Artist Jake Fischer returns to Arizona after painting the town in NYC.
Jake Fischer is that rarest of things: A visual artist whose career took off right out of college.
Fischer, whose oil-on-laminated plywood paintings have shown in galleries around the world, had barely completed his master of fine arts degree at Arizona State University in 2013 before local galleries began lining up to show his work. He left for Manhattan soon after, where he was represented by Island Weiss Gallery. His dark, layered canvases capture intimate nighttime cityscapes – suburban porches; tract homes in shadow; tall buildings illuminated from within – and now that he’s back in Arizona, much of his newest work depicts local streetscapes.
“Art was the thing I was good at in grade school,” he says. “It was always my go-to. When I was considering what to do for a living, it always went back to art and drawing.”
Fischer tried studying architecture at ASU. “I lasted a semester before I threw caution to the wind and switched to an art degree. I got my undergraduate degree in drawing and my MFA in drawing and painting.”
After a couple of years in New York, Fischer has returned to Arizona, where he’s teaching art at a college-prep school in Flagstaff. He’s represented by Downtown Phoenix’s Bentley Gallery; his new exhibition there is a series of portraits of windows that’s on display through June 10.
“I use an implied narrative, with spaces people can relate to,” says Fischer, who grew up in Ahwatukee. “Windows can be literal or metaphorical, they can be flat glass that reflects light, or they can be an opening into what’s in the room beyond them.”
When he’s teaching, Fischer asks his students not to focus on how others will view the art they’re creating.
“I want them to be more aware of why they’re making art, of taking experiences they’ve had and expressing them visually,” he says. “I don’t want them thinking about skill, or whether being good at drawing or painting will make them successful. That’s not what making art should be about.”