Interview with Jose Di Gregorio and Jared Tharp

Interview with Jose Di Gregorio and Jared Tharp

By Amy Reed

The fullness Di Gregorio lives in his life is evident in his work. He continues to bring our local scene the high energy and camaraderie it needs to thrive. Jared Tharp is an old studio mate and dear friend from Sacramento State days, he is one of my favorite painters and people. “Night” new work by Jose Di Gregorio and Jared Tharp opens Friday, October 4th with a following reception from 6-10pm.

Jose you have been very busy this year, I get the feeling there is much more to come. Please tell us what you have been up to and how this show with Jared Tharp came to be.  

Yes, this year was pretty busy. I feel very fortunate to have participated in some remarkable projects, several of which I was approached without much time to plan. There was the ‘TrA’ installation at the Indianapolis Museum Of Contemporary Art in February, lead art direction for the McKinley Park playground rebuild, the ‘See The Future…’ exhibit with mad-genius Oree Originol at Sol Collective and a group show at Reclamare Gallery in July, the collaboration on the enormous backdrop for the Launch Festival Stage with my incredibly-talented friends Micah Crandall-Bear and Kim Squaglia last month, 
co-chairing the Art Docent program at Theodore Judah Elementary School, the ‘Night’ exhibit with Jared Tharp along with the Ruhstaller beer launch October 4th, and a huge mural which I’m flying out to Indianapolis to paint two days later. I know I’m forgetting some other stuff.
Plain and simple, Jared is incredible. As a person and artist, it’s an honor to know him and exhibit alongside his work. He’s effortless in his process, yet produces the most incredibly dynamic paintings. I look forward to reading about him in the coming years.
 Can you talk about your collaboration with Ruhstaller?

In discussing the collaboration with Ruhstaller proprietor JE Paino and Trisha Rhomberg, I was excited to be designing a bottle that would remain stark in contrast. Black bottle and burlap, white laser-etched text and imagery. I felt that the simple interconnecting circles with celestial undertones would be a good fit. There are several interesting allusions with it. I felt that it strongly conveyed ‘Night’ so that’s what I’m calling it. Night Beer. I chose a California-grown, English-style barley wine. Strong shit.

 What advice would you give to artists interested in entering the local art scene?

Work your ass off, and make the best stuff you can. Be confident in your approach and execution but humble and grateful for opportunities. Don’t slack. Help others. Volunteer your time to projects you believe in. Unfortunately, artists also often get taken advantage of and can rarely get shit in return (the “exposure” pitch, anyone?). Just keep pushing.

What kind of feeling do you get after showing your work to the public?

Mixed. I LOVE that people can recognize my work, whether at McKinley Park or a local gallery. That said, I’ve experienced “traditional” art patrons scoff at my work because it’s not a Sacramento landscape painting or something like that, recently even. Overall though, my most important audience are my family and closest friends. Most are not visual artists, and so there isn’t the over-pontificating critiques that I don’t give two shits about. Just mutual respect and high-fives.

 Does it take some time to get back into the studio after a show?

Nah. I can get right back to it. Helps to mentally plan out future bodies of work so that they can be made tangible when the next show calls.
Jared Tharp
 Tell me about your relationship with painting, you are a great painter, how did that happen?

I don’t actually fully understand my relationship with art to be honest and I don’t know that I ever will. It sometimes seems like I just have a compulsion to make stuff. I just try to paint what I want to see. My Dad is an artist and my mom is a creative person even though she wouldn’t really admit it. They just encouraged me from the beginning.

Are there any surprise elements coming up in this new body of work?

There will be a lot of non-figurative geometric abstraction.

What are you inspired by the most lately?

Working at Short Center, where I teach art to disabled adults. One of my first days working there I asked one of the students what she was thinking about when she painted her abstract watercolor paintings and she just said, “pretty”. I was initially disappointed that she didn’t have some big explanation but I realized that her answer was perfect. There are a lot of truly talented individuals at Short Center and I’m lucky to be around it all the time.

Desperate by Jared Tharp. 2013
RSVP for “Night” Opening Reception Friday, October 4th HERE
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