11-27 44th Road - Studio# Artiga Stu
11-27 44th Road
Jason Artiga is a native New Yorker and Long Island City artist. Artiga grew up in the Lower East Side area where famous graffiti artists displayed their works. He watched Antonio Chico Garcia worked on murals from his childhood home, which inspired his current methodology. At the age of 5, he met Keith Haring at Booster gallery in SoHo with his parents, and had a friendly conversation leading up to the realisation that his dream was to become an artist. After discovering the works of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Arthur Fellig, and the late Roy DeCarava, photography became his passion. While attending Hunter college, Roy DeCarava became his mentor and Artiga later became his teaching assistant. From DeCarava, he learned to love life, and to approach photography in the most naturalistic state of mind.
Artiga"s style of artwork is heavily inspired by the 80s. His photos/Paintings look for a timeless preservation of an old New York that, as of late, has been occluded by gentrification and the constantly shifting landscape. He believes these remnants are important to capture as if they were sentient beings, bringing people together, instead of pulling them apart as we see in current times. In using airbrushing and colour pencil techniques, he preserves the graffiti influences of aerosol art with a more controlled and intimate experience. Recently, his art work has been political: from dealing with the social hysteria of terrorism, the sins of our past presidents, to the ugly side to development in New York City, his striking messages through canvas tend to be socially conscious.
My work reflects the VHS culture and nostalgia of 80s horror movie artwork. Fear is one of the feelings of adrenaline boosting energy that one learns to enjoy as a kid, Roller coasters, fireworks, and horror movies. As a kid remembering a trip to the VHS rental store I had noticed the covers were usually airbrushed art as compared to todays Photoshop floating head movie posters. VHS cover art had always given a feeling that you wanted to rent that film in particular. VHS covers depending on the artwork made a B movie feel like you were seeing a masterpiece, and half of the time the cover was better than the movie. In the Regan era of VHS rentals and Jiffy pop popcorn it was a custom for families or friends would spend the weekend watching a film rented form the video store, It was like a tribal gathering, most of the time the choice of movie was quickly tied to the VHS cover.
I remember seeing one VHS cover for a horror B movie called Future Kill(1986) that was actually done by late artist H.R GIGER, the cover showed a biomechanical man with retractable blades in front of his face. Sadly the movie did not live up to the cover, however the cover intrigued me so much that I got into painting and illustration at 9 years old. The themes of my work are airbrushed, dealing with social and political satire. Usually the monochrome look that breaks out the dread, using greens and blues, and red sparingly. I tend to use an airbrush with colored pencils and a tablet. Seeing a resurgence of 80s nostalgia now, VHS cover art has made a come back, even to influencing a new generation filmmakers to make the films as good as the covers.
All images and text copyright Jason Artiga