Having initially developed her craft with paper and razor blades because it was all she could afford, Miami-born Jen Stark has taken paper art to new heights of popularity. A rising star on the global contemporary arts scene, her unique technique and her mastery of color and geometry fascinate. No wonder her intricate sculptural work – so hypnotic and colorful – has caught the attention of critics and collectors alike. You have to see it to believe it. We were thrilled to meet up with this talented young lady for a studio visit in her new L.A. abode. Welcome to the vortex… Photography by Kimberly Genevieve.
LF: What’s inspiring you lately?
JS: Lately I’m inspired by the idea of fractals and designs in the universe that are identical, whether small or large. Like how the veins on a leaf look so similar to the winding water ways of a river. I’m also very interested in Op Art designs, which give the impression of movement, hidden images, flashing & vibration simply through placement of colors and patterns.
LF: Your work is extremely intricate. How would you describe your creative process?
JS: For the paper sculptures, I usually draw out a sketch first. Then once I have an idea of what the sculpture will look like, I’ll choose the colored paper and stack it in the order I’ll need. I cut each sheet of paper, one by one with an X-acto knife, usually beginning with the largest hole and sequentially getting smaller. Sometimes I’ll use a pencil, ruler or compass, to make sure I have straight lines when I’m cutting. It took me about half a year to complete all the work in my last solo show – eight pieces in total.
LF: Which is your favorite piece you’ve created lately?
JS: I really enjoyed two of most recent pieces in my solo show at Martha Otero called “Whole” (the large sunken paper sculpture installed in the gallery’s wall) and “Cosmic Distortion” (a zigzag-shaped pedestal/paper sculpture). The “Whole” really pulls you in because it looks like a strange complex wormhole that is a part of the wall. It’s my largest installation to date, at 3 x 3 x 3.5 feet deep. I love incorporating the sculptures with the space, and plan to do more of this in the future. The pedestal “Cosmic Distortion” is a colorful, jagged pedestal both beautiful and eerie. The psychedelic colors seem to vibrate, inviting the viewer to explore deeper down the hole. Both of these pieces are so striking and even better to view in person.
LF: Can you give us a glimpse of what’s going on in your head and or studio right now?
JS: Right now I’m finishing up a couple commissioned sculptures and planning out ideas for a solo show I’m having in June at Cooper Cole Gallery in Toronto. There will be lots of surprises with color and patterning and movement, and will be very psychedelic.
LF: Did you make a resolution for 2013? JS: Yes, my new years resolution is to take more cooking classes because cooking is one of my favorite hobbies… and I’m actually going to a class today! woo!
LF: What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? JS: The first thing I do when I wake up is press the snooze button on my phone a few times. Then I get up, brush my teeth, wash my face, make some breakfast and coffee then get to work in my studio.
LF: What’s on your playlist right now?
JS: Right now I’ve been listening to the Drive Soundtrack, This American Life & Radiolab.
LF: Do you believe in love?
JS: Yes! I think love is one of the most important things in life. Loving yourself, loving everyone around you and your environment.
LF: Whats your favorite thing from Art Basel Miami 2012?
JS: My favorite thing at Art Basel Miami was my friend Daniel Arsham’s installation at Design Miami. His art/architecture company, Snarkitecture, contructed a drift pavilion on the outside entrance with these huge tubular white inflatables above, and also tube-worm fabric seats to match.
LF: How fast do you live?
JS: As fast as a shooting star!