EE: Tell us a little bit about who you are, where you grew up and what you tell people you do for a living?
JC: I grew up in Sydney as a teenager through the mid 80’s, heavily immersed in skateboarding, graffiti and various emerging sub cultures, with ambitions to apply my creativity somewhere within. I spent the next decade floating around doing random illustrations work. 2001 I moved to the Gold Coast and partnered up with a friend from Sydney to start a skateboard label called Soopkichn. I have been exhibiting my work since 2003 and continue to this day. I currently reside in the mountainous hinterlands of far Northern NSW with faithful K9 companion ‘Maya’ where I continue my craft. Don’t ask me what I do for a ‘living’, I’m still working out what that means.
EE: When? Where? and What? was the first piece of artwork you can remember creating?
JC: 1978, Grandmas Kitchen, Mickey Mouse.
EE: Where did your interest in art and craft come from?
JC: I’d have to say Moms definitely inspired and encouraged me at an early age. She is 1 Super-Crafty lady.
EE: You have been living up in the Gold Coast Hinterland for a number of years now, can you tell us what you are doing up there and why you choose to live and work in seclusion?
JC: The seasonal changes and wildlife are something I never quite get used to and am humbly grateful. Any sense of seclusion is short lived keeping up to Mayas every demand. Most days are spent creating art, working around the garden and cooking.
EE: Has your current location and surroundings had an influenced on the work you are now creating?
JC: Yes and no, everything is up there (in my head) in riddles. I think the freedom I feel living here merely helps to decipher them a little easier.
EE: Your beautiful and detailed illustration works that you are most known for appear to portray themes and stories from some other mythical world or time. Can you tell us about this world and its inhabitants?
JC: The stylised aesthetics are derived from an unknown civilisation, indigenous to a place in my imagination. The inhabitants are skin-walkers or shape-shifters who mimic learnings of a bygone civilisation who became extinct through unsustainable and self destructive ways.
EE: Over the years you have created your artwork using a lot of different mediums and techniques including brush based illustration, sculpture, installations and large scale murals. What’s your favourite medium to get creative with?
JC: I’m enjoying the new ink on plaster pieces that i’m creating at the moment. They feel very organic, and a natural transition from the cotton rag I have used for for so long. I also have a niggling itch for large scale murals.
EE: How do your hand made sculptural works and installations relate to your illustration works?
JC: I basically lift 2d elements such as textures, patterns or props then reapply them into 3d space to accentuate the themes in my work.
EE: For your East Editions lamps, you have used a technique called marquetry with amazing results. What was the process involved in discovering this marquetry technique? Had you ever done it before?
JC: A good friend of mine gave me some off-cut 0.6mm veneering ply a few years back which I have applied to various projects in the past but never as intricate. For these lamps, I wanted to replicate pattern elements lifted directly from my illustrations, which turned out to be far more ‘trial and error’ than anything else. The contour and shape of the plaster moulds I created were very unforgiving when it came to adhering on the angles I wanted to achieve. Trying to cut small, intricate shapes out of paper thin plywood means you cut 5 and get 1 that doesn’t split. Very labour intensive but thoroughly rewarding.
EE: The lamp bases have a solid plaster core, have you had much experience working with plaster moulds before?
JC: No, But it is now my most predominant medium. It’s projects like this that force me to sever predetermined methodology for new direction and ideas. So cheers for that!
EE: What was your favourite part of the process?
JC: Definitely the feeling of it all coming together, the final sanding before the first of 6 clear coats did that.
EE: Was was the most challenging part of the process for you?
JC: I’d have to say agreeing on and making that first start. I am super indecisive when it comes to the initial creative process, there always seems to be a better idea and with most of my work being very labour intensive, I like to know it’s the right decision before making a start. I can’t tell you how many pieces I have laying around half finished or completely abandoned because I have lost interest or confidence in the idea. Frustrating to say the least.
EE: Do you think you will continue exploring the marquetry technique to make future works?
JC: Most definitely.
EE: What is next for Jae Copp?
JC: A new solo show is not far off which will feature a new series of sculptural works, along with illustrations. An online store is also on the way, and I’m super keen to do more large scale murals. More of everything really.
This Edition is currently on display and available from Collectika Store in Sydney.
Find our more about Jae Copp here