Artist Interview – Justar Misdemeanor

Justar Misdemeanor - SoldierFollowing the Ingram Collection’s purchase of Justar Misdemeanor’s Soldier from the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2013, the collection’s recently appointed curator, Jo Baring interviewed the artist and explored the inspiration and process behind the artwork.

Why do you work under a pseudonym?

I started working under the name Justar Misdmeanor for a variety of reasons; I feel like it describes my character of an opinionated, outspoken person and due to the nature of some of the controversial work I have previously created based on political issues and conspiracy theories.

The name Justar Misdemeanor can be broken down to – Just a star, and then the definition of misdemeanor means offensive or slighty misbehaved, so combined they become Just a misdemeanor.

How long were you working on Soldier?

The soldier drawing took me about three and a half days. I pretty much worked around the clock on it as I prefer working late at night, and when I am committed to a piece as I was with this I literally can not stop until it is finished.

Can you take us through your artistic process

The process for each piece differs greatly as sometimes I have the urge to spontaneously create, others I research extensively, then, like with the soldier drawing I used found imagery which immediately spoke to me; selecting part of the drawing to recreate on a much larger scale to emphasize its importance.

What has drawn you to warfare as a subject matter?

War has been a dominant theme in my work for several years now as I feel compelled to communicate important issues. I think warfare affects so many people in so many different ways whatever side of the line; whether people are tragically killed or manage to survive their lives will never be the same. Some are left mourning the loss of family members, whilst their homes and surrounding areas are destroyed; and many of the soldiers that survive are left maimed physically or mentally tortured with what they have witnessed. These are just some of the effects from the aftermath of war. I personally don’t think either side in a war has won when it involves killing people and destroying countries/places.

We are continually told not to be violent towards one another otherwise we are convicted of crimes and punished accordingly, yet, countries use the biggest form of violence to solve problems and it is ‘ok’ because it is war.

Do you personally have any feelings towards warfare i.e. are you working from a politically standpoint?

I feel like I have answered this in the first question as I really do feel strongly about this subject matter.

Read about the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2013 by clicking here.

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