Jaybo Monk, "Dream Machines" Solo Show at Soze Gallery Los Angeles

Jaybo Monk has always been a good friend of mine. It’s always a pleasure having him around; to witness his process while he works with much deeper introspection is remarkable.

It’s been five years (or so) since he shared his story with DOZE. At a young age, he ran away from his family and decided to forget everything and start off anew. He had a tough life growing up, and yet he has a positive way of looking at it. Through those experiences, Jaybo was able to create artworks that submerges one into his dreams — his thoughts.

Today, he will open a solo exhibition with Soze Gallery called, “Dream Machines.” Here, you’ll see a piece called “Bass Dream” where he created this visual pun of a motorized horse-ride familiar to our childhood (usually found outside grocery stores; Tip: Please bring a quarter with you) where a drum set was retrofitted to it. Another object that he played with was a hi-hat stand that he then also retrofit two real hats together to replace the cymbals. Jaybo has an endless visual inventory and there’s a charm to the simplicity of things he manifest.

Jaybo has a way of provoking his audience to perceive and think about the relationship of people between objects to become observers of the visual world. Read our short interview with him to find out more about his exhibition and what keeps him busy lately.

Interview and photos by Mark Changco.
Art by Jaybo Monk.

Hi-Hat (Close up)

Tell me about Dream Machines. What is it about?

Well dream machines are actually a reflection on reality. As a child, I remember to enjoy the kiddie rides out of the grocery store. I was sitting on it believing all kinds of adventures I could came up with. I used them to escape the farm routine so bad sometimes that I was overdoing it. However, surely these rides triggered my imagination. I wanted Dream Machines to rediscover that genuine naive feelings of it. The more I think I recognize the gap between reality and my dream world, the more I thought about it becoming clear that it is more about reality than the dream. Then, I understand that the two were not oppositional as I thought they were. When I was riding a kiddie ride, I really believed I was riding a horse. I try to reload our visions to get it back to the primary vision on things. I am attempting to find innocence again, in a world where today nothing is harder to find than the truth. Reality is desired more specifically ‘obscene enjoyment’. This enjoyment is sublimely terrifying affair. It is the lethal pleasure of what we could call masochism, in which we close the way to accept the unknown rather than to unleash the curiosity needed to evolve. The quest of Dream Machines is not to reproduce reality but to create a reality of the same intensity.

I’ve seen some pieces that you show in your Instagram feed as teasers for your show. Words like “shoot”, “help”, “think”,” who ride” are being conveyed through the paintings in red bold capitalized letters. Can you tell me more about these messages?

These posts are my process and not the finished pieces which I keep secret until the last moment. You are right! Some words are jumping into the composition. They are part of the cast inside these “moments”. I mean moments like the time I work on one canvas, complete or incomplete like passing identities, moments of choices. They are traces of the raw material of my past and present which in my eyes were the beginning of a dream landscape. Because of the juxtaposition of this impulses, you are triggering the idea of reality that is unique for each one of us. So it means reality is actually born in fiction. Words works the same way they are a symbolistic path between visuality and reflection. These words as well are born in fiction. The boundary and contrast of visual, understandable and the abstract in the paintings are the ingredients to create a dialogue with the viewer, false hint or true emotion. It is not my job to give an answer but for you to find one with your perception.


“The quest of Dream Machines is not to reproduce reality but to create a reality of the same intensity.”

What about the work you’ve been making in nature lately?

Almost everyday, since nine years, I am walking my dog in the park behind my house. Since nine years, I am intervening in it. The street always has been and the forest as well, places where I have evolved to be what I am now; in a way it is my version of graffiti. Far from fame, far from walls. More like a zen ritual that I need to do. The quest is to go with nothing in your hands but finding visual haikus in the park. Some are good, some are bad but these installations have to be made; I need them to go on. The ephemeral aspect dictate my relationship to death and nature. It is something I will continue to do until my end. I planned to print some of the photos of it for a photo show one day.

What do you love about Los Angeles? Are you going to show something different for this exhibition?

LA always has been good to me. From the first time where Kofie and Poesia introduced me to Toowee. I feel well received. If this constellation were happening on the north pole, then I will always go back there. Towns are nothing but the people you find in it. In this show, as in other shows, I always go with an idea without thinking where this will take me. The process will always be what I am interested in. The final pieces are the end of my fun, so overtime I start a new show I am tending to provoke the accidents which are so important to me. The difference this time is maybe I add movements in some of the sculpture I plan to show. Here again, I don’t know if I will succeed to realize the idea, the vision or the dream which came out of my nights.

What piece from this show are you the most excited about and why?

The one that I didn’t made in the show. As I said, my purpose is the process from idea to realization. The next adventure is the one I seek most therefore all incomplete ideas are the ones I am looking up to.

“Dream Machines” will have an opening reception today, April 22, 2017 at 6-9PM. And the show will run ’til the 20th of May.

To find out more about available works contact: toowee@sozegallery.com

Soze Gallery
935 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046
+1 (212) 244-7415


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