A Dozen : Jason Krugman

MNP has been following NYC based artist, Jason Krugman, pretty much since our inception and the kid is doing big things! He makes wonderful things out of LEDs (Electro Kinetic Art). We recently caught notice of his work over at the Electric Zoo Festival, look for his Living Objects series if you missed that at the upcoming MoogFest Music Festival….onto the interview..

Who is Jason Krugman?

I am a visionary artist who seeks to capture people’s attention using massive light up men and bright flickering lights. Based in Brooklyn, born in Boston. Tufts University and NYU. Lives in a closet, works in large public spaces. Has lots of collaborators and friends, little time for watching soap operas. Expert at collage and subway drawings, former financial dayworker. Espoused by the electronic music scene, relative unknown to Chelsea.

You were recently commissioned by Electric Zoo Music Festival to construct 12 LED beings, how did this project come about?

I was doing a fellowshop for Fabrica and got an email asking me to participate. A friend I had met at an opening a few months ago had recommended me to the art curator for Electric Zoo. I changed my plane ticket to come back for the install, not quite knowing if it was going to happen. Luckily, it ended up happening. I rented my friend Joseph’s pickup truck and wood shop, and hired my friend Andrew, and started building.

What does a usual day in the studio entail?

A typical day involves making really loud noises to drive my suite-mates (or actually, one particular suite-mate crazy), and then soldering some LEDs together in silence. I usually have a bunch of projects going on at once… some installations, some interactive, and some more about product design.

What is the inspiration behind your LED constructions?

The series "Living Objects", that I have been showing at public venues and music festivals, is about how we respond to human forms. By blowing the figure out (making it huge) and lighting it up, it heightens our perceptual awareness of the work, and also makes it something that is at once human-seeming, and distinctly not human. Are brains are hardwired to pick up the human forms in the installation — and we notice that they are involved in human-like behaviors. Some interact with each other, while some just lie around. My goal is to have them appear as human as possible, while realizing that they are actually pretty misshapen.

Why are LEDs your medium of choice?

LEDs are great to work with for a bunch of reasons. The cost is the biggest put-off. They cost about 5 times as much as regular lights… but they also are much better made, last way way longer, use very little electricity, and don’t heat up. The Electric Zoo Installation was powered off a big battery, which was great, because it let us avoid digging a trench to run wire from another power source.

What other technologies have you coupled with your existing palette of devices?

I am really fascinated with relays, which are electronically controlled switches. They come in all sizes and shapes… and some of them actually have moving parts inside them you can hear clicking when they switch on and off. They’re really cool because you can use low voltage touch switches, say with the voltage of a AA battery, to trigger big electronic effects with high power lighting or motors.

How would you advise artists transitioning from school to the "art world"?

I would say take on as many projects as you can handle. Don’t be afraid to take on things you don’t know quite how to do… just make sure you don’t ask for too much money and call some people first who might help you.

Do you have something to prove or do you feel that your purpose is to make art?

I want my art to expand out into the world and take on a life of its own. Its already started to happen a little bit and its an amazing feeling. I want to amaze people with beauty, as cheesy as that sounds.

How would you implement art to deter impending nuclear arms races?

LED bombs would be pretty cool, although that makes absolutely no sense. Maybe I’m on to something…

Who would you like Living Objects to communicate with?

I don’t really want them to communicate… rather to try and communicate. There’s something about the project that has to do with the concept of "babel", like they are forever trying and failing to communicate. At least they are trying though…

Have you had any outside electrical interference with the structures that you create?

The only interference I’ve had so far has come from inside the sculptures themselves. Sometimes when I forget to ground something, it goes nuts and doesn’t work at all the way its supposed to. You know, the little circular third prong on most chords? I figured out that it actually does something.

What is in store for your LED works in the next couple of years?

They are going to keep breeding and multiplying like diamond white sparkly bunny rabbits.

:: all images courtesy of Jason Krugman ::

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Posted: October 18th, 2010
at 8:00am by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: contemporary,a dozen

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