Artist Of The Week : Jason Kattenhorn

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Our chosen artist this week is 27 year old Jason Kattenhorn, who is based in Oxfordshire. Editor of Sassy + Sassify zines, Angela Lansbury fanatic and avid people watcher, we caught up with 'Black Eyed Jack' himself.

For those who don't know, can you tell us a bit about who you are and the work you do?

My name is Jason, AKA Tales of Black Eyed Jack. I gave up art many years ago and went to uni. My degree is in Policing and Criminal Investigation, but after graduating I felt like I was missing out so started a blog about my art. I started to get commissions and have been slowly building up my illustrative empire. My work is a mix of oddball portraits and nostalgic illustrations, all thrown together to create a bewildering sight. I love vivid colours and the occasional zombie.

What inspires you and the work you create?

Instagram is a great source of inspiration as there are so many people out there doing similar things to you. I love being part of a society that pioneers creativity and embraces lowbrow art alongside fine art.

How did Sassy zine start? And why has the name now changed to Sassify?

Sassy/Sassify zine came about because I was getting rejected by a lot of other magazines and zines and I thought "Sod it, I'll make my own." I knew I wanted to curate something that showcased my work as well as other artists; I just did not know what direction to go in. So I sat down with some friends and we brainstormed ideas, and what came to fruition is an illustrative zine exploring the word sassy. Sassy and Sassify are one in the same, I had a name change to avoid confusion with previous publications with the same name.

Can you give us an insight into what's between the pages of Sassify?

Sassify has a lot of hidden meaning, I want everyone who looks at the zine to go away feeing empowered and inspired by what they have seen, and to do what ever it is they dream of. We have talented but maybe not so well known artists sitting side by side with some really successful artists, all with one vision to bring the meaning of sass to an A5 page. Read Sassify and go away feeling endowed with the power to make a difference and feel creatively important.

What are your favourite subjects to draw, and why?

I love to draw people; I am definitely a people watcher (not in a creepy way.) I have found my work is getting a bit weirder and saucier over the past few months. I like the idea of juxtaposing something weird in a normal situation. For instance, at the moment I am hooked on drawing muscly men and women in dominatrix gear.

How did you move into making Angela Lansbury inspired pins?

I was obsessed with Murder She Wrote as a kid, and Angela Lansbury has left ephemera legacy in my mind since then. I initially drew Jessica Fletcher wielding a chainsaw but it did not translate into a pin very well. I played around with a few concepts, and then Murder She Won't was born. I love a bit of nostalgia and everyone seems to be very drawn to a classic. JB Fletcher forever!

Who are some of your favourite artists?

The dominatrix pins-ups of John Willie are mind blowing given the time they were created. I love an underdog and these guys and girls in the 50's were creating this mad sexual imagery, even though it could get them arrested.

What advice would you give to those looking to start a zine?

Just go for it, take whatever inspires you and turn it into a visual extravaganza. I work a full time job, as well as freelancing and creating a zine, so as long as you have the drive and determination to do it, follow your dream. It does not have to be printed professionally, hell make it at home, as long as you feel creatively challenged and feel like you have something to say, do it.

I love your Barb's Revenge prints - do you believe #JusticeForBarb will come in season two of Stranger Things?

I really hope so! Barb was such an underrated character, and all she did was look out for her friend, whilst looking super fly. Maybe the creators could have a flashback sequence somehow. Fingers crossed.

Where did the name Tales Of Black Eyed Jack come from?

I had this really awesome t-shirt as a kid with a pirate on it called Black Eyed Jack. I adopted the name years ago for a blog I wrote and it stuck. I thought it would make me sound cool, but I think it just causes confusion, as my actual name is Jason.

Women feature quite heavily in your work - do you think they embody the idea of 'sass' more than men?

No way, sass is universal. This probably relates to the hidden meaning behind my zine again, as Sassiness tends to have connotations of femininity. For me sass can be doing something well, being a bit cheeky and just following your dreams. Masculinity and femininity are just words banded about nonchalantly sometimes, embrace who you are and be awesome.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I am in the process of pulling together Sassify volume #3; I have been in talks with fabulous Baddie Winkle's team, so hopefully I will have a juicy interview for you all to read in the next issue. It will of course be filled with sassy illustrations from artists all around the globe. I would also love to do some more commercial work for magazines, so anyone out there who wants some sassitude, do hit me up.

Finally, if you could collaborate with any artist alive or dead who would it be?

I would love to have an artistic ménage à trois with myself, and Angel Rose who is a very underrated and a wonderfully talented video and performance artist. And maybe Salvador Dali, can you imagine the chaos we three could create?

You can check out more of Jason's work here and follow him here. Interview by Beccy Hill.