Artist Interview – Jason Lyons

I’ve decided to do some artist interviews in conjunction with the Art of the State exhibition this year. We’ll start this series with fellow PA Guild of Craftsmen member Jason Lyons. I’ve seen his work in person and it always amazes me how he can see spoons and think raven wings. You can find him online at his website, Jason Lyons Art.
Touch of Yellow ©2012 Jason Lyons 28" x 24" x 12"
Touch of Yellow ©2012 Jason Lyons 28″ x 24″ x 12″

1. How did you get started in your craft? (using your media)

I basically grew up being surrounded by found object art. My father is a found object sculptor as well. As a child I can remember trips out “Junk Hunting” at the local dumps and along roadsides collecting materials. He would take these materials and transform them into wall mounted Trains. The summers were then spent at Craft Shows. While he sold his sculptures my sister and I would explore the show checking out the other artists and such.

I have always been drawn to the 3D arts, I can only believe that this is obviously due to my upbringing plus I have always been one to collect “Junk”.

Along with my desire for the arts I have also always been into the outdoors. My childhood was also spent camping, hiking and observing “nature”. In fact I almost ended up in Alaska as a bush pilot and going to school for wildlife biology.

So, I spent some time bouncing around between many different interests but would always come back to the arts.

Then, while exploring various artistic mediums ranging from photography to ceramics/pottery I remember asking for a welder as a Christmas gift one year and I was hooked! The welder afforded me the ability to connect the various materials I would find for my sculptures and with my other influences the building of animals just clicked and have been ever since.

Electrolux Armadillo ©2013 Jason Lyons 24" x 12" x 10"
Electrolux Armadillo ©2013 Jason Lyons 24″ x 12″ x 10″

2. What has been inspiring/influencing your work lately?

Color. Lately, I have been drawn to the use of many colored items in my sculptures – Bright reds, Blues and yellows are appearing much more on the vintage finds I use in my works. I began my career using mostly rusted and distressed items which gave them a very vintage style. I have recently been drawn to the “Snap” that this color brings to my sculptures which I feel opens them up to a whole new group of potential clientele.

3. Who are your favorite artists in your field?

Steve Meadows a Sculptor in Illinois. His use of color in his works is very appealing and as I mentioned before that is a big influence right now.

John Wilhelm in Arizona, I find the fact that many of his found object animals ranging from bears to rams are life-sized is amazing.

Edouard Martinet a French found object sculptor. I find the clean lines and seamless joining of the parts he uses in his works amazing.

4. What is your favorite customer quote or story?

“That is the ugliest moose I have ever seen!”

Moose ©2009 Jason Lyons 48" x 36" x 36"
Moose ©2009 Jason Lyons 48″ x 36″ x 36″

Several years ago I was at a show in which I was showing my “Moose” sculpture and from across the isle I hear this over the usual show crowd noise. Suddenly, a gentleman comes straight over basically parting the crowd and proceeds to tell me just how odd this thing was pointing out several of it’s unusual parts. This was all with good intentions as he went on proclaiming he had never seen anything like it. This has become one of my favorite aspects of my work, seeing the wide ranging reactions people have to my sculptures especially watching them they discover some various part within them that they have a direct relation to.

5. What is your favorite piece of art or fine craft that you own?

It is a small fish head created by Steve Meadows that is made from a tin can that has been flattened on one end to form a mouth with a couple of washers riveted on for eyes. I instantly found it to be an extremely clever idea created from such a simple object.

You can find Jason online at his website, blog, on Facebook and Pinterest, and of course see his piece, Touch of Yellow, in person at Art of the State: Pennsylvania 2013 at the State Museum in Harrisburg, PA.

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