Monday, July 23, 2012

It's a Balancing Act with Artist Jonas Jungblut in Santa Barbara

balancing questions and answers from Jonas Jungblut on Vimeo.

IT'S A BALANCING ACT WITH ARTIST JONAS JUNGBLUT IN SANTA BARBARA -- We at Studio of Style were quite intrigued with many things and people at the recent Dwell on Design show held this past June in Los Angeles -- but one of the most intriguing things was seeing artist Jonas Jungblut standing steadfastly at perhaps the most smallest booth at the show, but one with perhaps the biggest impact -- and that stirred our curiosity to learn more...and why. Jungblut was standing alongside "T3-7", a 25" high sculpture in brilliant red and blue (show in bottom photo above) composed of three pieces of granite and marble held in check with a metal rod -- just one of many pieces from his Permanent Negative Stability series that explores the obvious question of balance, among other issues.  Originally hailing from Berlin, Jungblut made his way to the sunny climes of Santa Barbara, California where he creates art in a variety of mediums, such as photography, sculptures in painted stainless steel, paper and furniture, not to mention publishing the Peanut Butter Sandwich Program series of magazines which combine Jungblut's photographs and stories -- all of which can be viewed on his website.  Studio of Style wanted to take a look inside his mind and so we are presenting our first-ever Q & A with this fascinating young man.

Studio of Style: At what age do you recall becoming interested in art?
Jungblut: Around 14 or 15 -- I was interested in Helmut Newton, he was a big presence in Germany.  And also the Young British Artists in the '90s. I was inspired by Hubertus von der Goltz, a German sculptor and stepfather of a then girlfriend of mind.

Studio of Style:  What types of works do you remember creating at that time?
Jungblut: My parents brought home a 4' x 8' sheet of plywood one day and we did a communal painting on it as a family -- and it's still hanging in the house. When I was 16 I did some carving with soapstone and I have always done a lot of collage and work on paper influenced by the graffiti scene. In my teens, I would build skateboards for my downhill races in Austria and locally in Berlin and besides coming up with some rather creative than functional shapes I would always put some kind of design on them.

Studio of Style:  What types of works did you begin creating as an 'artist'?
Jungblut: In the late '90s I became more and more interested in photography and so I ended up leaving Berlin to go to photography school in Santa Barbara. And for a good five years, all I did was photography. I think that would be the medium I started in as a serious artist. I still use photography heavily and exhibit it regularly, most recently at the Texas National 2012, and at the Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, Colorado,  as well at Gallery 27 here in Santa Barbara.

Studio of Style:  Why Santa Barbara instead of the art mecca of Los Angeles?
Jungblut:  Having grown up in Berlin in the '80s and '90s, it was 'contrasty', chaotic, dynamic, rich and overwhelming. I love Berlin. But after spending some years in Santa Barbara at photography school, I appreciated it as a home base. I travel a lot and get a lot of input from those voyages. Santa Barbara has become a nice base where I can focus on work and not be distracted. I like to visit L.A. but I never considered living there because I had my share of city for twenty years like I said earlier and it's hard for me as a Berliner to move to another city and have the same love for it -- I guess I'm a little snobby like that. Santa Barbara doesn't rival Berlin -- it's a gem of its own kind.

Studio of Style:  When did you begin exploring negative, positive, balance and tension?
Jungblut: I started 'balancing' in 2005 and it really was a switch that changed my approach to art. Before that I had been mostly all photography. But 2005 marked my return to creating art that wasn't 2D.  And then I started working with 'tension' in 2011.

Studio of Style:  Why 'balance & tension' and why 'negative & positive'?
Jungblut: Hubertus von der Goltz works with balance and, like I said, he was an early influence. Then I started balancing stones in random places and it moved forward from that. I realized that balance was important in many aspects of life because there is a lot of tension, we get pushed and pulled in all kinds of directions. When I talk about 'negative stability' it has nothing to do with negativity in emotion. Negative stability is a mathematical term and a perfect description of my balance work. Negative stability is an occurrence that is mostly found in aviation. The idea is that a system is balanced (think a needle on its tip) but the smallest outside force will throw it out of balance and the motion created thus would increase until it rests in positive stability (think a cube sitting on its side which will return to its stable state if moved). This is a perfect description for my stones in balance. They are in negative stability until vibration, wind, a bird or any other force makes them lose balance and fall. In physics, negative stability can never be permanent. Permanent negative stability is not a scientific term --  it's a philosophical and conceptual description of what I do. Moving along in my career and life, tension became more prevalent as well, so I needed to channel that in my art. 

Studio of Style:  What do you want the world to understand about Jonas Jungblut?
Jungblut: Mostly I want there to be questions. I don't want to deliver answers. The artist's intent is to spur thought and to make those synapses fire up there between the ears. Critical thinking is important, it is progressive.  I want to make people have thoughts that might be foreign to them, like a training exercise. Control is an illusion and I can steer people into thoughts, but ultimately I have no control over what comes to them when they look at my work. And it doesn't matter, as long as something comes.

Studio of Style:  What explorations are you working on now?
Jungblut:  I'm working on balancing a crashed 1973 Porsche 911S Targa -- I cut the car in half along its width right behind the front seats and the two pieces will then be balanced on top of each other similarly to my work with stone. Currently I am looking for a venue to display it. It is mostly ready to go, just missing a place to put it.  And I'm also doing more temporary installation work now in which I balance objects in random places.
Images courtesy the artist