The Argonaut

Jason Wilsher-Mills
2023

Emotion: Joy and rebellion

The Argonaut is the grand installation by English artist Jason Wilsher-Mills, depicting a person with disabilities lying down like a vibrant Gulliver that viewers can traverse. Spectators have the opportunity to enter a lively world richly adorned with faces and other representations of the disabled communities with whom the artist has collaborated over the years. The title is inspired by its ancient Greek namesake, who sought the bravest Greek heroes to join him on his epic journey. Similarly, Wilsher-Mills has discovered new heroes within the disabled communities he worked with throughout his journey in Britain. The creation of this imposing work draws inspiration from the artist’s experiences growing up in northern England, his love for British children’s comics, 1970s television programs, and the psychedelic décor that adorned his childhood home. The result is a rich tapestry of childhood memories, a love for popular culture, disability activism, and humour. Joy and rebellion are the two emotions the artist has chosen to associate with this work: spectators are captivated by the colours and images covering the character, almost provocatively carrying messages of activism. According to the artist, the world can be changed, one mad artwork at a time.

 

Biography

Initially rooted in traditional painting within the realm of Fine Art, Jason’s journey recently took a digital twist, courtesy of modern tools like the iPad and Wacom tablets. These devices, marked by convenience and accessibility, empowered him to create intricate, large-scale works despite the physical challenges presented by his disability. The transition from traditional to digital initially stirred Jason’s artistic conscience, challenging his classical training. However, in recent years, he has wholeheartedly “embraced the pixel”, expanding his portfolio to encompass interactive sculptures, 3D prints, lightboxes, and augmented reality experiences. Beyond his personal artistry, Jason actively engages in community projects, collaborating with diverse individuals. In 2020, he earned the prestigious Adam Reynolds Award from SHAPE Arts, leading to a commission for an interactive sculpture at the Folkestone Triennial, set to be unveiled in September 2021, marking a pivotal moment in his career.

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