Test Drive: Jason Jägel on Sumi Starter Pack

Jason Jagel Test Drive: Plumb Sumi Starter Pack

Jason Jägel is a San Francisco-based artist known for his narrative-laden paintings, sculptures and drawings. I’m especially fond of his painted magazine scenes. His most recent exhibition at Gallery 16 was the backdrop for the Plumb launch party in March. He sent me a few photos from a test drive of one of the Plumb notebooks, and I immediately asked to see more.

PLUMB: So what are these images exactly?

JASON JÄGEL: These are brush-pen drawings made in one of the Sumi Ink Club Starter Pack books. I chose the book with minimal marking and fewer specific references. Sumi Ink Club and I are ink-and-brush doodle cousins.

PLUMB: How do you use sketchbooks?

JASON JÄGEL: I keep a couple pocket sketchbooks and refillable brush-pens with me almost always, except when I forget for some reason, which for me is like forgetting to brush my teeth before leaving the house, an anti-habitual action that can leave me feeling the psychic equivalent of fuzzy teeth. Drawing all the time is something I’ve been doing as far back as I remember, instinctively looking for opportunities to make marks and images. Sketchbooks are a casual, portable arena of artistic practice and a medium to reflect my experience out in the world or collect moments of vision. There’s a balance for me of striving for solutions to visual effects that I desire (often an abstract longing) and just letting whatever happen (which may be another path to the same result). Using the Sumi Ink Club books makes for a fun game for me to react spontaneously to the printed mark, which in the end becomes indistinguishable from the ink-and-brush marks I make. I want to feel intrigued or surprised by my own drawing and use of the existing marks, to feel some kind of interplay between my brushstrokes and those already in the book.

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