Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am an artist. I used to be a geologist. I have been living in Houston for about two years. I make art about what it’s like to be a human. I want to know how we think, how we change our environments, what is really the difference between humans and not-humans and what does it mean to die.
What do you like to make?
I guess most generally I like to make things I have never seen before and things that surprise me. I like am always interested in learning a new tool, new process, or inventing my own.
Why do you make work at TXRX?
TXRX really allows me to expand the possibilities of my work by having access to a large variety of tools, processes and the people who can help me use them. Whenever I learn a new tool, it becomes integrated into how I approach problem solving while making art. I am also interested in machines. How humans use them, how an idea is transformed into reality with tools and machines and how that process fails, how machines fail in general and the surprising forms that sometimes result, and how the machines humans make tells us something about how humans work. Just being there, seeing what other people are doing and listening and having conversations with people is also really inspirational. One example what when I was taking the vertical mill class, I have never been exposed to the precise metrology involved in metal machining. I did not appreciate how elastic and deformable metal was on this precise scale. It was kind of a big revelation to me, things like steel seem to be so permanent and strong on the scale of the human body and senses, but on the minute scaling of precision machining metal becomes this whole other deformable and elastic solid.
What is your favorite equipment to use at TXRX Labs?
Right now it’s the laser cutters. I like the laser cutters for the same reason I like photography. The magic that happens when electromagnetic radiation is “captured” on a surface. There is just so much possibility with the laser cutter, this ability to use light (infrared light anyway) in this totally new way has really changed the art that I am making. I feel like the space open to make fine art with this machine is so wide open right now. I really could not do this work anywhere else.
Using the cutters has actually gotten me to learn some basic computer programming, which I really don’t have much of an affinity for. The problem for me is that I get totally enamored with a process, in this case etching things with the laser. The problem is what do I make? There has to be some meaningful and interesting feedback between the process and the output. In other words, there has to be a reason for me to use the laser cutter, there has to be a reason that this thing I made is made with a laser and on a machine. That reason has nothing to do with functionality. I am not interested in using a specific tool to save time, for precision or even for purely aesthetic reasons. So, in trying to figure out something meaningful to make I started using Processing to create these randomly generated images, the more I am learning the more complicated the images and the code. So, this whole desire to use these tools in a new way is pushing me to learn other skills. My conceptual reasoning for the work I am making is all still pretty hazy, there are some interesting larger scale patterns that arise when random inputs are limited by physical processes. Going back to light and seeing,I am making analogies between these mechanical processes and how humans obtain and process visual data to “see” and then make patterns. Machines being a really great way to simplify the human mind.
What artists/makers are currently inspiring you?
Two people who really inspired that last point, using machines to simplify or distil the human mind, are Jean Tinguely and Isaac Asimov. TXRX people would really like Tinguely, he was a Swiss artist who builds these amazing kinetic artworks. I am currently trying to make some drawing machines of my own, so I have been looking at a lot of artists who use those.
Where are your favorite places in Houston?
Walking around huge live oaks, wondering around the tunnels downtown, the various coffee shops in Montrose. I also like the Houston Museum of Fine Art and the Menil.
What are you excited about?
Right now, mostly robots, lasers and robots that shoot lasers.
Where can we find your work?
www.davidjanesko.com I am on instagram at @djanesko
Also, I’ll have some work up [along with Bill Daniel] at the Brandon Gallery, next to Cafe Brasil in Montrose - December 16th to January 21st.