Vincent Jackson in the CE studio

Vincent Jackson interviewed for Ace Hotel series Inside Job

Posted on March 14, 2019

Recently, longtime CE artist Vincent Jackson was interviewed by LAND Gallery's Sophia Cosmadopoulos (@summertimegallery & @sophiacosmo on Instagram) for the Ace Hotel blog series Inside Job. Check out the transcript from the interview below and see the full feature and interview here, titled "Nonsense Don't Pay My Bills."

Vincent Jackson: Let’s get started.

Sophia Cosmadopoulos: Let’s! Would you begin by introducing yourself?

VJ: My name is Vincent Jackson. I have been here for a long time. And, I love working here at Creativity Explored. I have accomplished my thing of being a renowned artist and I have worked with people putting my things on their products. I worked with developers when they did low-income housing for people and they wanted my work inside their new building. So, therefore, it doesn’t matter to me, as long as people will like what I do. See, I know I brought power to this place. And see, some of them don’t get it. I have gotten it already. I have been on KBLX, I know the station manager of KBLX. Yeah, I know her and she knows me. So, therefore, I have talked up about this program on that radio program. Paul went down there with me and it was a wonderful experience. But, I would love to do it again because I think I brought a lot of power into this program, into this community. It’s because everybody knows who I am, even little kids know who I am if they walk in here. So basically, it’s all about me pushing. I push myself. And like I said, I really brought magic to this program. And I have introduced myself to people that are graphic artists, whoever came in my path. A lot of people have bought my work and they think it’s good.

SC: What an introduction! I love your work, can you tell me more about it?

VJ: My artwork is… I think it’s unique and it says something. It says a whole lot. It says a whole lot. Basically, I am well-known for my faces. I have done pastels and I have sold them like hotcakes. I’ve done all kinds of media. I’ve done collage, tissue paper, drawings on wood with black ink. I’ve done a lot of things inside this studio. Basically, I’m here to change lives with whatever I do. Well basically I have done big paintings, I have done wood sculpture. I am a renowned artist, I don’t take it lightly, I take it strongly, and if they don’t like it, get somewhere and hush! Those old folks say, “Get somewhere and hush!”

SC: And what are some of your favorite projects you have worked on?

VJ: I have excelled with CB2 stores, they used to look at my work and put things on there. I did a bag, I did a lot of things with business people. And like I said, I am not a pushy artist. I present the stuff, if you don’t like it, that’s okay with me. But I’m not gonna let nobody change my ideas when I wanna do something inside of here. Nobody. It’s just that, I feel that I deserve respect in here for being a renowned artist. I think I deserve it because I’m always doing stuff. I’m always doing stuff to make my money and leave it be. I have been in a lot of newspapers, I have been on Channel 9, I have been on a lot of stuff. So therefore, I know that what I do is very important to me. I don’t have time for no joking. And I know a lot of people have bought my work. And actually I have people that come in here and buy things over and over again.

SC: You have returning customers?

VJ: Yeah. And people have had my work in their house since the 60s and the 80s and the 90s so it doesn’t matter what you put together. If you know it’s something, that’s okay. Never mind what. I know my work has been all over the world. But basically, I think I am sort of like an art psychologist. We’re here to change lives, we’re not here to change nonsense. Nonsense don’t pay my bills. You know, of course it doesn’t. And I don’t have time for their nitpicking. Look, I know what I’m about. And a lot of people have exhibited my stuff in galleries and I’ve had my stuff in high-class galleries here in San Francisco. You know, most of my buyers have become my friends. If they move away, they’ll come back. What I’m just saying, it’s not about how you put stuff together. It’s about how you see things. And you know, jealousy is not in my blood. You know, if they don’t like it, they don’t have to like it. I figured that if it’s important to you, it’s okay.

SC: Can you talk about the inspiration for your artwork?

VJ: Well, the inspiration for my artwork just comes automatically. You know, if they see me do something, they say, “Go ahead, Vincent, do it. Have a fit!” And I tell ‘em, “Uh huh, I’m gonna have a fit.” But, it behooves me that I know what I’m about. I’m not about anything else, but just that. See, you know, I have done a lot of things on all kinds of stuff. And people have bought it. See, it’s from the book. It’s not from the computer. I don’t go to the computer. It’s because the computer ain’t for me. I think when you have a thought patterning, you create something because you wanted to create it, not because they don’t like it. And like I said, if a person come in and see that painting up there for $750 and wants to buy it, they can have it. See, I don’t hold on to my art. Uh uh, I don’t hold on to it.

SC: Do you feel good when it sells?

VJ: Yeah. I feel good that, you know, when I make my money here, it’s all about me making my money. And what do I do with it? They don’t care. And basically, I feel that if you’re going to be a creative person and a confident artist, you just have to stick to that. And because, I don’t let nobody in here tell me my stuff ain’t worth it. Because people have bought silly things outta here of mine.

SC: Really, ha! Like what?

VJ: Whatever it is. But, it’s just that I think I have brought unity to this community.

SC: You think so?

VJ: I know so. It’s not because of this, it’s not because of that. I have worked with fabric before. But I do it in my own way. I don’t copy off of nothing. It’s because, copying is not good for me. And I feel that what I do and sell, it goes. If someone from another country comes in and says, “Ooh, we’ve seen your work in somebody else’s house.” I go, “Okay.” But basically, I know that I have worked hard to get where I have gotten. And I am not gonna listen to all the roo-ha and ti-ha and all that in here. And it’s because that’s not what it’s about. See, I don’t let them think they’re better than me. I have to tell ‘em, “No, no, let’s chop that up right now.” You just have to do what you do. Do you. And leave me alone. Because I don’t have time for your blah blah blah, blah blah blah. I know better. And basically, it’s all about me knowing my destiny of what I do. And I have had people come and have done exhibits in their spaces of my stuff down through the years and I feel that’s acceptable. And these teachers, I like to buy ‘em little gifts because they’ve done so much with me. It’s all about perseverance. And I have done a lot of that. I am gonna continue to do that. I ain’t gonna let nothing turn me around. And it ain’t about what you think, it’s about what I think. Because, you know, I don’t mind stepping on a few toes in here, I don’t mind stepping on some toes. But basically, I just tell it like it is. If you don’t like it, you think about it. And like I say, I do what I want with it. And if I feel like I wanna do something else, I do it. But basically, this is a high-class art school to me.

SC: Yes, I agree, Creativity Explored is one of my favorite studios. Can you describe the program a bit?

VJ: It’s not one of them rinky-dink ones Downtown where they rip you off, and tell you they’re gonna place you in an art job. Oh no, back it up. It’s time for me to change some things. And I know it’s good for me to get up, to get ideas from the teachers. And, it’s okay for me to cut a piece of paper and draw on top of it and make a shape and then think about what Imma do with it. So basically, I am a self-motivated artist. I basically think about what Imma do, and then do it. And if I don’t want to do it, leave it alone. Because they give us options to do when they present something to us.

SC: How long have you been coming to this studio? 

VJ: A long time.

SC: Yes. You were here when I first volunteered in 2005. 

VJ: Yeah, because see, I’m about 60, I’m gonna be telling on myself, that’s okay. But I will be 90 my next birthday. 

SC: What? You don’t look 90.

VJ: 70.

SC: You’re gonna be 70? No way!

VJ: I’m 60. Of course. Child! Child, don’t inch my age. But anyway, like I say, it’s all about perseverance. People have donated a lot of fabric, a lot of this, and then they’ll put it in front of me, and I say, “Ooh I know what Imma do with this.” And I start doing it.

SC: Can you tell me about your upcoming show “Five and Two Others” curated by Mildred Howard? Are you excited to be showing your work?

VJ: It’s going to be an exciting show I think. It’s gonna be two other artists from across the Bay, and plus five other artists from here. I think the Mildred Howard show is gonna be a beautiful show. I’m very excited about being in it. She took her time to come and select some of this art. I’m excited about this show. I feel that it will be a rude awakening for this community and everybody that went to art school. This is what I’m about. We’re here to change lives. I’m looking forward to having this show with her. If you can’t pull out your wallet, keep it in there and go!

SC: Amazing Vincent, thank you so much for this interview!


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