Speaking to Brooklyn-based JK5 is like catching up with an old friend, or even a favorite tattoo artist. Truth be told, there's a good chance he might be both.
For years, Joseph Ari Aloi has worked with brands like NIKE, Kidrobot, Mishka, Converse, Saks 5th Avenue, Barneys, and more. And when he's not tattooing just about everyone in NYC, JK5 is developing his media franchise based on his Flowbot toys, finalizing a new book release, prepping for an upcoming exhibition, and kicking ass at raising a family.
We recently caught up with JK5 to talk about his new work. Scroll down to hear what he has to say.
As told to Justin Korkidis (Say_WordYo)
JK5 Logo/Business Card, 2011
"My good friend David Mashburn and I collaborated for my new logo and business card. It's a hybrid of my manual sketches and David's mastery of refining images on the computer. Some of the forms and elements are tattoo inspired, but also it feels like an invitation to some dance party on another planet. It has that early '70s Sci-Fi flavor."
Slow and Heavy, Threemorrow series, 2011
"This is a newer drawing of mine. A lot of the work that I create is an assimilation of my own personal autobiography and subconscious imagery. These interact and creates a discourse within the picture plane based on all the elements coming together. It also crystallizes some of these new forms and idea's I've been playing with. Meditations on death and mortality, concentrating on your process, the duality between good and bad, the dynamics between man, woman and child. I call the series Threemorrow. This new work celebrates the trinity, the tryptic, the trilogy."
Before The Light Shit Gets Heavy, 2011
"In two columns it says Before The Light Shit Gets Heavy, this is a reflection of the complications we experienced with our daughter. She developed a condition called hydrocephalus. We were in and out of intensive care and she was given two different brain surgeries within four months of her life. Now she's golden, not stunted one iota, never was. It was really just scary for us. I'm illustrating what I've lived through, and showing the light that came through the darkness. This is basically my first body of work as a father, celebrating childbirth and its magic wonder and insanity, complex the nature of it all. Before The Light Shit Gets Heavy, this was my way of breaking down how things go in your life. Before the light shit gets heavy, and then shit gets heavy before the light. Shit keeps repeating in that order. There's also encrypted symbols in their as well. My forms are really organic and always evolving. I love pulling from endless sources."
And I Will Expand Your Conscious Heart, Threemorrow series, 2011
"In essence this is some galaxy sized alien god spirit, kind-of protecting and grabbing this newborns head. If you look close, all of the stripes and crazy energy radiating from the eyes are letter form, alphabets, pencils and things. Really encrypted inside is that brainshark, symbolizing the initial danger with our daughter. If you treat your own life experience as a dream, illustrating it as the narrative, you get new elements to tell the story. All of this light force and positive energy was for that fact that she got better."
The Bestest Days Of Ever, 2011
"This is the first painting I did as a father, right after we came home and everything was all good (with my daughter). Something my wife said while we were changing diapers, she said 'Honey, these are the bestest days of ever.' It was just this rad declaration. Not grammatically correct, but rad. I basically did a drawing of it lefty because my baby was always hanging out in my right arm. It was super crude and raw. The plan was to keep this and make a refined painting from it."
Blood Stone, 2011
"This is a new graphic of a guy drinking blood from a stone. There's a deep '60s illustration sort-of style and ingredient to it. But I'm trying to take it into the future. It's really fun the way I'm playing with word and image, and how the boundaries between the two have just dissolved. Words are just a few beats from images, and vice-versa."
Threemorrow, Threemorrow series, 2011
"To me, these are biological cartoons from another planet, the nature between our bodies and birth, our relationship to the divine, and larger cosmic guiding forces. The shield and circle shapes look like little space portal windows, and ending up looking like a page from a graphic novel. I was going for a super graphic, super flat aesthetic with very vivid colors. You can see the family in the bottom quadrant. Mother and father, and the baby's arms reaching up. The child's eyes have arms, grabbing the sun. And above that, the child is at once a god, steering his own planet of consciousness. The womb, that's a big part of my work- Vagina's. We're all made in Vagina." "