jack kohler byers
Interdisciplinary Artist and Illustrator exploring communication through media

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Art of Choice Interview

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I recently had an email chat with Maria Vogel of Art of Choice. We talked about the origins of art in my life, my process, and the art scene in Boston. Check an excerpt below, and read the full interview here.

What artists, living and dead, most inspire your work?

Most of my idols are dead. Probably my biggest inspiration is the work of the mid-century renaissance man, Gyorgy Kepes. Reading his book on the origins and development of modernism in art and design, “Language Of Vision” was a watershed moment for me. That book introduced me to the work of A.M. Cassandre, El Lissitzky, and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, all huge influences. Picasso’s work also informs mine in a big way, notably his mural Guernica. I remember reading that underneath Picasso’s cubist painting “Girl with a Mandolin” is a realistic sketch of a girl. When I found out that he reverse-engineered cubism from realism it was a jumping off point for a ton of exploration.

Contemporary artists that inspire me are too numerous thanks to the magic of Instagram. There are a few that have been pretty pivotal in shaping my taste. The Iranian painter Mehdi Ghadyanloo is inspiring to me on many levels. He painted his first mural on US soil in Boston in 2016. He and his family’s visas were revoked at the 11th hour before he was to start work, but finally a few weeks later he was able to get a visa for just himself. He then crushed it, making one of the most memorable murals in the city, a good reminder that there’s literally no excuse to give up. I try to limit the amount of contemporary lettering art and illustration I look at in order to avoid falling prey to trends, but ROIDS, Horphe, Will Barras, and Karolis Strautniekas are all favorites.