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How Jarren Frame Became One of Today’s Most Important Emerging Artists

How Jarren Frame Became One of Today’s Most Important Emerging Artists
In just two years, New York City based artist, Jarren Frame has built a foundation unlike anything we’ve seen before.

Frame was born in 1990 in Johannesburg, South Africa. He later moved to the United States where he studied at George Washington University, majoring in finance in 2009, as well as New York University, earning his masters in finance in 2014. After working in various capacities at the likes of The Carlyle Group, Burch Creative Capital, Scout Ventures, and Nedbank, Frame held his first exhibition at The Sixty SoHo Hotel on the second level space, now known as the Butterfly Bar and filled with works by Damien Hirst.

Already on display at world-renowned hotels and restaurants, and sought after by blue chip collectors and notable art patrons alike, we sat down with Jarren Frame himself to uncover the story.

Can you tell us how you made the jump from finance to art?

I learnt to paint and draw as a child, part of the curriculum at school where we were taught the basics of painting and drawing. I don’t think there’s much more technical knowledge one needs beyond that.

The idea of earning a living through art always lingered at the back of my head, but I knew that to conquer these awful failure rates of becoming a successful artist, I needed to be able to make art independent of the art market so I worked in venture capital for a while to build up a war chest to finance my production, sort of like Koons.

I think to “make it” as an artist today, one must have a keen sense of the business behind it. I think that’s why a lot of collectors have paid attention to me.

In October 2017, you displayed a series of James Bond inspired works at your first solo exhibition at the SIXTY SoHo Hotel. What was the process leading up to this?

So, I had this idea lingering at the back of my head right, but I didn’t know exactly when or if I would even execute on it. It happened in a sort of whirl-wind, that started with an Instagram post in August or September of 2017 of a painting I made of James Bond in Gstaad on vintage Playboy collage. The feedback I got from everyone was phenomenal so I decided I’m going to make 5 or 6 more, of ones just like it and do a presentation - and I did.

Why James Bond?

Alright, within my ‘Bond, James Bond ‘series, the one’s on Playboy collage are a subseries I refer to as ‘The Playboy Paintings.’ I just started painting James Bond because I love the movie franchise and he’s awesome. I didn’t have a methodical plan for my first series, I posted it to Instagram and the people demanded more. The imagery speaks to me in a lot of different ways. There’s this great article called “Forget Girls and Guns, We Love James Bond Because He Always Triumphs Over Machines.”

How do you connect the dots from ‘Bond, James Bond’ to your most recent body of work, ‘The Color Paintings’ that were shown at Socialista and Surf Lodge in July 2019?

The styles and concepts are very different. As I mentioned, I didn’t have much option to lay out a methodical plan, the people wanted James Bond and I gave it to them. I kept producing a rotating selection of new works within that series from October of 2017 to about February of 2019. Stylistically, I think those works are very illustrative and I now refer to everything I produced in that period as my ‘Early Works.’

The Color Paintings I started producing in Feburary of 2019 signaled a shift in my development as an artist where I think the work became a little more elevated (but also dumb) - artwork can be sophisticated and “dumb” at the same time believe it or not.

I went to Janovic in Soho and picked 50 different colors at random and then poured each quart of color onto a different canvas so we landed up with these 6 feet tall monochrome color paintings, with no type of expression and not arranged in any kind of spectrum like Ellsworth Kelly. It’s a lot like what Olivier Mosset does, but I decided to give them names instead.

I love the reactions I’ve received from them. One person may resonate with a red painting, for example, that I’ve titled, ‘Red Flags Can Feel So Green,’ while another person comments on the same painting, “Oh come on, this is over the barrier… how can we even call this a painting?”

It seems you’ve stopped producing in this series and began something different. Are you moving into sculpture?

So, The Color Paintings are meant to be a never-ending series, perhaps we’ll do something more with them at another time, but yes, I love the idea of making art with materials not from the art store and not on canvas.

All the James Bond paintings were made with a brand called Golden Acrylics and ready-made canvases from Blick. I then completely stopped purchasing supplies from the art store and made The Color Paintings with house hold gloss from a paint store. I’m now designing sculptures on the computer and fabricating in materials like stainless steel.

What is Invisible Particles?

Invisible Particles is my new work where I’m playing with this idea of exposing something immaterial, so the sculptures I’m making have their wireframe exposed.

What notable collectors have acquired your work? Where can we see it on display?

You can check out the archives section on my website for a comprehensive list of collections at jarrenframe.com/about

How does it feel to be a young artist on the rise?

Human, just like everyone else.

What would you say is the overall message of your artwork?

I don’t have an overarching message, you know, I just try put work out there that provokes some type of feeling, thought or question. Sometimes it’s just visually appealing, sometimes it’s all the above.

What’s next?

Ultimately, anything I can see and feel, will be my canvas.

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