by Kate Iverson

«Anything can be a medium.»


The first in a series of features on midwestern American artists, my debut profile is on Jesse Draxler, a contemporary collage artist and painter living and working in Minneapolis, MN. I’ve always been drawn to Draxler’s work due to it’s dark, mysterious mood and highly stylistic components – in fact I have two pieces by him in my personal collection. Perhaps best known for his mind-bending fashion and form-focused collage works, Draxler also branches out into mixed media and painting on photo prints.


You work in a few different mediums, collage being primary. Can you describe your process, your mediums and how they’ve merged into each other/ evolved?
Process needs to be very organic otherwise I don’t respond well to the finished work so while I do have go-to material processes, the more important process is work flow and I try to just let that happen. A reactionary approach, be that reacting to another’s imagery or reacting to the surface I am working on. Most of the work I create is not planned out (or only minimally planned) prior to starting. I like to be somewhat surprised by the finished product.


Traditional mediums include collage, acrylic, ink, graphite, and just as important are the substrates I am working on such as different rice papers, panels, and canvases. I also get into some digital work as well as assemblage; arranging commonplace objects into installations. Sometimes the objects are modified or painted, sometimes not. In this case anything can be a medium – LaCroix sparkling water cans, Nordstrom shopping bags, potato chip bags, manila folders, etc.


What have been some of your favorite experiences (art-wise) this past year?
Curating the last show at The Gallery at Fox Tax in Minneapolis; curating and showing alongside of some of my favorite artists was a great honor. The editorial I collaged for CREEM Magazine, published in issue 9, was a turning point in my professional practice. Being included in the book, The Age of Collage, published by Gestalten. Showing in places I have never shown before like Louisville, (Kentucky, USA) Berlin (Germany), and Hamburg (Germany.) All the editorials I was fortunate enough to collaborate on including editorials for OAKNYC, The Lab Magazine, and Dansk Magazine. Being featured on Dazed and Confused’s digital companion, Dazed Digital, was a proud moment as well. Oh, and working 12 hours straight in 100+ degree temperatures at the Minnesota State Fair as part of their fine arts programming called “Studio Here.” I’m not sure if that’s a favorite experience, but it was an experience.


What are you working on now/upcoming?
I am about to begin a series to be published in Vulture Magazine in which they are sending me back issues and other printed imagery for me to manipulate, cut, collage, paint, burn, etc. however I please. I’m also going to start incorporating a lot more of my own photography into my work over the remainder of this year. I have a lot of ideas of things I want to work on, still deciding which ones to pursue first. Ultimately I would like to have a solo show sometime in 2015 in which I am able to show the breadth of my studio practice within one space, from collages and paintings to assemblage/installations and everything in between.


Follow Jesse on Instagram (@jessedraxler) and Tumblr