Jason Herr, in his PCA&D studio surrounded by some of the work he's completed during his Fine Art Alumni Residency. (photos by Jennifer Kopf)
Five of artist Jason Herr's works still haven't returned from the gallery where they hung during Art Basel events in Miami, but it's hard to see where they'd fit in his studio on PCA&D's fourth floor.
Lit by late-afternoon winter sun slanting through a wall of windows, the corner studio already is full of paintings, their bold lines and vibrant colors popping from the white background of wall behind them.
Two pieces soon are heading to a show in Los Angeles. Others are headed to an exhibit at Little Berlin in Philadelphia, being curated by PCA&D Directions in Contemporary Art Adjunct Henry Gepfer. And all of the art covering the studio walls has been created during Herr's tenure in PCA&D's first-ever Fine Art Alumni Residency.
Herr ('16, Fine Art) can be found in his PCA&D studio just about every evening the College is open. Surrounded by PCA&D seniors in their own studio spaces, the academic year residency has given Herr the chance to interact and encourage students in their art, and to experiment with equipment and studios available at PCA&D, incorporating the results into his own body of work.
"I think it's good PCA&D is doing a residency program," Herr says. "Once you graduate and you have to keep up (that pace) on your own -- when you come back into school it helps you get back into that mindset, and helps you examine concepts."
Having time to branch out
"I've always been interested in pop art, comic books, cartoons, movies, narrative work," Herr says. "What I'm searching to do is to take that further and further into a mature art and intellectual space. It's a slow process. I'm searching for ways to express more philosophical or psychological concepts."
Herr, who began as an Illustration major at PCA&D before switching to Fine Art, says his time back at PCA&D has been illuminating.
More information and applications for PCA&D's Fine Art Alumni Residency for academic year 2020-2021 can be found here on the College website.
"You start to remember assignments you had, or your senior thesis, and re-evaluate some ideas and theories ... and you begin to think, 'How could I reinterpret that?'" Herr says.
"I'm always trying to move forward and discover what I'm making, and why."
The residency so far has given Herr the opportunity to teach and to sit in on student critiques, but he also sees a main benefit as simply having the space and equipment to branch out in his own art.
"I'm mainly trying to come in here every day and just work," he says, sitting in his window-lined studio space. The 3D and woodworking studios also factor into his current work, and he says he'd like to "start messing around with printmaking, some animation ... use the facilities of the school as much as I can."
"Frog Activity Center," Jason Herr
Building audience online
Being around PCA&D students every day has given Herr the chance to share what he's learned not only during his College tenure, but since graduation.
"I always tell students here the importance of making quality (photographic) reproductions of their work. I always scan 600 dpi to archive and make sure I'm posting to the highest quality. That's brought me a lot of success, because a lot of people see my work online."
That's how his work ended up at the Art Basel-affiliated show in Miami Beach late last year. "Somebody contacted me online and asked if I'd be part of the show," he says, which was exhibited at Superchief Gallery. "I sent them a whole list of images available, and they chose five."
Herr may be juggling the requirements of various exhibitions and cultivating a market for his work, but he still took time to recharge his creativity in other ways when the College studios were closed over winter break.
Then, he spent some time doing clay sculpture "just for the fun of it. It's important to just relax and let new ideas form."
He says that "A lot of creativity happens when you're not thinking about it."
When the Spring Term started in March, Herr was right back in his PCA&D studio.
"For me, coming here, I get inspired," he says. "It's like, it's time to work, and I have the space and the community of other artists."
- You can see more of Herr's works below, at his website, jasonherr.net, or follow him on Instagram here.
Left: "Kreeper of the Mind's Eye" Right: "Pumkin Dancer"
Left: "Alien Meets Troll" Right: "The Observer"