Emerg­ing Tal­ent

It took be­ing thrown out of busi­ness stud­ies and i nto an art class for him to fi nd his call­ing, but now 22- year- old Auck­land artist Jake Feast’s ‘science ex­per­i­ment’ resin pieces are tak­ing off.

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Jake Feast

To be good with resin is prob­lem There’s so many is­sues that can I ac­tu­ally think the big­gest art to it is hav­ing ev­ery­thing lit­er­ally the

In his own words, Jake Feast can’t paint a pretty pic­ture to save him­self, but he can do some pretty in­cred­i­ble things when given a blank can­vas, some chem­i­cals and spray paint.

The up-and-com­ing artist makes resin pieces that are grow­ing in pro­file on­line and in gal­leries, but if it wasn’t for be­ing a trou­ble­some stu­dent, Feast may not have ended up in art at all.

Af­ter be­ing kicked out of busi­ness stud­ies at Ros­mini Col­lege, Feast ended up be­ing placed in an art class and dis­cov­ered he had nat­u­ral tal­ent.

Feast worked in the film in­dus­try af­ter col­lege, and was in­spired to pick up a paint­brush again af­ter be­ing ex­posed to dif­fer­ent artists, cre­atives and sources for props and ma­te­ri­als.

He started off with ex­per­i­ment­ing with ev­ery­thing from acrylics to oils, but found his pa­tience wore thin when try­ing to paint a de­tailed por­trait.

Then one day, a friend asked if Feast could do a resin piece for him, though the process is no­to­ri­ously dif­fi­cult to mas­ter.

“I played around and it came out okay,” he laughs. “But from then on, I was hooked on resin.”

In 2017, he de­cided he wanted to take a chance and have a crack at the full-time artist hus­tle.

Feast uses spray paint, chem­i­cals and resin to form his swirling cre­ations, which can re­sem­ble an al­ter­nate uni­verse (or hal­lu­ci­na­tions on an acid trip) to the naked eye.

The process is as fol­lows: when ace­tone or al­co­hol is mixed with resin in a cup, a chem­i­cal re­ac­tion oc­curs, mak­ing the resin separate. Feast then pours the thick liq­uid onto a can­vas and uses a hairdryer to spread it, mak­ing a rip­ple ef­fect.

From there, he puts a clear coat of resin over­top, lets it dry overnight, and then re­peats the mix­ing and pour­ing process with resin and dif­fer­ent coloured paints. The fi­nal step is sand­ing down the edges, as well as us­ing a flamethrower to get rid of the bub­bles.

The fin­ished pieces have a 3D, depth-of-field ef­fect due to the dif­fer­ent lay­ers of paint.

Feast says the un­pre­dictable, high­en­ergy na­ture of resin art works well with his per­son­al­ity.

While he can work to colour re­quests, he says he only con­trols about 90 per­cent of the art­work. The rest is fluid, ab­stract and un­pre­dictable.

What ac­tu­ally goes into the over­all con­coc­tion is a bit like a science ex­per­i­ment. Feast says some of his more un­usual in­gre­di­ents in the past have in­cluded oil, food colour­ing and even fly spray.

In one mem­o­rable mo­ment, he al­most set his Dad’s en­tire house on fire when a whole art piece went up in flames due to the ace­tone, and it quickly spread to the walls. “It was pretty hec­tic,” Feast says. Now, he’s set­tled on a for­mula he thinks works best (and is less lifethreat­en­ing) but this com­pli­cated process is part of the rea­son he thinks resin art

isn’t that com­mon­place in New Zealand.

“There is such a process to it, half of it is pre­par­ing for it ver­sus ac­tu­ally pour­ing the paint,” Feast says.

“To be good with resin is prob­lemshoot­ing it. There’s so many is­sues that can hap­pen. I ac­tu­ally think the big­gest art to it is hav­ing ev­ery­thing level. That’s lit­er­ally the se­cret. The can­vas has to to­tally level, and also some­times the resin sticks to the ta­ble un­der­neath so you have to have lit­tle things sit­ting un­der the can­vas [to prop it up].”

Another prob­lem is bugs tend to get stuck in the art pieces while they’re dry­ing, which ex­plains the need for a mos­quito net.

Feast knows of about three other people do­ing resin art here, but says it’s more pop­u­lar over­seas in Aus­tralia and Canada.

“I just don’t think it’s hit here and I don’t think many people have dis­cov­ered it. A lot of people tell me they’ve never seen it be­fore and I think that’s what a lot of my re­cent suc­cesses have been from, be­cause in New Zealand, it’s quite rare.”

A year or so in, Feast has al­ready been in one solo show and two group shows. He’s also done a live paint­ing for Lu­l­ule­mon dur­ing one of its yoga ses­sions, which is now fea­tured in one of its stores.

How­ever, he is lim­ited by the con­straints of resin – such as his can­vas need­ing to stay flat and level – so the usual com­mer­cial route of fea­ture walls is out of the ques­tion.

For now, Feast says he’s pur­su­ing the fine art side of things by sell­ing his work via gal­leries and pri­vate sales.

But he says he’s just grate­ful he now has the time to work on his craft all day and night.

“I’ve been re­ally lucky, and I don’t even know how I’ve got so lucky to be per­fectly hon­est. But yeah, there are mo­ments where you’re think­ing, ‘holy shit, how am I go­ing to pay for rent?’ But it’s all kind of worth it in the end – I don’t have an alarm any day of the week.”

Catch Feast’s up­com­ing show, ‘In our eyes’, at Auck­land’s All­press Stu­dio from June 10 to 18.

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