Voices

Nonconformist is exploring his artistic options

Jason Goldberry’s work reflects his attitude. He does large airbrush paintings that are dark and look otherworldly, alien, mechanical. (PHOTOS BY COLIN MULVANY)
Jason Goldberry’s work reflects his attitude. He does large airbrush paintings that are dark and look otherworldly, alien, mechanical. (PHOTOS BY COLIN MULVANY)

We have all, at least once, asked ourselves “what will become of that kid?” He was the one who, at 14, tattooed himself, pierced himself, listened to vulgar music, and had a problem with authority.

Jason Goldsberry, 22, was (is) “that kid” and he has a full-time job, is a father, a husband, an artist, and he’s happy. Sure, he still has a problem with authority but he’s adapted and creating art is his way of continuing to question authority.

“My love of isolation, my anticonformity, and my antisocial preferences have made my work dark enough to be overlooked by the people who don’t matter to me, but it will speak to those who can accept it,” he said.

Goldsberry, who grew up in Spokane, often heard “if you spent half as much time doing school work as you do on drawing, you’d be successful in school,” but he would have none of that. He even failed art classes because he would draw only what he wanted. Looking at his book of drawings he has had since his days in high school, the subjects are “dark” but the talent is undisputable.

At 16, he dropped out of school and started working in construction. Now, he works 9 to 5 as a construction supervisor. In 2009, his son Jack was born. “Nothing has influenced me more than the birth of my son. I now have a new purpose for my work, and I can now see unlimited potentials in anything I can create,” Goldsberry said, “The same old paints have new depths, the same metal can form new shapes.”

Shortly after Jack’s birth, Goldsberry began creating his first major metal fabrication and blacksmith project. The piece, a life-sized human skeleton called “Ironman,” is built of scrap metal collected from some of Spokane’s historical buildings salvaged during remodeling or restoration through his day job at Talisman Construction Services. The piece will be complete in August.

Walking into his home in northwest Spokane, one is immediately stunned by the paintings on the walls. Airbrushed on large hand-stretched canvas, the pieces are primarily black and red and filled with images that may or may not represent the way the artist views the world.

One huge piece titled “No. 19” (he doesn’t give them names, only numbers) looks industrial with some organic elements seemingly “plugged in” to the cold and mechanical landscape. You can almost feel the greenhouse gases emitting from the canvas or some other kind of social pollution. “I like to be vague in any descriptions or thoughts behind my work. I enjoy hearing others’ theories of what I was thinking when I created it. In a way I create pieces that can interact with others on a level that I would prefer not to,” he explained.

Goldsberry has only shared his work in a couple of local venues but he is planning on exploring his options. He has begun airbrushing Harleys, and he accepted a tattoo apprenticeship. After years of drawing and questioning authority, he plans on carrying on, continuing to learn while visually commenting on the world that labeled him early on as “that kid.”



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