WORDS: SEAN HUBBARD
Jack Rogers is not a classically inspired artist, taking his cues not from the classics of Van Gough or Picasso, but instead charting his inspiration to the album cover of ‘Green Day’s’ all time classic Dookie, which has been well chronicled as an entry point to punk music since its release a quarter of a century ago in 1994, shaking the whole world.
Despite the separation of music and art in recent years, Jack has instead stayed firm, using the example of album covers medium as a catalyst for his work, having produced several pieces for the more ‘artistically inspired’ bands in the UK scene, including ‘Holding Absence,’ and ‘Delaire The Liar.’ As well as citing Green Day’s breakout record as his inspiration for getting into art, he also quotes it as “my gateway band into the whole east bay punk and hardcore scene where I discovered bands like Operation Ivy, Dead Kennedy’s etc” (sic), and Rogers’ hardcore roots are not far forgotten from his artistic work, with a piece for ‘Sanction’ uploaded six weeks ago – just before the release of their acclaimed album ‘Broken in Refraction’ with the caption “Poisoned by the constant drowning of the conscious mind, an empty thought dragging on for the sake of living” which completely resonates with the Long Island band’s nihilistic lyrics.
“People have this fucked up idea in their heads that you’re not working unless you’re putting in manual labour”.
Having discovered the world of art through music Jack cites acclaimed album cover work artists Winston Smith and Raymond Pettibon who worked on the art for the ‘Dead Kennedys’ and ‘Black Flag’ respectively as his major inspirations, as well as musicians who also dabble in creating artwork such as Jacob Bannon from ‘Converge,’ Nick Steinhardt from ‘Touché Amoré,’ Alex Henery from ‘Basement’ as well as John McCarthy and David Kelling from ‘Culture Abuse,’ who have all worked on the artwork for their own albums, as well as expanding into other pieces.
The political ethos of hardcore was not lost on Rogers either, and the traditionally left-wing leaning movement obviously having left its mark on him, with a recent piece on Instagram criticising the controversial new British Prime Minister – the Eton and Oxford educated Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, or to use his adopted populist persona that was highlighted throughout his campaign as a ‘man of the people:’ Boris Johnson, arguably the most controversial Premier since Thatcher. Jack Rogers’ piece describes the current British leader as a “drug taking, racist pig, sexist, lying homophobe,” and quite obviously takes its inspiration from the resistance art against Donald Trump, even highlighting the same hairstyles and colour that they share, as well as their common tendencies to be supported by modern Nazis and white nationalists. Rogers’ used art to express his political opinions as in his own words he has “always been very bad at explaining myself and art or music really helps me focus on the message I’m trying to get across without tripping over my words and not making the point I set out to make.”
“Art shouldn’t be this scary, fancy thing that’s for the elite. It should be an outlet anyone can do and enjoy”.
His ‘stage name’ of “GetARealJobKid” is also a criticism of those who flippantly dismiss the creative industries as a fake profession, saying himself that “People have this fucked up idea in their heads that you’re not working unless you’re putting in manual labour, leaving the house or going to an office and it sucks so much, and people wonder why depression and anxiety is such a common problem amongst creatives.” As well as describing his own reasoning behind the choice as “The whole reason behind the name was that I have felt and still feel all of those pressures and it was kind of a sarcastic fuck you to anyone that’s made me feel like that.” Using the criticism levelled against himself as a stage name is a damming condemnation of those who still consume his artwork, and that of other artists and musicians, and yet still describe a creative profession as ‘not a real job’ – as who would create the art for those in ‘real jobs’ to consume if not for those creatives?
As a huge part of the DIY ethos of sustainability Jack attempts to recycle his paper cuttings into new concepts and use recycled materials as much as possible, which coincides with his perception of activism and punk in art, as he views the idea of activist art as having “always been relevant” but argues that social media has made it much easier for these viewpoints to resonate with a much larger audience, and has served to connect a bigger group of activists with others who share their views.
His biggest ideal as an artist is the fact that “anyone can do it.” Disproving the ideal that art is for aristocrats by saying “Art shouldn’t be this scary, fancy thing that’s for the elite. It should be an outlet anyone can do and enjoy.” This, if nothing else completely proves Jack’s DIY credentials, and the compatibility of art with the DIY punk scene, as they have both never been about complete artistic perfection, but rather the idea of an outlet for emotional release that isn’t available elsewhere.