Flowing through the city with an intrinsic understanding for a universal language, Jaiye Farrell uses the simple idea of a line to create recognizable landscapes across multiple mediums and platforms. Starting from canvas, he creates abstract patterns reminiscent of a thumb print. We have admired Jaiye's work from afar over the past couple years seeing his work at our favorite DIY skate spots or down the street from our shop with larger than life murals. We gave Jaiye the keys to our backdrop for 24 hours to create a signature work, talk art, culture, and what the future has in store for Jaiye on volume 002 of BY._____.
Did you grow up here in Oklahoma City?
I did! I wasn't born here but I grew up here. I was born in San Diego 'cause my parents are in the military. We moved out here when I was probably about 2 or 3 so I don't really remember to much before Oklahoma.
So it sounds like you didn't have to do to much moving around like a lot military kids. Once you were here you all were settled?
Yeah, everybody always assumes that. They're always like "you must've been a lot of places" and I actually haven't. Dude I've been in Oklahoma my whole life haha.
Do you see yourself continuing to grow in the art world here or are you looking to expand into another city or country?
Oklahoma has definitely grown on me and I do see the potential here. It's a good place to make a base. I'd say a personal strategy for me, is to hold it down here and build it up, but at the same time I should probably be over in LA and New York for these big art shows. It's just a matter of making the time to travel around.
When I was watching you paint I over-heard you listening in to an online chatroom and before the interview we talked a little bit about how instrumental these communities have been especially through the pandemic. Can you expand on what these communities have meant to you?
It's basically like club houses that did it for me. Like, oh, now I can search art club or digital illustration club and I can find rooms of people who like this similar thing (as me) and everybody's just hangin out. You hear and find people scattered all across the United States and you can see who's super active. I started from that and then started branching out to more audio communities.
Do you think you find more comfortability in showing your art in spaces like this where you might have a little more anonymity through the internet versus showing in real life?
Actually, I think it increased how much sharing is capable versus in real life and people asking me about my work and what it means to me. I felt like it wasn't till I started to get into these audio rooms and hanging out with other artists that I realized communicating these ideas and stories to people can happen every day. Versus at an art show in real life you might have one once a month and have a few people actually asking you about the pieces. So being in a place where people are asking you on the daily about your art it really gets you to think deeper about what your communicating and how your art feels to you and what your looking to do with it.
It sounds like it's actually making for more introspection which is really cool. It also sounds like its more intentional. I feel like so often when you go to art shows there are so many people there with different intentions other than to admire the work.
It's like intentional without it even being intentional 'cause sometimes we're just hangin' out but everyone in the rooms an artist. So half the time we're painting and just talking with each other so it just naturally comes up asking about people's art, like, the process or the business or the future. Those types of conversations are going to come up when you're in a room full of artists haha.
No doubt and as they should haha. Speaking on some of those types of questions. Your style of painting; you've kind of developed this language through pattern in a way that I like to describe as having it's own hypnotic vernacular. Can you tell us more about the origin of your work and the symbols we see throughout it?
I feel like I've always been into creativity and art. Moving through different mediums when I was younger, I went from drawing to photoshop and video editing and stuff like that. Then I felt like that cycle kept restarting and I'd go back to drawing and photoshop and video editing and then I got into painting and pushed towards more physical works. You know, I just started painting anything I can get my hands on and probably a year, year and a half into painting I'm thinking how do I make something that's unique. People are always like "I want my own style". So I know that was like a mental shift before I got into doing the lines and patterns. That took me into experimentations into different mediums and mixing up what I'm painting with. My first job was at a cake bakery where I would decorate cakes and cookies using frosting. I was kind of slick with the bag haha. My boss said I wrote better with icing than I did with a pen. One day it kind of just hit me like "you know what, I'm going to go put paint into this icing bag and try to make an art piece with it." I felt the need to switch it up and try something different. Thinking about that moment over the years made me unravel it even further because it had developed more dimension. It wasn't only the act of what was happening while I was doing it, this paint was pouring out very liquidy and I was trying not to let the lines run into each other. So I had to space them out and I had to move really fast. There was a lot of experimentation and just having fun. It was one of the first times I felt like the whole process was tight. Where I felt like I like it, other people like it, I might have something here. It just felt right. Then I thought how do I maximize this 'cause I can't put an icing bag on a wall haha. I knew I wanted to start doing bigger things. So then I just switched to the brush and doing the lines on different objects and mediums and shirts or anything I could get my hands on. I kind of just stuck with the black and white because it kept it simple and allowed it to get more into the idea of what I was doing and what it meant to me.
I've heard a lot of people, including myself describe looking at your work as feeling like they're on LSD or a hallucinogens. Have you had those experiences with your own work?
Yeah I actually haven't partaken (in hallucinogens) that's why I think it's crazy. I'd be interested in seeing my work like that haha. It's hit a point though to where I went from "this is my unique style" to where the universe looked back at me saying nahhh there's other people who do similar things. It's even deeper than that; this is something in nature.
For me, when I look at your work it makes me think of a finger print. I think a lot of people that take hallucinogens have had those experiences when they look down at their own hands and get stuck in the lines and patterns of their prints. So when I look at your work it always gives me delightful flashbacks into that headspace.
That makes me think of like micro versus macro. Getting into these micro spaces where micro patterns happen and there is this thing in nature called morphogenesis. I recently got put on to this in the past couple of years and I feel like it has expanded how I feel about my art and how it fits into this bigger picture. Morphogenesis is what gives a zebra its stripes. It's the same stuff that makes a brain look wrinkly or a coral reef shape the way it does. You're right, it's the same as your thumb print. It's the underlying way nature puts itself together. It seems abstract or chaotic but once you pull out a bit there is structure there. So I think of things like the fabric of reality and the micro patterns and that's when I was like okay that's the language for it.
It has always felt like a language and I couldn't figure out why and I think you just described exactly why.
I tell people it's a language of movement. I try to move in a way that makes you think, oh, this is Jaiye's piece.
It's so cool that you have been able to make pieces like this very recognizably you even though in a purely spectators way its a rather simple idea. I love the idea of it being a language of movement. It seems very meditative in a lot of ways, is this a practice of meditation for you?
Oh yeah, I think it is. It's probably my most consistent form of meditation I have right now haha. Especially now I'm doing a daily color pattern in my iPad 5 days a week and making myself sit down with my iPad and do a full page of these and trying out this weird color technique that I'm trying to tap in to. That's what I've realized too, is making myself do that has helped me to be able to zone in and practice focus. It's a place to get silent and just get into the movement. Sometimes I catch myself having to take one good breathe with a stroke just to make sure I keep the right spacing or line weight.
I love that and I have really enjoyed getting to take some time to learn more about you and your work. Is there anything you'd like to plug in here or talk about?
Support Local artists. Keep on making lines and dots. I'm going to keep on communicating my language to others and get it to a larger audience. Keep on striving to do bigger things. Keep on being a better person every day.
Jaiye wearing Polar Emile Knit Sweater & Sunflower Light-wash Loose Jeans.
Photographed by Aldo Delara
Written and oral interview from Elyjah Monks