Jason Kriegler: Mixed media paper embroidery
Jason Krieglers’ pared-down paper embroidery paintings suggest organic, biological forms as well as abstract exteriors, but can also be experienced purely as combinations of shapes, line and texture.
His work has been exhibited both within the U.S. and internationally. He lives and works in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico.
In this interview, Jason describes how his interest in materials and techniques combined with a sense of wanderlust and a desire to tell historical stories led him to discover his artistic voice. We also learn how he creates his intricate pieces through a minimalist medium.
Painting and textiles infused
TextileArtist.org: What initially attracted you to textiles as a medium?
Jason Kriegler: I have a deep interest in the stories, usage, materials and techniques which, for many years, have been told through textiles. The historical nature from different regions, tribes or villages produce such unique intricate pieces.
I have traveled throughout South America, India, Africa and other countries to collect, learn and understand these traditions, techniques and its people, which influence my art.
What or who were your early influences?
These artists influenced my work and help me push the boundaries of what a textile artist is, for me. Painting and textiles can the both be intertwined, infused.
What was your route to becoming an artist?
I went to art school in Florida where my focus was visual communications and having a career.
While at school in the late 80’s, I was intrigued by the artists, contemporary art and modernism that were changing the art scene; radical ideas and techniques were being challenged and created, and this fascinated me.
I like to think of my work as ‘not the norm’ of traditions. i.e. embroidering into paper rather than traditional fabric. I began as a traditional painter then made the transition to mixed-media artist, using found objects and materials.
Over the past 10 years, I began using embroidery or stitching into different mediums to create a dimensional story in my art.
Tell us a bit about your chosen techniques.
Originally I used traditional fabric, linen, and sumi inks, which are quite saturated on linen and paper, creating layers using variations of the black tint on top, then embroidering into, which creates the pull effect and distorts the medium. I like this, this allows the piece to become more emotive.
When moving to Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, where I currently reside, finding good quality fabrics was difficult.
I started using raw paper to sketch on using sumi ink, then on a whim embroidered into the paper. Every hole made the paper more sensitive and fragile and I was embroidering blind, having to turn the paper over to poke through the next to achieve a shape or form.
A sense of depth
How do you use these techniques in conjunction with paper, sumi ink and hand embroidery?
I start with raw paper, washes of the sumi ink and now acrylics also, building a layering / dimensional effect, which then informs the shape of the embroidery.
How would you describe your work and where do you think it lies, within the sphere of contemporary art?
I describe them as pared-down paper embroidery paintings, refined without deferring to the geometric abstraction that characterizes the work of so many minimalist painters from the 20th century to today.
My compositions suggest organic, biological forms as well as abstract exteriors, but can also be experienced purely as combinations of shapes, line and texture.
Despite their simplicity, they have a captivating quality that rewards careful looking, which reveals the complexity of hand embroidering into paper, enlivened by a sense of depth that only seems to grow with continued examination.
I don’t really see mixed-media paper embroidery out there.
Do you use a sketchbook? If not, what preparatory work do you do?
I use small working sketches on raw paper to see shape and form, and from there, if I am interested in what has happened on the paper, I will elaborate on a larger form and building from there.
Tell us about your process from conception to conclusion.
I paint using black sumi inks or black acrylic, creating form and shape on raw paper or linen, using cut out paper or drawing directly on the paper. Once a ‘base’ of a shape has been formed I will begin the embroidery. It’s not planned – once you poke a hole in the paper you are committed. Traditional paintings can be painted over, this cannot.
What environment do you like to work in?
I have a traditional studio, the ‘base’ forms are painted either on the floor or a table based on size. Then the embroidery is done on another table area within the studio.
The lighting when I begin embroidery has to be specific, as when I poke a hole in the paper, and flip the paper to poke the next hole, the light has to be right next to it otherwise the paper could tear.
Pushing the boundries of non-traditional mediums
What currently inspires you?
Minimalism in design, architecture and art, usage of different materials in different non-traditional ways. Simplistic forms or shape that cause a reaction.
How has your work developed since you began and how do you see it evolving in the future?
My work in the past 10 years was more minimal, simplistic abstract forms of embroidery and ink or paint. Now, I am infusing wood, raw linen, found objects and embroidery.
What advice would you give to an aspiring textile artist?
I don’t consider myself a ‘textile artist’. I am an artist which I believe, if you had to put me in a box, would be mixed media artist.
To me textile artist is a traditional artist using fabric and embroidery. How can aspiring artists use non-traditional techniques to advance the category?
What piece of equipment or tool could you not live without?
Needle and thread.
How do you go about choosing where to show your work?
I look for galleries and blogs which are open to pushing the boundaries of non-traditional media.
Where can readers see your work this year?
Currently in a show at the Fundacion de Artistas in Merida, Yucatan Mexico.
For more information visit: www.jasonkriegler.com
Let your friends know about this artist’s work by sharing the article on social media. It’s easy – click on the buttons below!