Angels & Vandals with Jesse Draxler

Interview by Darklight Art
Works photographed by David Wren

To celebrate the release of the first original artwork by Jesse Draxler on Darklight Art, we spoke to the artist about this intoxicating new work, Givenchy Angel.

Angels & Vandals with Jesse Draxler | Artist Interview on Darklight Art
Detail of Givenchy Angel by Jesse Draxler

Tell us about this new edition. It feels like your art and commercial work converging and reminds us of your early work ‘Fucked Up Chuck Close’ posters, which were some of the first works of yours we saw. What was your inspiration behind working over advertising?

I have been working with advertisements for the past ten or so years. I have long considered advertising to be violence. Almost all advertising is a lie or a deception in some respect, and the powers at be are apparently in constant search for any surface we may attempt to rest our eyes on, and putting an advertisement there. Most people do not have much of a choice on what advertising they see.

A while back I decided that advertising was therefore an appropriate surface to begin an artwork. I will take it and make it mine. The selection of what I fuck with though, is a glimpse of personality.

Fucked up Chuck Close Jesse Draxler | Angels & Vandals | Artist Interviews Darklight Art
Left – Fucked Up Chuck Close – 001 Right – Fucked Up Chuck Close – 004 by Jesse Draxler

Tell us about the hand-embellishments and materials used to create this series.

I took time with each individual piece in the edition, returning to each multiple times, as if each were a unique 1/1, which in essence each is. All hand embellishments were done with spray paint and masking techniques. I kept a consistent flow working with them all simultaneously in order to achieve the perfect balance of cohesion.

“Harsh thoughtless vandalism is where it’s at”.

You can’t work in spray paint without indirectly referencing urban art – what’s the link? What significance does spray paint have to you. The influence of your environment, living & working in LA?

I’ve lived and worked in industrial urban areas on and off my entire career and have paid keen attention to the most gnarly of graffiti. The traditional stuff, I guess you would call it bubble letters ’n all that, doesn’t do it for me, but the harsh thoughtless vandalism is where it’s at. I eat that shit up, especially in that the point of inception for each work of this kind is an act of aggression. I want to vandalise the image first and foremost, usually in disgust. So that’s where it starts. 

In this instance I looked at a Givenchy advertisement and an angel emerged.

Detail of Givenchy Angel by Jesse Draxler

How does your headspace influence your practice?

Very much so, I am constantly touching base with myself to see where my head is at in order to determine what sort of work I am able to do on any given day, or any given moment. My practice is intrinsically tied to my mental state. 

How does it feel to know that the artworks you’re so emotionally invested in are living & breathing in other people’s spaces?

I think it’s the people who are living and breathing in my art’s spaces 😉 


Add Givenchy Angel to your collection, here.

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