Jason Villegas revels in deconstructing our consumer culture by holding up a warped mirror to reflect modern society. He merges logos, beasts, and icons to take humorous pod shots at global capitalism. Amanda Tait Brower finds out more.

What’s a typical day like for you? I am usually hanging out with my partner Daniel, either watching something pointless on television or playing video games. In between that I somehow manage to make some art.

Where and when are you most productive, art-wise? It’s pretty random. I always feel comfortable making art at home. I hope to feel comfortable in my studio at LMCC starting in September for nine months. I hope to be extra productive there since it will take an hour to get to on the subway. I learned recently after doing an outdoor sculpture at Socrates Sculpture Park that I’m not too comfortable making art crammed outdoors, fighting for make-shift table space during the summer. I think I could have been more productive in the fall.

There’s some serious intellectual and social discourse going on in your works. Can you elaborate on that for us? I find art more interesting that discusses relevant topics, but is smooth in delivery so as not to smother you. I explore topics like globalism, evolution, God, consumerism, and homosexuality. I throw myself into the equation and attempt to first satisfy my needs visually and emotionally. Then I decide what to share with others and hope for the best reception.

What sort of viewing experience do you hope your audience to have, and what do you intend for them to take away from the work? I don’t expect that people will be moved to activism or decide to become a penniless monk looking for nirvana. My art does discuss issues that are usually tied to fingers waving, “No, no,” but my view is more a shrine to excess and gluttony. I want people to get a kick out of the absurd reality that is human nature. I want people to enjoy the colors and textures of mass consumption. It is my hope that others will feel a strange familiarity and comfort in my strange realm of hybrids and pseudo-spirituality.

What role does humor play in your work? What role does irony play? Dark or absurd humor is a big part of what I do. I take pokes at myself and have no problem poking at the world.  Irony is inevitable since our society is built upon foundations that are absurd and abstract. Art is sort of ironic by nature.

How does your upbringing factor into your work? What made you decide you wanted to be an artist? Although my Mom did encourage art and creativity, there wasn’t much guidance or knowledge of contemporary art at home. I didn’t really get it until I opened an art magazine as an undergrad at the University of Houston. I’ve always wanted to be an artist, and always made art even before I really knew what it was.

What are you working on currently? There is a huge forest of totem poles in my mind that I hope to plant in a white room somewhere. The animal hybrids I’ve been working on have now been stacked and resemble totem poles, so that’s what I’m going with!

Consumer culture (and/or modern society): name three aspects of it that fascinate you and three that repulse you. Fashion, food, and art: all do both for me.

What’s on the walls of your home? Mostly my own artwork that is special to me and part of my own collection. These are the things I part with only when I need to pay rent!

Why is Art+Culture Editions exciting for you? This is a new avenue for me and I am excited to see it grow. I have always been a supporter of art for the people. I enjoy a full spectrum of art, from sharing temporary sculptural installations to selling artwork in a professional gallery setting. I’m always looking for a way to get my imagery out there for more people to enjoy.

Interview by Amanda Tait Brower