I have been repurposing vinyl billboards to create work since 2012. Trained as a painter, my interest in this new medium began with a curiosity to uncover what became of graffiti-tagged billboards once they were deemed ruined by advertisers. I tracked down a source of these discarded billboards and acquired an inventory that has since become the medium used to create numerous series, varying from large-scale wall pieces to free-standing sculpture and sight-specific installation. Two-dimensional works have given way to increasingly voluminous objects in recent bodies of work like Mappings in which modular sections of vinyl sprawl across expansive spaces. Overall, my constructivist methodology has become intwined with a painterly approach with color and form in mind. My ever-evolving approach to creating is complimented by the medium’s versatility, allowing me to investigate numerous ideas ranging from
My newest works address recycling on a higher level. They are the antithesis of how all matter can and usually will reconfigure itself given enough time. The irony is this usually happens at a lower level, ground level to be precise. I have been strongly influenced by mycology in the structuring of these pieces. Whereas in the past, complete abstraction has played a big part in the my work, but now that I have created a visual substrate that is all my own I feel comfortable in admitting to paying homage to the shape of things with the most subtle nod to representational work. I am intrigued by the complexity of fungal communities that break down dead wood, an extremely resilient form of matter, into a life-giving humus to become something else. In the scheme of things I am pretty sure no human has or ever will do as much for the planet as the lowly mushroom. According to scientists, when the permafrost melts and the dead material that has laid dormant for thousands of years begins to decompose with the help of mushrooms, more carbon monoxide will be released than human have produced in their entire existence on this planet. I love how something so quiet and small can make such a raucous species seem so insignificant.
We are grains of sand trying to hold back the ocean.
I am intrigued by mycology: something growing from something.
Jason Willaford received his BFA from Florida State University where he studied under Jim Roche and Color Field painter Trevor Bell. After years as an encaustic painter in Marfa, Texas, he shifted his focus to vinyl-based constructions, which were exhibited in a solo exhibition at Oklahoma Contemporary in 2014. In the summer of 2015, Willaford participated in a residency at the former home and studio of Elaine de Kooning in East Hampton, NY and presented the resulting body of work in a solo show at Dallas Contemporary that fall. Willaford’s work can be found in over 200 private and the public collections of Bloomingdales, Toyota, Neiman Marcus, among others.