Jake Fugando, is a contemporary artist we were lucky to discover on Instagram . The artist lives and works in Chicago.
He is a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
● How did it all begin?
Some of my earliest memories are of my dad, who’s also a painter, and we would copy each other’s drawings at night before bed.
One night he would make a drawing and I would copy it, the next night I made a drawing and he would copy it.
I’ve always been in the vicinity of paintings and painters so I suppose all of that must’ve seeped into my subconscious.
“It’s great to be here. It’s great to be anywhere” - Keith Richards
When I was younger, I’d go through spurts of taking drawing and painting seriously and then drifting away.
I always seemed to mess up in school, so I was lucky to have been taking painting seriously for a few years when it came time to apply to college and I wasn’t left with much choice (very fortunately) but to pursue an education in fine art.
● When do you work best?
When I’m at school, I spend all of my time in my studio. I surprised myself when I found that I work much better early in the morning.
I like showing up before anyone else so I have some quiet time to settle in, drink coffee and meditate a little bit on what I’m going to paint that day and then it’s off to the races.
When I’m working from home, I’m able to work a little more spontaneously, but I typically find myself painting right before I go to bed.
It’s like a way of getting everything off my chest before resting.
● What inspires you?
Very very rarely do I get inspired by just sitting around. It usually comes while I’m painting. Especially when I’m painting and don’t want to be.
One of the best feelings in the world is starting a painting, not feeling great about anything you’re doing, and then you slowly get more and more interested in what you’re doing.
When I start the day sluggish and uninspired, that’s usually when I end the day jumping with excitement about painting.
Music has always been inspiring and informative to how I work.
I love cheesy, greatest hits albums and I title most of my paintings after lyrics from said songs.
● Who are your favorite artists?
Right now, I’m obsessed with and devouring Matthew Wong, Katherine Bradford, Tom Thomson, and Alex Katz.
These are all painters who, from the moment I saw their work, said to myself “If I can learn how I’m going to shamelessly paint like them”. I don’t think my work would be anywhere near what it is right now if I hadn’t come into contact with these folks.
● What are your newest projects?
I’ve set up a little workspace in my dining room and have been working on smaller 40.50 cm x 50 cm paintings of landscape scenes by night, that deal mainly with light.
This past year, I’ve been really enjoying working quickly, wet into wet.
When using dark colors and painting about light, something really magic can happen with painting wet into wet.
● What are you working on currently?
This last year has not only been tumultuous on an exterior level but also on an artistic level for me.
I found my voice as a painter, enjoyed a little bit of commercial success, and then in March, I essentially quit painting.
My studio at school was no longer my place of work and I suddenly stalled out.
Not because of the lack of structure and community that school provides, but because the world outside has suddenly stalled out too.
I couldn’t figure out why I stopped painting until months later when now I realize that I use painting to reflect upon myself and my relationship with the outside world.
This idea is something we all hear in art school but I guess I never fully got it until now.
“America is really Beautiful. But it would be more beautiful if everybody had enough money to live”. - Andy Warhol
I continued to not paint through July. I realized enough to see that all I needed to do was listen to the world and occupy my time by playing guitar.
In July, some personal events shook me up and changed my life. Shortly after these events, I felt the need to give myself full permission to paint.
It didn’t matter how the work related to the previous work which I thought was “my voice”.
What mattered is that I painted. The imagery was chosen haphazardly; scenes from a road trip I had taken early in May and few views from my back porch.
I needed to work through these images to feel out a whole new approach to painting and image-making.
By doing this, I now see that I gravitated towards light and how it gets portrayed on a 2D surface.
Super short CV:
Born in 1997. Lives and works in Chicago, IL.
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, BFA, Chicago, IL. - 2017-2021 (Expected)
All images were taken by the artist, except Home studio
The art association ROTOR in Graz shares with us to share with you the exhibition “Between the found and the constructed”. The show is the third part of the series titled “Beings and Creatures” which consists of four chapters.