Artist Interview: Jesse Draxler

July 01 2016

Cooper: Originally from Freedom, Wisconsin, you currently reside in Minneapolis having recently returned there from a stint in Los Angeles. Where is home to you?

Draxler: Currently an attic in Uptown, Minneapolis, MN, USA.

How would you describe the life of an artist living and working in MPLS?

Right now, very cold. 

As a city I generally like Minneapolis. As far as arts - it seems most of the money to be made by an artist in Minneapolis is through the grant system which gives the arts an academic feeling that I don’t particularly enjoy. That being said, I haven’t dove too deep into the community, I try to spend most of my free time making work

Why did you decide to leave Los Angeles?

Still kind of figuring that out. Wasn’t for me at the time.

With the migration to LA and back has anything changed or evolved from this change?

It made me realize how easy it can be to leave.

How would you best describe who you are as an artist?

Understated and over opinionated.

Do you have insecurities and doubt, or have you found your confidence or acceptance?

Insecurity and doubt are driving forces at times, so yes to both. Moderately confident. Accepted in certain circles, sure.

Do you remember the first time someone referred to you as an artist, or vocalized their appreciation for a piece of your work? Can you describe the first piece of art you traded for cash?

No to all of this, haha. I can’t remember shit.

What were you doing before you committed to pursuing art as a profession?

I wasn’t doing much. I graduated high school, moved around a little bit, obtained a BFA, didn’t think much about the future.

What might you be doing if you weren’t making art?

I would probably be making something else. I like making things.

Your work is fairly moody, seems to favor black and white and the transformation of various raw visual materials. In fact, you were recently published by Gestalten in The Age of Collage. Would you mind elaborating on what attracted you to collage, and the use of photography as an element of your work?

There’s many reasons but foremost I like the immediacy, you can put together a complete image; a complete thought or concept, without laboring over materials or time consuming processes. It’s ideal for me because I like to make a lot of work. As an article a friend of mine shared with me the other day stated, quantity equals quality. It doesn’t always do what needs to be done though. It’s my go-to method, but it also has a lot of limitations.

Would you describe your personality as methodical, spontaneous, reactionary, or? How is this reflected in your work process?

I had no idea how to answer this so I took the Jung Typology Test™ online. I came up INTJ. The same personality type as Stephen Hawking, Nietzsche, Jay-Z, and Ted Kaczynski (The Unabomber).

Are there times where you’ve gone overboard with your work?

As in overworked a piece, sure. If you’re not overworking a piece every now and then you’re never finding your boundaries.

How do you preserve the narrative and the desired composition?

Restraint. When something falls into place it just is, I don’t do anything to actively preserve - I just leave it alone.

Has being an artist affected your personal life?

I don’t differentiate between the two.

How does your studio or workspace enhance or hinder your creativity?

I have a lot of space and keep it minimal and clean. That physical clarity seems to enhance my creativity.

Any mediums you’d like to explore that you haven’t already?

Yes, all of the mediums.

Any specific people you’d like to work with?

I’m creatively open to anyone and anything if I feel it’s worth it.

Final words?


Shop the Jesse Draxler collection

Cover photo of Jesse Draxler by Madison Dubé

Interview by Justin Cooper © 2014