Artist Profile: Jason A. Maas
Jason Maas has made quite a few changes this year. Not only has he changed locations, swapping his Brooklyn zip code in favor of Philadelphia, but the one time teacher is now the student.
Maas spent the last few years as an elementary school art teacher in upstate NY. Commuting from Brooklyn to Westchester everyday definitely presented him with time limitations to labor over his own artwork and the exploration of new concepts, until now. He decided to leave behind the teaching world to become a student himself, studying at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts to receive his MFA.
To label him as just an artist would be to pigeonhole him. Additionally, he’s a writer. An illustrator (he made a comic strip featuring him and his dog Pushkin saving us all from the repugnant construction of all the condos taking over Williamsburg.) He also has a children’s book Cows Can’t Jump and if that wasn’t enough to have on his plate he can also call himself a musician.
Jason’s artwork exudes a certain level of dreamlike quality, being that a good deal of his work consists of metaphoric patterns and are interpretive to view. In his work one can find various mediums and meanings such as splashes of blazing colors, a range of layers, photography as well as allusions to name a few. It’s almost a genre you can’t define but have to see for yourself to truly experience the different depths and aspects of his paintings. The work he produces is anything but literal or obvious. Instead the paintings favor a more conceptual feel but not in the slightest way overworked. I have always found the most compelling aspect of his artwork is that when you’re viewing it you become drawn in to his painting in order to dissect the different dimensions that lay within his pieces. I find that the imagery he uses is both mysterious and evocative whether it be the figures or the colors in his work.
At the moment he’s exploring two very interesting new concepts. It deals with objectifying the psychological landscape. The translation of this idea in his paintings mean he paints one piece of work with his eyes open followed by what he sees when his eyes are closed. The theme of this work is all within the setting of an urban environment.
Turning a single sentence over in his mind “I am the city” inspired the idea behind his work. The visions that are portrayed in his paintings come from fragments of his memory that get played out through the experience of life while walking the streets he’s called his home which have been quite a few: Paris, New York, Florence, and now Philadelphia and the memories of past and present that are attached to each.
Reflected in Jason Maas’ art a personal understanding can be achieved through his ability to suggest mood, feeling and even a memory whether it be conscious or unconscious in his paintings. Taking the time to check out this artist’s work will leave you with no doubt that his art is of distinguishable talent.