Red Gate Reunion Series 2012: Jon Hewitt

Jon Hewitt, wanker at BUS Projects, 2012

With charm and wit Jon Hewitt creates artwork that constantly challenges the very thing it is. No matter the medium, making art is a performance (see  images from Jon’s performance i am a serious artist here). He approaches the subject matter with dry comedy that is concise and is a clear catalyst that allows people to think about larger questions.

Jon Hewitt, all the artists in a book about art, 2009

To examine the social constructions and expectations surrounding artists and their work, Jon draws from other artists of previous generations. In his performance,  i am a serious artist, Jon visually references artist Keith Arnatt’s work. For the image pictured above Jon leafed through a conceptual art book and wrote down artists’ names and Jon’s gut reaction to the name be it complimentary or blasphemous. In feel the confidence, edition of 1,731,752,234, the piece some of you may recognize from my living room, the top of a blad head (presumably Jon’s) is repeated in a grid 42 times and below each repetition is the first initial and last name of bald artists such as p. picasso, m. duchamp, j. hewitt, and a. warhol. Jon places himself among the masters. In Art History there is a pattern of borrowing and/or rejecting. Each movement intentionally of inadvertently  looks at what those before did and either learns from it and pushes the ideas further or completely rejects it. Jon enters the conversation from a different angle using the artists and the social culture surrounding them as material to create his work.

Jon Hewitt at BUS Projects in 2012

As with Adrienne Romine and Britt Salt, I asked Jon the magic question. In response, Jon composed a short, eloquent essay. I now leave you with his words:

“what would i do in my creative practice if money or time was not an issue…

my first reaction is i would make big stuff. massive stuff. for no other reason than bigger is better, isn’t it?! and isn’t that what people do, get recognised, get some money, make bigger stuff, anish kapoor, antony gormley, damien hirst

kapoor n gormley work much more in the public realm, the commissions get larger, the space’s bigger, hence the work bigger. hirst is more grotesque, which i sometimes like.

i’ve always wanted to make a giant cigarette lighter. again no reason. just cos big is better. its funnier. more ridculous, absurd. i like that.

secondly, i would drink more. i would go to more parties, i’d buy nice clothes, i’d get hair replacement treatment, i’d drink fancy cocktails in bars where i can’t pronounce the name of the drink, the bar, bartender or the music they’re playing. and i’d think i was awesome.

in all honesty, i think i would panic. i have no concept of not worrying about time and especially money. maybe its that concern, opposition, frustration that drives me on, keeps me trying new things, being willing to make a fool of myself, make the art i want to.

given all the time and money in the world i would not be surprised if i made dull, mediocre, pointless art that was owned and showed by dull, mediocre, pointless people.

life is easy. if lacking time and money is going to make me work harder, then good. if its going make me angry, frustrated and stunted. brilliant. i need to create myself an opposition. having no time n money is all we have left. bring on no money and no time!

having said that. bollocks. thats all bollocks. wank. i’d love some money. and some time. i could buy good paints, proper equipment, a bigger studio. i wouldn’t have to work full-time in a job i hate. it would be bliss. and i’d grab the chance so hard with two  hands, i’d probably have less time and money than i do now cos i spent it all on art making!”

-Jon Hewitt

Jon, thank you for your fresh honesty and humor. Other than asking you to add a trip to Chicago somewhere between the fancy cocktails and nice paint, I couldn’t agree more.

I appreciate Jon’s dissection of his reaction the the question. In a sense, his essay is reminiscent of a 12-step program or the stages of mourning. They aren’t mirrors of one another but the end result of acceptance is the same. That being said, I think Jon will do anything but simply accept.

– – –

Visit Jon Hewitt’s Website!

Also find his work with Britt Salt on the Trans-Siberian Art Centre.

If you’d like to read other Red Gate Reunion Series posts click here!

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