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Art Basel Miami Beach 2008 Studio Visits: Jay Hines

Auguries (tiger), 2008. Graphite on paper, 42 ½ x 34 inches

In conjunction with recent collaborations between Thomas Hollingworth, Art Basel Miami Beach 2008 (Magazine pg. 100), Modern Luxury (Miami) and NO MAD Paper, featuring Miami culture, ARTLURKER, is presenting studio visits of select Miami based contemporary artists. Running concurrently with Art Basel Miami Beach the aim of these features is to venerate the cities native artistic wealth and honor those who continue to make Miami what it is.

An accomplished draftsman and sculptor, Hines’ work takes the form of appropriated materials arranged in tongue-in-cheek configurations and beguiling Rorschach ink blot tests style drawings that the artist produces through a painstaking process of symmetrical tracing and imprints. The juxtaposition between Hines’ sculptural stuff and his two dimensional stuff might not immediately appear to resolve itself, but in actuality there are very strong ties between both disciplines. A regular contributor to a variety of independently curated projects and experimental spaces, namely Twenty Twenty Projects, Hines is a perfect example of Miami’s unique and colorful art scene.


Your work could be interpreted many ways; can you summarize your approach?

Part of my drawings is my investigation into noise or sound and trying to get close to that. Music in general plays a big part. I sometimes use lyrics for the titles of my work too. Basically the past few years I have been focusing on drawings. Trying to create an energy that is a visual representation of what you might experience when you listen to sound or noise. Using that aesthetic somehow. Intense vibrations cutting through or something like that.

What about your sculptural work?

I can tell you about this piece (in corner above). It’s a smurf with a boner and some t-shirts. The title is from some Pixies lyrics and that is “We’re not just kids to say the least we’ve got ideas that to us that’s dear, like capitalists, like communists, like lots of things you heard about.” So, it’s a little bit of a tie into some of the running themes.

Can we talk about some themes?

Themes I have been working with have been things like the great fire of London in England, which was really chaotic of the population, and was followed shortly by the Black Death. Though to be honest I am more interested in the idea of famine than the idea of disease; situations where people are forced to face their lack of means, its kind of claustrophobic.

How do you communicate that?

Some of the drawings are based loosely on old children’s tales like Hansel and Gretel, The Grimm Brothers, stuff like that and sometimes my work is more based in process, for example the symmetrical drawings. Trying to take these ideas that are within the drawings and overlapping them to make that visually more dense. I guess when they are symmetrical they start to expand out a lot more from the center and over lap. Oftentimes the drawings have this feeling of desperate existentialism, of loneliness and isolation mixed with a bunch of desires. A lot of times I’ll use like a house, you know, with no windows or anything, visualizing an environment that is dark and chaotic. Bristling with energy but ultimately isolated[.]


Almost in the tradition of a storyteller, but with a personally twisted contemporary edge, Hines’ large emotionally autistic works provide a stark contrast to the surrounding mileu. There are other drawers in Miami, but among them and their various styles that incorporate rainbows and stars, Hines and his angry dog’s teeth, scared children and bad monochrome acid trips, stands alone. His sculptural works, have semi recent pop cultural references, but far from being burdened by heavy socialist or political implications are simply observations fueled by a heavy cocktail of indecipherable yet poetically and righteously charged lyrics.


Jay Hines regularly exhibits at Twenty Twenty Projects and this ABMB will be participating in American Donut directly opposite Design Miami.

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Art Basel Miami Beach 2008 Studio Visits: Jay Hines