Dec. 29 2010 12:01 PM

The guy behind the collage on the front page of this week's CityBeat

coverartist
Last week, Alexander Jarman made it into CityBeat's pages for his contribution to the 2010 local-art landscape. He's the public programs manager at the San Diego Museum of Art and the man behind the exciting Summer Salon Series that kicked off this year.

This week, we're featuring one of Jarman's untitled collages on our cover and focusing on his career as an artist whose work takes many different shapes and forms.

“I'm just now starting to show and get everything going,” says Jarman, opening the door to his small studio Downtown space at the Broker's Building. “This is the space where the 2-D stuff mainly goes on.”

Tiny scraps of paper are scattered across the floor. He has a bigger drawing of shoes and upward pointing arrows on one wall, and his newest work—the collages—are framed and spread around the room. There's a roll of cloth tucked away in the corner.

The collages are Jarman's current obsession. And like the big drawing on his wall, most of the new pieces include images of shoes, shoelaces or ribbons. When I ask him to tell me the story behind the work, he takes a deep breath and launches into an explanation that's at times clear (he's extremely knowledgeable about art history) and at other times confusing (he's an experimental, conceptual artist at heart).

In short, Jarman says, he's commenting on the idea that people can “pull themselves up by their bootstrap”—the belief that if a person works hard enough, she or he can overcome poverty and other socioeconomic situations that others claim are unjust or unfair. He's raising the idea, but he's not telling you exactly what he thinks.

“I really want to approach making artwork as a sociologist and an anthropologist,” he says, citing the influence of his mother, who works at a nonprofit charity. “I think I am trying to talk about issues, problems and things that exist, but I refrain as much as possible about making a direct comment on them.”

Jarman uses that basic approach in most of his work, which includes installations and performance pieces, too. Earlier this year, he built an installation using cardboard boxes and blankets that became a visual representation of the various poverty levels across the U.S.

Unrolling the cloth in the corner of the room, Jarman explains that his next installation / performance piece will be using found cloth, washed then sewn together to create a giant blanket that he plans to unroll across an entire city block.

“We'll invite the community to come together and talk and eat,” he says. “It'll be one big picnic blanket.”

Calendar

  • Visit one of the 70 participating restaurants, bars, coffeehouses and nightclubs in town on this night and 25 to 50 percent of sales will go to local HIV/AIDS services and prevention programs. 
  • Anthony Bernal and Chris Ward, who are vying to replace Todd Gloria on the San Diego City Council, will discuss urban issues, such as parking, homelessness and new developments
  • The new exhibition designed by Dave Ghilarducci is made from hundreds of rolls of packing tape and bound together by layers of plastic shrink-wrap. Visitors can navigate their way through cocoon-like passageways...
  • The renowned Mexican black and white photographer presents an exhibition exploring the principal themes within three groups: "Bestiarium"," Fantastic Women" and "Silent Natures."
  • Presented by Pacific Arts Movement, the sixth annual mini film fest features 14 film programs from 10 countries that includes everything from docs to romantic tearjerkers. See website for full lineup and...
  • The San Diego County Bike Coalition hosts this monthly bike-in happy hour event to get biking residents involved in their communities and discuss bike projects planned for that specific community
  • Debunk some of the stereotypes surrounding cannibalism at this new exhibition that takes a hands-on approach to the subject. Includes video games and interactive activities where patrons will have to decide...
  • So Say We All's monthly storytelling night features stories about those jobs we took because we had to take a job. Featured readers include Allison Gauss, Annmarie Houghtailing, Cecile Estelle, and more
  • Artists from the all-abstracts group show will talk about their work and techniques. Artists include Edwin Nutting, Danielle Nelisse, Leah Pantea, Lenore Simon, and more
See all events on Thursday, Apr 28