Artist gives selfies a new lease of life
Ever wonder what happens to the 1.8 billion smartphone images uploaded on any given day?
A lucky few met Jon Legere. He reconstructed selfies for his 30-piece solo exhibit now on at the Sugarlift gallery, Brooklyn.
The Bermudian artist, who is based in New York, spoke to Lifestyle about his creative effort.
• Is this your first solo exhibit in New York City?
This is my first solo show in NYC. I’m very lucky for the Sugarlift guys to give me the opportunity.
• Where else have you shown?
All over the world. Last year I exhibited in Australia, London, Germany, Miami, Los Angeles and NYC.
• Greatest achievement as an artist so far?
Being in the Whitney Biennial in 2002 with my mentor, Margot Lovejoy, for our installation TURNS.
In 2001 we built an interactive website that collected people’s turning points. It was one of the first sites to visualise data collected on the internet and convert it in a physical space.
She is an incredible teacher and friend who really showed me there are no rules in art. For anyone looking for a good read, Margot’s book, Art and Artists in the Age of Electronic Media, is a fantastic resource.
• How difficult is it to earn a living as an artist? Easier once you make connections?
I’ve only just begun to sell my work in the past two years. My work was recently published in the successful art book, The Age of Collage, by German publisher Gestalten. Since then serious investors have been interested in my work, which is good for interest. But I’ve been working seriously as an artist since I was a teenager.
•Any advice for young Bermudian artists hoping to get recognised in New York?
It’s all about putting in the effort. You can stumble on a great idea or way of visualising, but putting in the work is what refines your style, craft and confidence. I don’t know anyone in any profession that is truly good at what they do that hasn’t worked their ass off to get there.
• What do you do on an average day?
I run the production department for a big advertising agency in NYC. That’s what pays the bills. I run home, hang with my three-year-old son, Sebastian, until he goes to bed and then head over to the studio. I try to be in the studio every night.
•Do you visit Bermuda often? What do you miss most about it?
I try to visit every four to five months. I miss it dearly and hopefully will be able to return one day. I miss my family, friends and community the most. There’s a very special thing happening on that Island that you really don’t cherish until you spend enough time away.
• Sugarlift says this about your art: “Legere’s work reconstructs the banality of the modern image.” What does it mean?
Everyone is an image maker these days. Everyone has a smart phone with a good camera and over 1.8 billion images are uploaded every day. It’s insanity.
Every time there’s a great sunset a few million versions of that sunset is captured. When you see the same thing a few thousand times you become desensitised to that aesthetic.
My work attempts to remix this generic imagery through large format assemblages and human energy.
• How would you describe your work?
A second life for decapitated selfies!