Interview with Australian artist James Jirat Patradoon
Australian artist James Jirat Patradoon was the star of our recently held Lost At E Minor party in Sydney, his fluoro work setting the walls of the venue alight. He creates character driven visual art, born of fictional worlds of borrowed imagery that act as distorted mirrors to our reality, mashed-up and remixed to create new stories. Inspired by the fashion and costume of black metal music, gangster rap, professional wrestling, sci-fi films, and superheroes, Jirat Patradoon’s work is an irreverent take on the stoic nature of macho pop culture. We asked him to tell us more.
The projections at the Lost At E Minor party looked amazing. How were they done and what were they originally done for?
Thanks! They were originally part of a one-night-only solo exhibition at The Tate in Glebe called Die And Be Forgotten. I was influenced by cinemagraph gifs and the Russian gif artist Uno Moralez, they were conceived whilst procrastinating other projects and the imagery was from weird dreams I was having that month.
It marked my return to colour and was an homage to the anime trailers that would play before the anime films when I used to watch them on VHS as a kid. I exhibited them on old television screens turned on their side in portrait format. After the exhibition, they lived on the internet and did the rounds on tumblr. I decided to show them again, along with some new ones I had made.
What was the process behind the creation of the poster design? (which, literally, went flying out the door as the night wore on!)
My vision for the space was 80s cyberpunk overload. I wanted the space to look like a ‘neon CBGBs’. I went through my back catalogue of drawings to find works that had previously never been shown together, that felt more like posters, and fit the mood I wanted to convey. The work itself was the entire space: I wanted to contextualise the pieces in a way that wasn’t white walled or precious like a gallery.
I knew from the beginning I wanted them to be lit with blacklights and for the room to be filled with smoke, so I worked in reverse from there and made custom fluoro prints that responded to blacklight. I got a lot of help from the National Art School in Sydney with that. Their printmaking department is probably the best of all the artschools.
Coming from a printmaking background, I had always wanted to show the multiple nature of prints and exhibiting multiples was something I’d been wanting to do since art school. It takes the precious-ness away and says a lot about the disposability of the way we experience art and imagery now.
The fact that by the end of the party people were stealing them was actually a good thing. It was one-night-only, so there was that passage of time and the fact that people wanted to keep something after being there felt good to me.
What’s your philosophy behind the very neon, very edgy, very eye-catching colour combinations you use in your work?
When I first started using them they were to subvert the hyper-masculine imagery I was depicting. I’ve always been intrigued with the idea of ‘camp’ and have always explored that throughout my work. I went through an intense black and white phase for a while but the imagery became too technical and serious. I pushed that as far as it could could go and now I’m returning to colour because the images just feel better as I’m making them.
I always wanted to do the visual equivalent to 80s love ballads that are really catchy but are contrasted with lyrics about heartbreak or melancholy. Pat Benatar’s ‘Hell Is For Children’ is a good example of this. It’s catchy as hell, but it’s about child abuse. I’m influenced by music a lot. I’m often trying to convey a mood or feeling I get through a song in a visual way.
Follow James Jirat Patradoon on Instagram @jamesjirat