Drops 12/19 at Noon EST
Jurne got his introduction to what he calls the slanguage arts watching the freight trainwheels go round and round throughout the Northeast United States. His latest print Stories From our Neighborhoods looks to “…transcend graffiti and people who are making graffiti. It’s more about living in cities together and everyone’s individual experience. The writing that you see on the walls in the community is part of someone’s story. ” Read on for our full interview with Jurne and buy his latest print Stories From Our Neighborhood at 1xRUN.com
1xRUN: How did the name Jurne come about?
Jurne: When I first started writing graffiti I wrote a different word. In high school I met a bunch of older writers who put me onto a lot of graffiti culture, one of them used to write Jurne as a side word and he passed that on to me. He kind of gifted it to me.
1xRUN: Can you give me a little bit of background on this print, how you came onto this new style and what you’re trying to convey?
Jurne: The whole premise is writing within writing that can pose as larger writing. But the initial idea was one that was done in the street, as a graffiti style. I just wrote “JurneJurneJurne” over and over again in a way that composed the larger Jurne piece. This was maybe 7 years ago, something like that. Then I returned to the idea a few times and tried it on a large scale. Later I started working on smaller scale, indoors, and transitioning into painting and doing prints. All of the work revolves around the concept of making images around text and using some characters, serifs or little esthetic things that you would employ with graffiti art and try to apply those to a more image based medium, sometimes it’s letter based, but it transcends only being about letters.
1xRUN: What about the title, Stories From Our Neighborhood, can you give me your thoughts on that?
Jurne: It’s just the idea that graffiti is what you see written in the streets. Street art or graffiti art is the voice of the common person. So everyone has a story that they are telling. Whether they are writing the same thing over and again or whether they are writing a political sentiment or they are writing “John was her.” or whatever it is. When you see those marks on a cityscape, in addition to just reading them for what they are, they are also kind of a sign of people telling each other and the community at large their story bit by bit. The idea of Stories from Our Neighborhood is that there are all these different voices and all these different stories to be told by the inhabitants of the city or town.
1xRUN: What do you say as the devil’s advocate for graffiti? It doesn’t really convey street art or graffiti in any form. Graffiti has pushed the written word more than any other mediums, but how do you explain that this is something still of that ilk?
Jurne: I think my agenda is to use all the things that I have learned from painting graffiti to make different types of art. I didn’t go to art school, I didn’t have any formal art training. I have become interested in doing fine art or things outside of graffiti through graffiti which is kind of atypical from a common person’s point of view. What’s intriguing about it for me is that someone who isn’t interested in the background that I come from doesn’t perceive it as graffiti. They might have a different or greater appreciation for the piece, yet it’s like the most distilled version of graffiti. It’s not some crazy rendered character or some 30 color piece, it’s simply writing it’s just done in a way where it is a amalgam of writing. I’m not trying to champion graffiti I think that it’s more interesting to see what are people’s reactions. To me it’s simply the most common kind of base element of something that people overlook.
1xRUN: So looking at Stories from Our Neighborhood, in this piece is this all Jurne or is it different words in here?
Jurne: I don’t think there are any Jurne tags. There might be one, but this is more personal sentiments and observations that I have living in Oakland and the Bay area. It is more commentary on urban life or living in groups. It’s not about having a marketing agenda with one word, it’s just kind of stream of consciousness. When I write in this style I don’t have these lists of written ideas, I just kind of see where it goes.
Check out a short video of Jurne’s Oakland Mural
1xRUN: So these are actually thoughts conveyed and woven into each other to create one consistent and cohesive work?
Jurne: Right. They’re all kind of loosely revolving around the concept that everyone has a story. The writing that you see on the walls in the community is part of someone’s story. It transcends graffiti and people who are making graffiti, it’s more about living in cities together and everyone’s individual experience.
1xRUN: The font or the calligraphy is very interesting into something that’s unique and of it’s own, how do you explain the source of the style? How did it come about? Is it just the phonetic energy coming off your hand or is this an iteration of that letter style turning to something different? Is it supposed to be camouflaged? You’d have to decipher it a bit, wouldn’t you say?
Jurne: People have said to me “You know it’s so cool…but what does it say?” or “I wish I could read it.” But the thing is that I make a real choice in making some parts more legible than others. I think it peaks people’s interest more if you don’t just spell everything out. I don’t want to make it so legible that it can then be compartmentalized or that it is this or that and then it can dismissed. I like the ambiguity around it. From a macroscopic scale it’s very obvious that it says something, but all those parts that compose that bigger thing are a little more mysterious.
1xRUN: Every time I engage with the print, and the further I move away from the piece it looks different. As I chance my distance from the print my perception of the artwork changes. It’s almost like you need to step back to have a different experience with this image. From different planes or different depths the viewer is going to have a different experiences viewing this print. It’s interesting but the more I stand away from it the more beautiful it becomes and the closer I get the more details I can point out.
Jurne: Aww, well thanks.
You can see more of Jurne’s previous work on his website.