2016 Inspire Speaker Dave Jackson - Art is Dangerous

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In this series of blog posts we are introducing people who are speaking at and attending Inspire 2016. Today we’d like to introduce you to Dave Jackson of Jackson and Co. who will be leading a session Monday, Advanced Editorial Concept Shoot and on Tuesday will be presenting It's OK to Suck a creative journey about growth, faith and persistence.

Art is Dangerous

Over the Halloween season as my team and I were preparing to begin pre-production on our short film, House No. 613, I came across a behind the scenes look at director Rob Zombie’s film The Devil’s Rejects. While watching an interview segment with Rob, he talked about the story development and overall concept for the movie and brought up an intriguing idea stating, “Art is dangerous.”

For those not familiar with the film, The Devil’s Rejects is a cult classic movie in the horror genre released in 2005 and the sequel to his film House of 1000 Corpses. Obviously the movie is not for the faint of heart and by most standards is otherwise violent, dark and sinister to say the least. But whether or not you are a fan of the horror genre of movies, his statement carried so much weight and struck a cord with me. Art is dangerous and it involves risks.

We are currently set to release our next short film over the holiday season and took the project on as an oddly humor-inspired case study of the classic grindhouse film genre. Shortly after the completion of production on the project, I was left with a strange feeling of doubt about the films content and questioned how it would be perceived to the general viewers of my work. The subject matter is intense and at times risque, yet filled with dark humor and driven by gritty imagery.

It wasn’t until this past week that I remembered Rob’s quote. This idea has stuck with me over the past few months and I see that I have been able to apply it to my entire portfolio spanning a few years now. I’m a firm believer in the idea that in order for our art to make an emotional connection with the viewer and take on a life of it’s own, we have to be willing to take a “creative risk” in our evolution as artists.

If we explore our personal vision, so often we can become susceptible to creating “safe” work we perceive that the majority of people expect to see and they can easily understand. My photography, especially my personal work, has always had a subtle darkness and an underlying satirical humor about it. Granted I shoot a lot of proverbial safe work for my clients and very much enjoy doing so, I tend to show images that speak to my vision in both my portfolio and video reel.

At times I have questioned whether or not what I show in my book hurts my chances of getting hired by a specific client for a job, but that is the risk we take as creatives. But more importantly, I think we need to showcase who we are as artists and let our work speak for itself… to make that emotional impact on the viewer. I also think it’s necessary to remove the viewer from the equation in order to follow through with creating work you truly enjoy. Regardless of how it is perceived, this process will only yield personal growth and lead us to new grounds within our creative journey.

Art is risky. It’s dangerous. But it’s not to be feared. If we embrace the fact that we are willing to push boundaries, be it personal or professional, we open new doors and pave new paths of opportunity.

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