Artist Interview: Jonathan Kane
Jonathan Kane is a photographer based in Naples, Florida.
You can find him on the web at www.JonKane.com.
Just Before the Intervention by Jonathan Kane
Burnt Roomie by Jonathan Kane
Are your figures real people, characters, just shapes, or something else?
They represent certain women who I've known throughout my life. Not any particular woman at this point. They're all blurred together and conceptualized. An amalgamation of how they made me feel: good and bad. And of loss and sorrow. Every artist needs an obsession.
A recent show of yours was slapped with a huge "adult content" sign by the door. How did you feel about that?
I felt it was a good thing. It certainly brought in more people. People seem to be more inclined to want to see things that somehow seem sordid or dirty although I view my work in the exact opposite way. I don't want my images to evoke feelings of wanton sexuality. I want them to inspire pure emotion. I want to awe people with beauty. Also it's fun to play with their expectations. Although I have to say that I'm not entirely sure what the word "adult" really means besides the legal definition so I don't know if that's really my ideal audience.
Catalyst to Desire by Jonathan Kane
When the Well Runs Dry by Jonathan Kane
Is there a difference, creatively, in how you create physical collages versus computer compositing?
I approach them the same way. It's basically putting things on top of other things. With a computer, you're dealing with electronic files so you don't get to experience the tactile pleasures of handling the material. But on the other hand, it's a lot more difficult to make changes to a collage after you affix something to it. You have to be more certain of what you're about to do. Conversely, using computer imaging, I'm free to experiment a lot more because I don't have to nessesarily live with any of my choices.
What's the strangest thing you've done to a Polaroid for an effect?
I've done so many things. I've always taken a experimental approach to making art because it's much more unpredictible and exciting. I like not knowing exactly what's going to happen. Some of the things I've done to polaroid sx-70 film: shot it with a bb gun, cooked it on a stovetop, run over it in a car, injected one with a syringe and once I put one it my shoe and walked around on it all day. I've always wanted to throw one in front of a steamroller but the timing was never right.
Embraceable You by Jonathan Kane
Scourge by Jonathan Kane
A large portion of your work mixes the human form with machinery. What are your thoughts on the Singularity?
I just like the way flesh looks when it's combined with machinery. Taking such dissimilar materials and making them one. I'm not tryng to make any comment whatsoever about singularity. Although I'm certainly not discouraging others from making those associations.
What inspires you to create?
It's the only thing I think I'm good at. What else would I be doing? I'm not even sure I have a choice in the matter. Making art is probably somewhat theraputic to me. I do it to make myself feel better about who I am. It's also the closest I'll ever get to being a god.
How to be Popular by Jonathan Kane
Essential Characteristics of the Universal Hero by Jonathan Kane
If you weren't making art, what do you think you would be doing instead?
I used to be a stockbroker. I was good at it but I hated it with a passion. I'm actually afraid to think what I'd be doing now. Perhaps I'd be an astronaut with extreme claustrophobia.
What are you currently working on?
Besides some of the things I've been doing for the last few years such as my Big Hair series and my Mechanique series, I've lately been merging flowers with vaginas. Also I've been making more straightforward photographs of ideas that just seem funny to me.
I Miss Her Sometimes by Jonathan Kane
Scratching for Feed in a Gridded Lot by Jonathan Kane
Who are other artists that you admire?
Of course there are so many! I'll just name a few. Francis Bacon, Man Ray, DeKooning, Egan Schiele, Alexandr Rodchenko, Les Krims, Diane Arbus.. I could easily give you 50 other names. That's just what I thought of off the top of my head.
What piece of literature has had the most profound effect on your life?
Les Chants de Maldoror by Comte de Lautréamont. I've only managed to read half of it and I'm not entirely sure I understand what it's about but I love the imagery and the language. I find it very inspiring!
This interview originally appeared in issue 2.