There’s More to the Piece | Jared Peterson | Episode 819

Jared Peterson | Episode 819

Jared Peterson, affectionately known to many as J-Dog, was raised in Morgantown, West Virginia. There, Jared attended West Virginia University for his undergraduate education and received degrees in both English and Ceramics. Jared has both exhibited nationally and internationally and is a current MFA candidate at Arizona State University.


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Do you see when you are making your work that it’s an adventure into the unknown?

Yes, one hundred percent. I think everything that I make is just my best go, you know, at the time. And by the time that piece is done I already have another idea. It’s just a continuous process with really no end.

Do you think when making a piece that it’s more important what one thinks about it as opposed to what one sees in it?

It’s hard to have one without the other, but I will say what people take from it might be a little bit more important, but it’s always guided by the objects and things that you have in there. You have these sort of cues that kind of ignites your viewers brain and kind of get them to a place. But you can’t have one without the other.

Do you feel like you are making an antidote for your soul, for the inner person?

Yes. Absolutely. I think all of my work to some capacity is just really self discovery. And I think when I am looking at my work as myself I do see it as this sort of  inner self portrait, that I feel pretty good about it, that I almost feel that if I introduce myself  with my work it would make more sense to people than introducing myself with my words and background and whatever other things that happen usually.

Do you find that as a maker that solitude is a critical ingredient for your creative process?

Yeah, this is a tricky question, I think. I think it’s a yes and no question in that I need solitude and I really crave solitude and studio time for me is hours and days of solitude, but that solitude is usually a time to reflect on experiences that were not necessarily done in solitude. Experiences with people, relationships, family, traveling, all the kind of other bits of life. It’s important for me to live a life and really kind of do that uninhibited and sort of break it down later in isolation in the studio, or hiking or in the woods, it doesn’t have to be making.

How do you avoid loneliness when you are seeking solitude as a maker?

I think that’s a really good question. It’s something that I ask myself pretty frequently because it’s a hard thing and I think it’s a hard thing that a lot of studio artist deal with. But for me, I think knowing when I am getting a little bit too obsessive about a piece, when I am kind of neglecting you know, eating, sleeping, doing basic health things to kind of manifest an idea, because I can get like that, I can get pretty manic. It’s those kind of times where I really seek solitude and really kind of bury myself in the studio and I am getting better at checking in knowing when I need to be a little bit more present, slow down and you know, call somebody, take a walk, before I feel too lonely or too into the weeds I kind of have safety net of friends that are makers that I can check in with.

Do you feel like the piece or the viewer has missed the mark if the person isn’t invoked to thoughtfulness?

I think it can certainly be either. I mean I know for a fact that not everything I make is going to  appeal to everyone. And I’m glad that it doesn’t. I don’t think anything in the world can. But at the same time, you know,  I think as a viewer of art you do have to come to play a little bit as well and bring your self to the table and be willing to look at something. But it doesn’t bother me and I don’t see it as fault if somebody walks by my piece. Maybe a little bit of my ego is hurt but that’s okay. I like what I make and I don’t really know if I care too much.

What kind of influences beyond friendships speak into your work?

That’s a good question. I think it’s really all the important relationships, the big ones. You know, I  have complicated but good relationship with my parents. I am a very emotional person. I have been in love many times. And those kind of romantic relationships have done a number and me and something that I think about for a long time when things don’t go as well. But it’s really, we are talking about this sort of journey and this sort of exploration, it’s really about those really intense feelings that make us really human, like love, like loss, like all those important bits that really is all art and poetry is about. But it’s all those feelings I am trying to go after.

What’s got you really excited that you are about to start working on? What’s an idea that you are really excited about?

Sure, let’s see how well I can articulate something that doesn’t exist yet. I am starting some large scale work in terra cotta. I really want to start work that maybe I would describe as temporary trees of life. So maybe think less from the traditional forms of the tree of life and assembling important objects to me that sort of tell a poetic story in a similar way but just with a lot of objects a lot of mass and big scale. I am also working with neon and seeing how I can incorporate neon lighting into my work and illumination generally. We’ll see. Those things have me pretty excited right now.


Tenth of December by George Saunders


Instagram: @jaredpetersonstudio

Angelia S. Rico

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