I had the honor of interviewing the great Jon Sarkin in his studio space at the Birdseye building. Jon has been featured in GQ, Tom Cruise buys his life story with the intent of Tom playing Jon. His work has also been purchased by many serious art collectors and he has shows all over the world. Recently his work was featured in the latest music video for the band Guster which was produced by Chad Carlberg’s Gloucester based Production Blue studio.
From Jon’s Website-
HOW MY DISABILITY HAS INFLUENCED MY WORK
In 2006 Sarkin was nominated for a Wynn Newhouse Foundation award for artists with disabilities. As part of the application, he composed the below essay to describe his disability. Sarkin ended up receiving one of the runner-up prizes at the awards ceremony in New York in the spring of 2007.
There is no facet of my work that has not been profoundly impacted by my stroke. Because of this fact, any note of how my disability has influenced my art is very difficult. It is hard to describe this precisely because my disability has affected every aspect of my life so pervasively. It is extremely challenging to be objective about a thing as subjective as yourself.
Why am I unable to be reflective about how my stroke affected my work?
Our physicality and perception are how we access and negotiate and navigate our environment and surroundings.
When these were paradigmatically and physically altered, so too was my understanding of, and my relationship with, the outside world.
There exists a connection with the external world and my “internality” that is truly intimate. TRULY.
When this balance is disturbed, the resulting disequilibrium changes everything. EVERYTHING.
How this intimacy has been disquieted informs every aspect of my art. One of the things that is most apparent is its sheer abundance. I create in a fever, in a mad torrent of ideas and images. This directly relates to my inability to censor the floodgates of my imagination. Another part of my work is its stream-of-consciousness “texture.” This correlates with how my neural architecture has been scrambled by my stroke, resulting in an inability to think linearly and logically. Also, because my stroke has caused me to be obsessive, my art involves working with the same images over and over and over again. suffer from a syndrome I like to call “obsessive-compulsive-manic-depressive-creative-disorder.”
I see everything differently now. Much of this has to do with my double vision. When one’s vision is doubled, i.e., when one cannot focus on the same image with both eyes, one loses depth perception. I see objects quite differently now, and this is translated into how I draw them. My sense of color is changed, too. My perception of everything, including color and shape, and, come to think of it, sound and smell and the way things feel, has been cataclysmically and deeply altered.
This is why it’s hard to explain how my disability has influenced my work.
Here is a video the ABC did about Jon’s disability and how it has created the artist that he has become-
Look for part one of my interview with Jon tonight.