Jason Sauer Artist Statement:
I believe my role as an artist is to foreshadow the future while staying rooted in my history. I specialize in sculpting and painting mediums, but mechanical inclination has been key to my unique style and survival as an artist and educator. Deep technical training in building and mechanical trades combine with investigative technology in my practice of art creation. I am fluid in almost all art forms: photography, metalsmithing, printmaking, jewelry making, and chemistry for ceramics–I create art out of anything. As a mechanic of cars and builder of houses, I’ve gained real world skills in how tools are made. As a sculptor, I embrace all of these with intersectionality.
Much of my sculpting and painting practice is inspired by my time in the army, which gave me new sentiments on home. Military, prisoners, and travelers all seem to have a snapshot of love, life, and family in their minds, romanticizing those elements that are just out of their grasp. I try to capture this struggle and idealism in my work, examining ideas of love and death, and using an American icon–the car–as a surrogate.
I use the distinctly American demolition derby as a high art form in which the reclaiming of a discarded automobile is transformed into an abstract conceptual piece of performance art, where fate and happenstance create a sculpture. This sculpture, in all its furious glory, is set in a calm and sterile museum environment, and becomes a record of the brutality of human emotional release. Each piece will evoke excitement and a sense of memory of the crash.
Once a year, since 1995, I have chosen a car, made it a work of art with spray paint and enamel brush paint, and then participated in the Demolition Derby at the Great Stoneboro Fair in rural Western Pennsylvania. I personally drive the painted car in each derby, smash it, and then use its pieces in other works that usually center on the theme of “Love letters from home.” I create metal sculptures & other three-dimensional artworks out of the wreckage of each car. A reminder of death is a reminder of love. I am now commissioned dozens of times a year by demolition promoters all over the country to integrate my work into their derby events.
The demolition derby is my slice of the American Dream, driven by my lifelong fascination and participation in the Appalachian folk tradition. I practice four art forms simultaneously in my derby work: the cultural practice is folk art; the art of painting before the drive; the contest itself is performance art; and what I do with the final narrative is fine art sculpture.
We live in a trash-making culture; everything is disposable. I try to make art in the moment of those disposables. Taking a piece–often the hood of the discarded vehicle–that isn’t really thought about and giving it a new life. Paintings I make are destroyed within hours of me creating the art. I take a moment of that preciousness and the sculpture.
In addition to creating art out of car metal, I am a classically trained painter. From large format outdoor murals to small Flemish-inspired impressionist paintings, I use a hybrid of Flemish & Western European Impressionist painting styles to create a Rembrandt effect that has a still life quality to it.
I draw inspiration and have been personally mentored by Dale Chihuly, Christopher H. Martin, and John Chamberlain. Specifically, each of them have taught me about the entrepreneurial essentials and what it takes to make art for a living–how to professionalize, how to scale, how to present, and how to build a team so that art can be both a passion and a means to an end.
Looking for more information:
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COMMUNITY ART MAKING
Jason makes sculptures with the Green+Screen program which focuses on creating architectural screens and landscaping to beautify Penn Avenue. The projects use “green” materials that often include plants to “screen” the view of empty lots or parking lots. G+S projects continue or echo the façade of neighboring buildings or use median strips between sidewalk and paved lots.
In the program’s first three years, G+S installed six projects – at 4903, 5105, 5160, 5111, 5200, and 5416 Penn Avenue – and participated in a clean up of 4810, thanks to volunteers organized by the ecoDesigners Guild.
Jason Sauer has been a teacher through Most Wanted Fine Art partnership with the Goodwill Learn to Earn where he teaches screen printing & general contracting to young men recently released from residential facilities. For this program was honored as “Best Job Site in Western PA”.
He has taught print making classes and done demos with Carnegie Libraries of Pittsburgh, I Made it Market, The Public Market, Pittsburgh Earth Day, & more.
He taught screen printing & community service at Summit Academy and was an Adjunct Professor at The Community College of Allegheny County where he instructed classes on Printmaking, Photography, Pottery, and more.
MURALS & ART CARS
Jason Sauer can create art on any surface. He has been commissioned to paint buildings, cars, and even dumpsters.
PERSONAL ART MAKING
Jason Sauer uses the demolition derby as his slice of the American Dream, driven by his lifelong fascination and participation in this Appalachian folk tradition.
The entire process is a form of art for him. Once a year, since 1995, Sauer has chosen a car, made it a work of art, and then participated in the Demolition Derby at the Great Stoneboro Fair, in Western PA. Sauer personally drives the painted car in each derby, smashing it, and then use it’s pieces in other works that usually center on “Love letters from home”. His time in the Army gave him a new sentiment of on home. Military, prisoners, and travelers all seem to have a snap shot of love, life, and family in their minds, romanticizing those elements that are just out of their grasp. Sauer tries to capture this struggle and ideal in his art pieces. He examines the ideas of love and death, using an American icon, the car, as a surrogate.
A reminder of death is a reminder of love.
He creates metal sculptures & other 3 dimensional art works out of the wreckage of each car.
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