of flowing lines and patterned details, and depict a variety of subjects including dancing figures, fantastic architecture, and totemic images of nature. His work borrows from Japanese Ukio-e prints, science fiction illustration, art from non-westernized cultures, and abstract art from the early 20th century. With this broad palette of cultural references, Stroup seeks to tell his own story, somewhere between new and old.
Was there a specific moment you realized you wanted to be an artist? Or is it something you’ve always been passionate about?
I've always drawn pictures, since i was pretty much able to pick up a pen. But I don't think I ever thought it could be a career until college, I jumped from the career track I was on to major in fine art and art history. I don't know if i ever knew what I was doing, I'm still not always sure of myself. But I still draw and I think I get a little better every time.
Have you always done line drawings?
I've always drawn with pen and occasionally pencil, and I love making ceramic sculptures and all other kinds of art, but without a kiln, i'm currently working with what I have. I'm hoping my next venture will be making some woodblock prints in a similar style to these drawings, I take a lot of inspiration from woodcuts, especially japanese ukio-e prints.
I really love your rendition of “King Kunta” by Kendrick. How does music play a role in your process?
I had a lot of fun with that one! I took a lot of inspiration from Basquiat and the book "Things Fall Apart." I don't usually listen to music while I work, I usually like podcasts or standup comedy, I love casual banter, it keeps me going. However, I do take music that means a lot to me and either illustrate it or title a piece after a lyric or song title. These tend to be very lyric-centric and require enough listens to extract the message.
Speaking of music, what have you been listening to recently?
My two favorite bands are The Mountain Goats and mewithoutYou. I listened to Pale Horses all winter long. but now that it's warmed up I'm trying to branch out and have been listening to the clash, woodie guthrie, johnny cash, some old anabaptist hymns, minus the bear, and sufjan stevens. As always I am also listening to the mountain goats and mewithoutYou.
Are there other external factors that influence your work or is it all pre-meditated?
These drawings are my time to meditate on whatever comes to mind, some is fantasy, but almost everything is rooted in some real event, desire, fear, or other stimulus. A lot of the poses the figures do are actually poses that I do when I stretch, or bartend. I try to keep animal subjects to those that I have met, interacted with, or seen personified very clearly in people. There are a lot of rabbits in our garden, ergo, many drawings of rabbits. Moths are sorta my chosen symbol of transformation and seasonal nocturnal flight. I relate very strongly to moths. otherwise, much of the details come from architecture, biology, themes and patterns from art history, things you wouldn't know you know, until you've already drawn them.
Is there something you’re working on or do you have any projects in mind?
I'm taking a little break from drawing due to some wrist tendon pain, and i'm moving to a bigger apartment soon. My hope is to embark on some new projects in that space. My most eager desires are to get access to a kiln and continue my ceramic work, and to make a wooden jig to begin work on some woodcuts, starting with simple black and white, and working my way up to color woodcuts. I'm working on a website, and I will always continue my drawings.