Mini Interview: Jeremy Bailey


Jeremy Bailey is a video and performance artist.

What got you started?

I’m pretty sure my mom and dad got me started as an artist. My mom used to buy these huge industrial rolls of paper and just unfurl them down the hallway for us to draw on. When I was 6 or 7 my dad brought home a Mac SE for me to use for the sole purpose of creativity and experimentation and it wasn’t long before I was making animations and hacking together games in Hypercard with my brother.

I didn’t consider being a “real” artist until college. In a ridiculous effort to prove I was more than a guy who could draw well, I chose not to take any art classes – I was also really resentful that I didn’t get into film school. That lasted about a year, until I met Colin Campbell, a video performance artist teaching an video art seminar I decided to take. He opened my eyes to a whole new way of making art that was funny and entertaining and that I had never imagined possible. I never looked back!

How do you know when something you are working on is finished?

I don’t really. I just accept it. Tom Sherman, my advisor in grad school, once asked me “why go beyond the sketch Jeremy?”. If you think of your work as a sketch then you can easily move on to the next thing without feeling like you’ve left anything unfinished.

When do you like to use chance or random processes?

I use chance constantly. I record all my work live inside max and improvise most of my script off loose notes. The failures are often the best (and funniest) parts. One good example is this older work I used to perform called VideoPaint 3.0, where I painted these improvised bob ross like narratives using my head movements and the sound of my voice. I programmed this suicide bomb to appear randomly during the performance that would destroy my work – I hated seeing that bomb! I actually had to create a feature that allowed me to diffuse by humming in a specific tone. It was very stressful but hilarious when it happened. FYI you can see it happen at 7:10 in this clip

What’s something that you would like to be able to do with technology in your work but you can’t at the moment?

I wish there was a device that everyone in the world was required to wear by law that would allow us all to see each other in augmented reality. Right now I can perform with all my software augmentations via skype or other streaming platforms, but when I go out into the real world I’m completely naked. I’m hopeful with stuff like meta spaceglasses on the horizon it’s only a matter of time before we can ditch our phones and start building a world of software into our identities and architecture.

What inspires you?

Problems. The world is full of them, and I’m on a mission to solve them one at a time using technology in the most ridiculous ways possible.

What is the most difficult obstacle you need to overcome in order to do your thing?

I have none. Historically speaking I am the obstacle to others doing their thing. I’m a white man of privilege living in the west using technology and the internet to reach thousands of people every week. It’s my life’s mission to empower others to do their thing by destroying myself.

Jeremy’s website