Thursday, May 15, 2014

Artist Spotlight : Colossal's Christopher Jobson

A bonafide one man show, Christopher Jobson is the creator and sole editor of Colossal, a blog that exhibits an impressive array of art, photography, design, animation and so much more.  True to it's name, the content is captivating, tactile, emotional and inspirational which has drawn a devoted following and high acclaim.  Residing in Chicago with his family, we feel a kinship already.  We couldn't be happier to have the opportunity to get to know Christopher a little bit better!
Photo: Jacob Boll, Demo Magazine, Columbia College 

Q. Can you explain a little about Colossal and why you started it?

A. Colossal began as personal project in late 2010 as a way for me to explore and document my interests in art, design, and photography. I was at a point of my life where I had little room for creative expression due to the recent birth of my son, a full-time job in design, and a busy freelance business. Exploring art and design and general forms of creativity online seemed like a good compromise. If I didn’t have time to make art, why not spend all my free time at least looking at it!? A few months later I was still doing it, writing maybe 4-5 blog posts each day (often extremely late at night because I had work the next morning) and soon things unexpectedly took off.

Q. When did you realize that you had created something that resonated and interested so many?

A. There were early signs like spikes in traffic or seeing more established blogs linking back to Colossal as a reference. Then I started receiving submissions of work from artists whose names I recognized or institutions I was familiar with. Probably the biggest development was when I started to hear stories from artists, designers, or galleries of what happened after their work appeared on the blog; stories of finding representation, selling work, or their website crashing. It was thrilling and humbling to hear Colossal was having an impact.

Q. What criteria do you use to choose content on the blog?

A. I keep up with a few hundred blogs and other sources of emerging art and watch for things that are brand new; unusual in design, materials, and content; or are otherwise significant because of an incredible story or development in technology. Colossal casts a pretty wide net, and the criteria is always shifting. Recently we've been on a pretty strong “art meets science” kick after a few months of focusing heavily on sculpture and installation. Things are always open to change.

Q. What are some of your personal favorite posts?

A. Almost four years running it becomes hard to have favorites. Some recent ones from this year would be:

Ocean Landscapes by Samantha Keely Smith

Q. What advice do you have for emerging artists?

A. This might just be coming from my position as an art blogger, dealing heavily with artists in the online world, but from what I’ve seen, social media often has a significant negative impact on emerging artists. As artists are creating their first true body of work, experimenting with new ideas, and perfecting techniques, it seems like progress can be completely hampered by seeking validation online. Likes, and shares, and clicks are somehow misconstrued as meaningful feedback. Every day I encounter dozens of artists relying on pop culture references rendered in their own style in an attempt to gain traction, when instead they might be better served to explore images and ideas that haven’t been recycled.

On another note, we discover several artists each month who we would love to feature, but their work has been documented so poorly we can’t move forward with an article. Good photography, video, and documentation of process are extremely important, more so than even having a unique website or online presence.

Q. Are you ever surprised by which posts create the most controversy?

A. Because Colossal is shared openly in so many classrooms now (elementary through university), we often shy away from controversy, for better or worse. However there are always surprises lurking around the corner and I seem to stumble naively into unfamiliar cultural or artistic territory every few months.

Q. How does art influence your life?

A. Art inspires me to set my alarm clock every morning at 5 a.m., it helps pay the rent, and it’s landed me in cities and countries I wouldn’t have dreamed of just a few years ago. It’s an incredible gift that a dream which was completely tangential to my life now completely permeates almost everything I do. It also wakes me up in my sleep. In a panic.

Q. You are a fellow Chicagoan! What are some of your favorite things to do in the city?

A. My family and I are regulars at the Art Institute, the MCA, and Millennium Park. In the spring and summer we spend a huge amount of time on the lakefront, at the North Park Nature Preserve, the Chicago botanical gardens and the Garfield Conservatory and I can’t wait for the 606.

Q. What is your favorite piece from the Art Institute of Chicago?

A. My six-year-old son would say "Untitled" (Portrait of Ross in L.A.), because ... giant pile of candy. But really, it’s a beautiful piece. My favorite painting is probably Picasso's The Old Guitarist. It's strange because that piece is the antithesis to everything you find on Colossal... it's muted, sad, dark. But every time I walk by it I'm transfixed for a few minutes. I see it as a reminder of our mortality, and in the right light it can actually be motivating.

Thank you Christopher!

Don't miss out on some of Christopher's favorite items from our current collection available online now! 

1 comment:

  1. You are... a reach soul!!! Love everything you are doing... Congrats, Christopher.. :))