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Real Art Takes Guts: Artist Interview

We’ve been lucky enough to interview Jason Freeny, an artist, sculptor and illustrator who creates anatomical dissections of toys and other art full-time out of his New York studio. As artists and designers at SlickFish, we’re always looking for inspiration, and Jason has been on our “cool” list for a long time. Check out his work and read the short interview below!

The work of Jason Freeny

We love a good story about an artist who follows their passion, their instincts (creates the unexpected) and becomes successful at what they love. On top of that, throw in a dark, and slightly twisted sense of humor, we’re instant fans!

Jason Freeny went to Pratt Institute (GO CANNONEERS!) where he studied Industrial Design. Following that, he held many interesting jobs; a world-traveling muralist and theatrical designer, stage set, prop, and custom artwork creator for MTV, graphic designer at ESPN, a pin-up illustrator, and a toy designer. All of these creative experiences helped him focus on what he enjoys most: toys, anatomy and sculpture. His fictional, anatomical dissections began as illustrations at first (see: balloon animal & gummy bear) then he cut open Dunny – (a bunny looking character toy) where he gave it a clay skeleton. That creation sparked many other anatomical toy dissections, from Barbie to Lego Man to the good ol’ rubber ducky.

Jason Freeny's balloon animal illustration and his first dissected toy Dunny.

Jason Freeny’s balloon animal illustration and his first dissected toy Dunny.

As art school alumni ourselves, we recall many hours studying the anatomy, learning the insides of the figure (human or animal or otherwise)  in order to successfully draw the outside. What Jason does is the exact opposite. He calls it “reverse forensics,” the outside dictating what the inside (could or should) look like. It seems like a fun challenge for the mind and quite an exercise in creativity. We find the familiarity of these characters combined with the imagined dissections fascinating.

Thank you Jason, for answering our questions! If only we could create a SlickFish for you to dissect. …hmmm.

Questions for artist Jason Freeny (by SlickFish):

1) What did you want to be when you were young?
A bunch of things. Actor, Fireman… My mother wanted me to go into architecture and I went along with that until I found other mediums that were less constrictive.
2) Where do you gather inspiration? How do you stay inspired?
Anywhere I can. I can try to force it but that usually only has maybe a 30% success rate. All my good ideas hit me at completely random times. I like to build off previous ideas, it creates a succession of sculptures that display progression in a linear, story-like way.
3) What is your favorite step of the process?
It used to be completing a project but has evolved into me enjoying the process more over time, especially working on a new idea. Its just as new to me as the viewer.
4) Which artists do you admire?
I admire great ideas and concepts. I admire excellent irony. I admire artists with exceptional technique.
5) What is your favorite moment of an average day?
breakfast or dinner, whichever has the yummiest food. I rarely eat lunch.
6) How has social media changed your work/business?

Without it you’d never have known I existed. I’ve been creating art since the early 90’s. In that time, before the internet, you would have to put together slides and go from gallery to gallery begging them to look at your work. You were just another portfolio in a huge stack of other portfolios. The internet has almost made galleries obsolete. Now you can set up your own gallery on line and let the masses decide what art they like, not the handful of gallery owners in the city.

And speaking of “the masses” – if you want the inside scoop, follow Jason Freeny on Facebook. He often posts photos of the progression of what it is he’s working on and is quite receptive to feedback. For Jason’s full portfolio and to buy his sculptures, toys, prints, and other merchandise, visit his website.

SlickFish Studios is a small, creative website design and development company located down by the water in the historic Old Port of Portland, Maine. SlickFish specializes in inspired custom websites, animation & logo design. For more stuff like this check out our blog. If you'd like to see some of our professional work please visit our portfolio. Also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and let's connect on LinkedIn.