Meet The Artist: Android Jones for No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man”

  • For the exhibition No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man, digital painter Android Jones created layered, psychedelic works, as well as a virtual reality experience that transports viewers to the site of the annual Burning Man Festival in the Black Rock Desert.

    ANDROID JONES: I’m Android Jones. We are at the Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC. I’ve been going to Burning Man since 2003 for every year. The work that I create and the way that I create work and why I create work, so much of that is the genesis of those experiences. All the amazing art that I've seen and all the incredible artists that have really deeply impacted me in my journey. The work that I create wouldn’t look like it does if it wasn’t for that influence.

    I have a background, an academic background, of drawing and painting before I ever went digital. Got my Wacom, and in like ‘96 was when I made like a conscious swerve into that direction. I’m still really in love with traditional media. I’m an artist that really focuses and works on delivering experiences. I really focus on making work that is accessible to anyone that can cross any demographic or age group or genre. I found that what gives that experience more depth and more value, it really centers around the experience that I’m having while I’m creating the piece. Sometimes I think in my mind it’s like assembling like a whole army of content. You know, a painting is like a battleground sometimes. I’m fighting myself. I’m fighting my expectations. I’m fighting my doubts or my fears or I’m fighting the clock.

    For this show we’ve selected six pieces. We’ve got a VR experience, that’s available in two different pods within the room. They’re based off the geometry of a dodecahedron. We realized that if you’re going to do VR and public spaces, for a lot of people their first time, it was really important to establish the individual’s canvas of experience and make that something that they felt comfortable in.

    There are certain threads that weave between some of these paintings and the experience. I’d like to think that there’s kind of a longer stroke that encompasses them together. Some pieces are like mirrors. They reflect different aspects of ourselves. I’d like to think in some of the pieces there are keys in there. We’ve got a bunch of different locks inside and maybe when someone’s stares at this piece, there just might be something that creates a bit of an opening or an understanding. There’s so much chaos and spontaneity in it that a lot of these pieces, I really invite the viewer to make up their own meaning when they see these. I think the meaning that someone creates from a piece is statistically more powerful than any kind of narrative that I want to put out there.