ABOUT THE ART and the ARTIST
Jason Engelund creates compositions that investigate light's ability to evoke sublime and contemplative experiences. Approaching photography as a method of capturing light, Engelund starts from the Greek translation of photography: phos "light" and graphé "drawing". From there he has created a style that is interdisciplinary, combining the aesthetics of painting and mechanics of photography. Juxtaposing the subjective nature of perception and the "truth" of photography, Engelund's work raises questions regarding our experience of light, while exploring photography as a contemporary art form.
While many of his images may lead the viewer to think the images have effects applied or were painted, most images were made in camera using long exposures and extreme out of focus.
Jason Engelund was born in California in 1971. His work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions, and is represented by Modern Book Gallery at 49 Geary in San Francisco California.
Engelund's "Labyrinths, painting reconstructed" series is artwork investigating the transcendental and has been featured in numerous exhibitions. He was a guest artist in Auroville Tamil Nadu India, collaborating with local artists through his work regarding the bodhisattva, and his improvisational sumi ink pieces were featured in the group exhibition "Paper Folly" a fundraising event for Auroville Press.
"Leaving the Ground" is an award winning short film by the artist, described as a "tone poem". This 7 minute film explores themes of transcendence in industrialized urban life. Experimental techniques and Engelund's trademark abstracting of light affect viewers viscerally. Unanimous jury selection for the Cinema of Fine Arts Short Film Festival 2000, Guest Juror Richard Beggs, hosted by the California College of the Arts. The film is intended for black-box viewing, on a large screen in a darkened room.
Engelund's paintings of the psychological landscapes of duende, the improvisational aesthetic found in flamenco and the bullfight led him to create the community art project SF Flamenco, supporting the flamenco arts community in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Engelund facilitated the flamenco community's collaborative efforts towards common artistic goals, as well as helping to disseminate information about the political issues facing the Roma peoples throughout the world today. Funds were raised for artists in need of health services, and the project helped raise over $25,000 for victims of the 2004 Madrid train terrorist attacks. Granted full scholarship from the San Francisco Performing Arts Library and Museum Engelund received training from the Legacy Project's Oral History program. Working to interview and collect information from the flamenco arts community in the San Francisco area, one of the largest outside of Spain, Engelund recorded oral histories, capturing stories from the historic period of flamenco arts in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood in the 1950s through the present. Engelund has also lectured on the aesthetics of improvisation and duende, and assisted in documenting flamenco history in Andalucia Spain.
Engelund is a founding staff member of the California College of the Arts Center for Art and Public Life, a department using the arts to address issues of social justice, civic engagement, diversity and education. His work at the Center spans 11 years and there Engelund developed pre-professional, social and humanitarian based programs for artists at the California College of the Arts. These include an internship program for student artists to work in community organizations throughout the greater Bay Area, the Community Student Fellows program. 35 art, architecture, design and writing students are given job placements in 30 community focused organizations serving in total, approximately 9,000 hours of work towards community needs each academic year. Engelund created the Center Student Grants program running from 2002 - 2010 which then evolved into the larger IMPACT Social Entrepreneurship Awards. This program enables students and their community partners to complete projects addressing social and humanitarian needs, with past projects having taken place throughout the Americas and in China. Engelund's work at the Center also includes sharing methodology and program models to assist artists, architects, designers and writers in utilizing their creative talents and resources to address real-world needs.
Engelund lives with his wife and daughter in California.