The Artist Series: Jack Carden | Queensberry

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“Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.” – Oscar Wilde 

In this series we shine a light on artists expressing their individuality, documenting what they love, working hard on their craft, and sharing it with the world. 

Jack Carden, is an 18-year-old up and coming contemporary artist currently based in Christchurch (although originally from Auckland). He is currently studying at Ilam School of Fine Art, however, most of his days he spends working on art for gallery showings or for his art-focused social media.

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"This time two years ago, I would never have believed you if you told me I was pursuing a career in fine arts. I always enjoyed art - drawing, painting, making stuff in general- but I would inevitably get frustrated by my inability to turn what was in my head into reality. I was on a much more science-focused path, but due to a timetabling issue at my school, I had to take art instead of chemistry." 

He says this was perhaps the greatest blessing in disguise he has ever encountered in his life. "I think a huge turning point was when I discovered Jean-Michel Basquait. I previously wasn’t aware that you could portray your thoughts and ideas through such expressive artistic methods. All of sudden a whole new world was open to me."

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Inspired by a mashup of the modern-day “alt scene”, his studies of psychology, his fascination with the human biology, a “witch” mother, fast fashion, Dadaism and whole lot more – he created his unique contemporary, neo-gothic, anti-art style as it is today.  

"It brings me joy. And it brings others joy. Or at least it provokes my audience in one way or another..." 

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"...I don’t particularly care if someone likes my work or not. For me, the most rewarding thing as an artist is purely to evoke a reaction." 

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"I feel that pursuing my passion of being an artist is both a daunting, although extraordinarily exciting experience. The idea that I can go into a career - and a lifestyle - that I thoroughly enjoy is extremely fulfilling. The anticipation I have to show the world my art is immense. But equally, I am very aware of the difficulty involved in making it as an artist. I am extremely willing to put my all into achieving my dream, however, I know it won’t be easy." 

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His greatest learning as an artist is something that he has been told since the age of four. However, something he only realised was true over a decade later. “There are no mistakes in art. Some of my greatest works of art are mistakes. In fact, one of the more significant works of art that I’ve recently sold was a collection of about 20 mistakes. My art is not about perfection, predetermined, precise lines. My art is about emotion. It is a reflection of the artist. It is personal. If I spill my cup of tea on the work then that becomes part of the work. If I get frustrated and aggressively hack at my painting with my pallet knife - that then too becomes part of the work. If I had any advice to people who want to develop their artistic style or creative voice in general, it would be to embrace your mistakes." 

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Jack describes his work as a juxtaposition of the beautiful with the horrid. Depicting scenes of childhood wonder with elements of cognitive collapse. Portraying the wonderful promises of life next to the dark realities. My works are often illustrated on “found art” - often masking bright, stunning, painstakingly detailed landscapes with darkness. 

You can find more of Jack's art on his Instagram or Tik Tok. 
 
Charlotte x 

 

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