Jesse Draxler Terror Management™ @ Booth Gallery

Keeping up with with Booth Gallery’s restless artistic and intellectual explorations, fine artist, illustrator, art director and designer Jesse Draxler brings to life, in unapologetically surreal, dadaist, expressionist black & white, the notions of everyone’s inner battle with mortality – or delusions of becoming immortal. Inspired by the elaborate scientific perspective of the book “The Worm At The Core”, from which the upcoming “Terror Management™” exhibition borrows its title, Draxler may not attempt to serve up all the answers, but he certainly confronts our lingering demons, nodding at them with explicit dare and a refreshingly mischievous grin.

Ambivalently balancing against grandiose artistic statements such as the “…Fame, I wanna live forever” line we’ve all wistfully sang along some time or another, Draxler’s attempts at TM™ are significantly more outlandish, yet so familiar, poignantly nonsensical and profoundly relevant. As the artist explains in the following interview, he just tries the best way he can – and, as it happens, that is way more fascinating, and crazy comforting.

Here’s Jesse, going for the core…

Jesse Draxler “Terror Management™”


Opening Reception:
Saturday, January 9, 2016 | 6-9 PM

Exhibition Dates:
January 9–February 20, 2016

Booth Gallery

325 W. 38th St. (Store #1) | New York, NY

For purchasing information and availability, please contact the gallery directly at [email protected]

terrormanagement_jessedraxlter_beautifulbizarre_004“untitled E001”

Danai: What was it about “The Worm At The Core” that mostly resonated with you?

Jesse: Just the fact that it exists. I had never come across a scientific exploration on the subject, so it was refreshing to read something coming at it from a different angle other than emotional, philosophical, or existential.

Danai: Was there a particular moment that you personally remember first being confronted with the existential angst of mortality? Was it panic or humour that ultimately won over?

Jesse: I was exposed to some hardcore mortality at a pretty young age. I have a memory from adolescence in which I am asking my dad why I always felt bad inside, even when nothing was particularly wrong at that moment. I remember making lists in my head of everything that was happening in my life and checking them off as I decided whether or not they were a pressingly bad issue that I should be in fear of. When I would come to the end of the list and seemingly everything was okay I would get very confused, because I still felt the “bad” feeling. That was some 20+ years ago and since then I wouldn’t say anything has won over. Terror and hilarity hold equal stake. I am at a stage of surrender, trying to accept the absurdity of literally everything. Realizing perception is the only reality, and thus working to sharpen my perception.

Danai: The book itself claims that creativity, creating a legacy, can be a way of dealing with your personal mortality, among others. Do you feel art is chiefly about expressing yourself and taking pleasure in the moment, or more of a conscious attempt to create long-term ties with the future?

Jesse: To be motivated by creating a legacy is to be thinking about a past that hasn’t happened yet, in a future that I will no longer exist in. I can’t wrap my head around that, so the idea of a legacy has never been something that motivates me. Taking pleasure in the moment is a ridiculously difficult barrier to break into, although it is the goal. At the moment I’m just trying to express myself and my ideas in the best way I can.


“Joke Painting 001”

Danai: When did you first realize that creating art could be one solid, cathartic way of dealing with your personal troubles and fears as a whole?

Jesse: I never feel a true catharsis because I am still unsure of what I am searching for relief from – every piece I finish leaves me wanting to create an infinite amount more – much like an answer to a question leading to only more and more questions.

Danai: In pure materialistic terms, what are your preferred creative tools? Can you give us a more step-by-step process of creating your collages?

Jesse: Short answer: No. Long answer: Process and material experimentation hold a very important place in my process. There is no A to B. Half the time I’m not even sure how I got from one point to another – that may be my favorite thing about my practice, learning from the process, being guided by the nature of the materials. But even if I could tell you exactly how I created a piece, I wouldn’t. It should be inconsequential to the impact of the image or idea – you know, art being more than the sum of its parts and all.


“Piss Christ”

Danai: The largely faceless figures in your collages often seem chaotic, confused, absurd. Apart from them obviously being a stylistic choice, do you think we could see more “orderly” art by Jesse Draxler in the future, once some of your inner turbulence starts getting settled?

Jesse: I dig the optimism here.

Danai: As your art suggests, where there’s chaos, there’s also lots of creative fun, or wit. Is that your general way of dealing with things?

Jesse: Yes and no. As I said previously I try to accept the absurdity of everything – the way I see it every single thing has a level of absurdity, including tragedy. So when life gets chaotic I try to keep it as light as possible. That being said most of the time I am able to do that on an exterior level, but internally I’m freaking the fuck out.


“Telepathic Link To Hell”


“untitled A002”


“untitled A004”


“untitled B001”


“untitled B002”


“untitled F001”


“No Joke Painting 003”


“untitled C001”


“Fucked Up Chuck Close Print 001”


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