We recently had the chance to chat to UK artist, sculptor and taxidermist Jaime Freestone, who has been amalgamating his skills to create remarkable art. With such a zealous and open personality, it is hard not to be enthused as he talks about his work! Beautiful.bizarre had the chance to visit Jaime at the opening night of his current exhibition, Jaime Freestone’s Window at The Last Tuesday Society & The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities in London. We chatted with Jaime to find out more…
Jaime Freestone’s Window @ The Last Tuesday Society & The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities
Natalia: So how long have you been creating art?
Jaime: Though it sounds cliché I’ve been creating since a very young age, though I didn’t consider this art at the time. Around three years ago, I had built enough confidence from encouragement and feedback to change career and dedicate myself to creating full-time. In the last couple of years, I have been experimenting with different mediums and finding ways to bring together those that I find exciting. This process keeps creating work in ways that excite and surprise me…
N: Have you always been interested in sculpture?
J: We live in a three dimensional world surrounded by sculpture from fine art to everyday items. In my own work it’s something I obsess over, especially with the kind of materials I like to use. I love sculpture that uses discarded items things that most regular humans overlook, discard or recycle. I like to put unusual items together that people wouldn’t usually comprehend using. I obsessively go to the charity shops and car boot sales, snapping up discarded treasures, collecting up other peoples junk to create new creations. I also love finds from the natural world and merge this with manmade objects…When I’m in the woods I get to collect beautiful bits of found bone, I have my own favourite spots where I go to find something interesting. Sometimes I can come away with lots or nothing, collecting can be real hit or miss. I’m quite drawn to the odd bit of shine and sparkle so a lot of jewellery bits are collected when in charity shops and car boot sales. I’m incredibly lucky to have very supportive friends and family who are always finding or donating things to the cause. My work can consist of so many different elements.
N: Well your sculptures are definitely unusual! The way you display some of your art also resembles a morbid curiosities cabinet mixed with elements of ancient Aztec art. Where have these aspects come from?
J: Though the things I use may been seen as morbid I like to think that they are quite pretty. Ha ha! I’ve always loved going to museums, antique and junk shops. I really like how they display their items. The cabinet of curio look is sort of a mash up of the three! Personally I’ve always had quite an interest in the ancient history and culture of ancient societies. I absolutely love anything that has tribal look or is really old. I love how ancient cultures used materials such as gold and gems. The Aztecs loved their gold, didn’t they? I used to be obsessed with Indiana Jones, The Goonies and the animated City’s of Gold. They were always chasing treasures and there were skeletons too!! I guess I try and capture the look in some way but without the use of the real stuff. Maybe one day.
N: Now that would definitely be next level! But all in good time…So, what is your process for creating a new piece?
J: I would say there are many ways but I’ll tell you a couple. The obsessive collecting and sourcing for new material can birth a new creation. I can be out and about and see something, buy it because it interests me and then not use it. Six months later I’m working on something else and this bit of ‘junk’ I’ve found earlier then takes its place. It’s like fixing a puzzle that doesn’t exist a lot of the time. I find a lot of my materials like bone in the local woodland areas. So I will amass a lot of material for future pieces that haven’t happened. I find living in your own world with your own passions and interests make your own art process original. I think being very primitive and hands on with the materials that I have I can make things become something else without really thinking about it.
N: Talking about a hands on approach, where did your interest in taxidermy come from?
J: I’ve always loved taxidermy though never thought I would be interested in learning the technique myself. I think that changed when I was faced with the dead things I started to come across, on my walks. Since having the time to go back into the woods and emerging myself back into nature I was faced with a new problem. How could I preserve the things that I was finding? I can remember near the start I found a decomposing pigeon. I didn’t really know what I was doing with it and I only managed to get the skull but something had happened to me. I had butterflies in my stomach, I was nervous and excited at the same time picking away at this pigeon skull. From then on I just wanted to learn how to preserving things correctly. I started to research taxidermy more and finally completed a bird taxidermy course with David Leggett.
N: There’s also that awesome steam punk vibe to some of your pieces –intentional, or just a part of what you find?
J: Well I didn’t intentionally use the old watch parts in this piece to create that look although I do find the steampunk look intriguing. I think because of different influences and the love of the random it happened. I really love the mechanical look steampunk provides it can make an interesting look when mashed up with the taxidermy.
N: It works brilliantly! What would you say is your favourite part of your career?
J: Life as an artist can be incredibly insular. I’ve met some amazing fellow artists to draw inspiration from; without whom, I think I would feel too much like an outsider. When you have strong connections to other creative people then it helps you to stay on some sort of track. Having a tribe can make you feel stronger, I’m just so grateful to share my journey with artists who transcend culture and spirituality, defy convention by proving that art is light, happiness and fun. Such diverse artists as Sue Kretizman, Diane Goldie, DanDan Upson and Nicola Jane Hebson keep me inspired, motivated and happy.
N: On that note, your current exhibition at The Last Tuesday Society is amazing! How did you find the opening night?
J: I was so nervous and excited that evening. I was even a bit late, sorry ha ha! It was well attended and I got to chat to a lot of different people. I’m just so grateful to get a chance like this at The Last Tuesday Society, it has always been a place of wonder and interest. Before I used to visit the museum, dream of owning the curio’s inside and never imagined many years later that I would be showing my own work in the window. I’m rather overwhelmed just to be connected to Viktor and his incredible museum. Even my mother approved of the place and she’s a hard one to impress ha ha!
beautiful.bizarre’s Finance Manager Jeanette and Artist Jaime Freestone
N: Well we sure loved what we saw! Looking forward, any aspirations for the future?
J: I think to always keep it fun; without keeping it fun, then what’s the point? I think if I decided that it was boring then I would probably stop. For now though I just need to keep the momentum up. I will more than likely have a break and then get cracking on with some new pieces. I find having a show of some kind forces you to create work. I would love to create more of an art movement in my local town as it needs a kick in the right direction.
N: Do you have any upcoming exhibitions?
J: Right now I don’t but would love to have something local or have a group show with some friends. I love London to show to the masses but one day I would like to share more with my local community. I’m always looking for new places to show my work and I’m very open to different venues to display. Here I come 2016! Wish me luck!
N: Good luck, most definitely! Thank you for taking to chat Jaime, we can’t wait to see what you create in 2016.