Home Interviews Art Interview: Street Artist Jasper Patch
Art Interview: Street Artist Jasper Patch

jasper patch
Jasper Patch on Grand and Bedford in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

- Ever wonder who paints the massive billboards you always see on the streets of New York? Us too. That's why we decided to sneak up on Brooklyn drawer, painter and street artist, Jasper Patch, as he was painting his most recent advertisement for Bushmills Irish Whiskey on the corner of Grand and Bedford and force him to give an impromptu interview. If you find him interesting (we did), check out his official website and blog for more info.

DIRTY AWESOME: Where are you from? 

JASPER: Originally...well...originally from a lot of places, but mostly Portland, Oregon. I've been in Brooklyn for the past 7 years.

DIRTY AWESOME: How long have you been an artist?

JASPER: All my life. I was always interested in painting. I don't remember wanting to do anything else ever...I guess it was a question of realizing what's out there and understanding what capacity you can be useful, you know?

DIRTY AWESOME: How did you get hired as the guy who paints billboards in Williamsburg?  

JASPER: I guess I've been doing this exact job for 5 or 6 years. Like, of course I didn't know this job existed, but at some point...well, I just saw somebody doing it once. I actually had a friend who worked for a company similar to this and it was kind of like the job that all my friends and I really wanted. That kind of thing. So a lot of us ended up working in this industry. There's a lot of training involved, but it's also kind of a niche painting job where there's kind of combination of doing things quickly and doing things right. Our company probably employs 15 different painters. And you would think that's pretty small, but it's actually one of the larger hand painting companies.

DIRTY AWESOME: Is Williamsburg yours? Like is this your turf as a painter? 

JASPER: No. They actually send me all over the place. I just get what they think I might be able to do, or scheduling wise how it all works out. I don't know if I really have a favorite neighborhood. It's more about what we're working on. We do a lot of big walls and those are fun because you get to work up high. It's quiet. It's a much different atmosphere.

 Do you ever get nervous up there?

JASPER: No. I never get nervous.

jasper patch
Jasper Patch painting a billboard in Manhattan.

DIRTY AWESOME: What do you normally paint, outside of work? 

JASPER: I normally draw goofy cartoon stuff that's normally not related to this at all. And then I also do this really realistic sort of painting. The cartoons are sort of Ralph Bakshi type...kind of...I guess, haha.

DIRTY AWESOME: What is your favorite ad you've ever done? 

JASPER: Um...I don't know. Well...I mean...I guess some of the bigger ones that I've done I've kind of enjoyed looking at them over time and stuff. They can get even bigger than standard billboard size. There was actually one Stella advertisement done for a film about our company and we painted it 45 ft by 60 ft and that was sort of fun to do cause it was for us I guess. We kept repainting it every few weeks or so and they filmed a time lapse of it. It was really cool to watch.

DIRTY AWESOME: Do you ever get pissed if someone tag's or paints over your work?  

JASPER: Haha, personally no. I don't really...no. I mean I'm sure it pisses of the boss a lot, haha. I guess, also, if I spend a lot of time on something, and then somebody writes over it...but typically it's sort of finds itself in an empty area, which is kinda nice.

jasper patch
A Jasper Patch painting titled "Bakshi."

DIRTY AWESOME: Do you happen to know how much a building owner might get paid to host an ad like this?

JASPER: I actually don't know...

DIRTY AWESOME: Who do you look up to in the art world? Do you like street art? 

JASPER: I mean, I like everything. I think Banksy is great, super clever. Pretty much most of what I've seen him do anyway. But I like boring fine art too, you know? I like...it seems like every week I discover a new painter and I get obsessed with that painter, you know? I guess like John Singer Sargent I'm a big fan of. Um...Jack Levine. I like some of his paintings. And actually a lot of old ad's too. I love old ad painters. Like professional illustrations from the 60's and 70's.

DIRTY AWESOME: Why do you think it's illegal in some places. For instance, you can't paint ad's on buildings in Bangor, Maine even though they did it in the 20's and 30's in the downtown district. 

JASPER: What do you mean? Like an advertising ban? Wow? I didn't know that. They can't even do hand painted ones? Wow. Interesting. Um, well I think it's a mix of community. If people in the community don't think it's art, I can understand that. I mean advertising is sort of annoying, you know? If you're trying to live your life and someone is constantly imposing on you...but I think hand painting something like this is definitely really cool. It's not just a billboard in my opinion, but I can totally understand if somebody doesn't want to have them.

DIRTY AWESOME: And finally, give us some insider information: Do you think the Bushmills ad you're painting today is targeted at the hipsters of Williamsburg?

JASPER: Haha, it would appear so. I hope it is. This is all over the city actually. It's kind of everywhere.


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