Nature meets Cyberpunk
Web-based artist MAD DOG JONES
brings his art from Instagram to
analogue reality with his world premiere exhibition
DIESEL ART GALLERY presents “AFTERL-IFE WORLD”―the world premiere exhibition of Toronto-based artist MAD DOG JONES, from August 30 to November 14, 2019.
MAD DOG JONES’ works deftly interweave cyberpunk elements with the beauty and freedom of nature. As a lover of the wilderness, which was ever present where he grew up, he brings a fresh thematic to the metropolitan aesthetic, done up in citrus and neon tones of technology somehow rendered as a space naturally human.
Having grown up around Thunder Bay, MAD DOG JONES draws constant inspiration from the Canadian wilderness, as well as from Japanese animation, SF films, and cyberpunk, pulling together a rare and powerful fusion of two worlds sometimes deemed irreconcilable.
The exhibition’s title, AFTERL-IFE, with its oddly-placed hyphen, emphasizes those unexpected breaks in life―breaks as in fissures, breaks as in pauses. In that sense, the exhibition is a chance to look to the future and to the past, to take a break from life, and to examine art, our world, and our daily lives―all while opening the door to a world somehow familiar, yet that maintains an exotic distance.
Since 2017, when MAD DOG JONES first introduced his art to Instagram, it has exploded in popularity, yet this will be the first exhibition of his works anywhere in the world. As such, this will be the first chance to see his works up close―translated into our world just as they translate our world itself into an experience intimate and grand at the same time.
The exhibition presents over 15 new works, as well as classic pieces redone, retouched, and all brought into “reality” for the first time. Original exhibition t-shirts, stickers, posters, and more will be available at the exhibition.
Join us at DIESEL ART GALLERY on Saturday, September 7, 2019 from 16:00-18:00 for an autograph session with MAD DOG JONES.
MAD DOG JONES
--Can you give us a basic self-introduction?
My name is Michah Dowbak, I’m from Thunder Bay, Ontario. I love fresh baked pastries and well designed interior lighting.
--Tell us about the meaning of the exhibition title and the concept behind it.
AFTERL-IFE WORLD is a reality we missed, everything except that which has happened or what we have witnessed. Often what I show in the exhibit is multiple variations of different parallel realities overlayed on top of one another.
--Tell us about your creation process for these works from start to finish. What are the most important things for you in creating works of art?
It’s all about colour and form for me. I really try and make sure a piece is balanced with it’s shapes and forms then colours before proceeding.
--How much time do you devote to creating a single piece?
Generally I will complete pieces in the 40-80 hour range.
--What software do you use for illustrating?
Procreate, Lightroom, Photoshop and Premiere for some animation.
--Your use of color lends your worlds a feeling of independence, can you share with us your thoughts, theories and proclivities relating to color?
I love the way different combinations of colours can elicit such a range of memories. Just the slightest change in hue or tone can completely reinvent a piece.
It becomes a delicate house of cards. Relationships based on other relationships. This dance of colours is where I find the most enjoyment and creativity.
--At what times do you find ideas about art coming to mind? Can you tell us about your inspirations for this installation?
Often right before I fall asleep or when I wake up. But it’s kind of like a river of ideas. I stand in that river all the time. Sometimes you reach into the water for an idea and you come up empty, other times the salmon are running, and the ideas flow. As long as you keep visiting the river, life will be bountiful.
--What was it like growing up in Canada's great natural spaces? Your father is a stained glass artist, and your mother is a poet––what influence does that upbringing have on you today?
Nature and art are as ingrained in me as eating or learning. It’s such a base part of my happiness. It sits as the foundation of myself in a very powerful way. I am forever grateful to have been raised in such a beautiful environment!
--What's the origin of the MAD DOG JONES name?
The M & D are somewhat a play on my initials; the Jones just acts as a phonetic ballast keeping the mad dog in check. It’s an old video game alias. Probably been using it since I was eleven.
--What was your initial inspiration for becoming an artist?
My dad essentially was my inspiration and artistic idol.
--Around what age did you start getting into creative activities?
I started playing classical violin when I was five, and then everything kind of flowed outwards of that.
--Your works are usually introduced via Instagram––what is social media/ to you?
A friend and an enemy.
--What are the positive and negative aspects of Instagram?
Great for exposure, bad for health.
--What's your favorite piece that you've created so far?
My most recent piece. That’s the most honest answer I’ve heard any artist give to this question.
--What messages do you want to send through your art? What do you want to express?
I want people’s minds to wander; I want people to start their own creative endeavours. I want the art to show people that there are infinite possible outcomes in this life, and there is always some creative solution yet to be discovered.
--What art/artists, music/musicians, film/filmmakers have influenced you?
Oh this question, eh? Haha, umm in no particular order, Talking Heads, Mike Oldfield, Kid Koala, System of a Down, Four Tet, Air. I really like what Denis Villeneuve has done recently and am excited for his next work. I love film and there are so many great directors, it’s hard to just name a few.
--What do you do when you're not working?
Just being outside generally makes me happy. Dinner with friends and family, maybe a concert here or there. Much of my leisure time is art, it’s work, but it’s also often where I find the most joy in life.
--We know you’re active in the music scene through the Sideways collective—do your musical activities have some bearing on your approach to visual art?
Yeah for sure, it’s all part of your growth as an artist. I love making and playing music, and in a lot of ways that was my true area that I first gained confidence in myself as a professional.
--How did you enjoy your time in Tokyo? Any new and interesting discoveries for you?
I just love wandering, nothing makes me happier that strolling through Tokyo taking pictures. I got to go to ageHa for a Joyryde concert followed by a rice harvest in the Kisarazu area of Chiba. That was a fun adventure!
--Any areas, shops, or foods leave a strong impression?
Shimokitazawa was great to explore. Honestly after all the time I’ve spent there I barely have a grip on the city. The Tsukiji fish market area was amazing, I could go there everyday. The food is all such a dream.
--What did you think of the art and cultural scenes in Tokyo/Japan?
They’re really cool. There’s such a high value given to artists in Japan, and I think that is generally a sign of a healthy society. I’ve really enjoyed and felt very welcomed into these communities!
--We hear you've watched a fair bit of anime. What are your go-to genres? Which have inspired your art works?
Neon Genesis Evangelion, all Miyazaki, Cowboy Bebop. I’m also a huge fan of the American Avatar series!
--What's floating your boat lately? (Generally…)
Trying to be helpful and positive to my friends, family and internet friends. Helping others is my real joy outside of creativity. (Wow, I sound corny but it’s true—haha!)
--How was the autograph session (at Diesel Art Gallery)?
I was humbled and honoured to have that many people come out… such a dream to have that kind of support.
--What goals do you have? What kind of stuff do you see yourself getting into in the future? Any projects on the horizon that you can tell us about?
I just want to keep changing. I really want to keep exploring with all mediums, sound and light and texture. It all fascinates me!
--Can you give us a message for the peeps who will be viewing your works, for you fans?
Thank you so much! If you keep coming I promise to keep making crazy stuff! Also always feel free to reach out on instagram or if you see me IRL. I love making new connections or helping people out it any way I can!