Artist and educator, rod jones ii talks of identity and family histories

In this 36-minute podcast conversation, Logan Cryer speaks to rod jones ii about his transition from college athlete to art student, themes of identity and ancestry in his artistic practice, and his recent exhibition at InLiquid 'What Are We Claiming?' The two-person exhibition-- rod and Cheryl Harper-- investigates the two artists' contrasting family histories as they connect to the transcontinental slave trade.

A blurry selfie of rod jones ii-- a Black person with short hair and facial hair, wearing gold glasses, a white turtleneck shirt, and a cardigan-- collaged on top of a detail image of rod's work, featuring many multi-color wigs and braided strands of hair that are woven into one larger braided pattern.
rod jones ii, collaged on top of a detail image of rod’s artwork. Courtesy rod jones ii.

rod jones ii originally went to college to play professional football. When he got hurt and could no longer play, he says it felt like floor fell beneath him; he was in freefall– that is, until he directed his passion and creative energy into art making. Now, after earning a BA in Printmaking from Truman State University and an MFA in Interdisciplinary art from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), rod is an arts educator (University of Pennsylvania) and active exhibiting artist, who is soon to have his first solo show at Cue Arts in New York City: this must be the place to be (November 3, 2022- January 7, 2023).

Artblog Radio host Logan Cryer sits down with rod for 36-minute conversation about art history, personal histories, and identity- especially as it pertains to rod’s recent exhibition at InLiquid, What Are We Claiming?. Now closed (as of June 11, 2022), What Are We Claiming? featured two artists– rod and Cheryl Harper– examining lineage, inheritance, and the transcontinental slave trade, side-by-side, but from two very different contexts and perspectives.

You can listen to Artblog Radio on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and many other podcast platforms. Thank you to Kyle McKay for composing Artblog Radio’s original podcast intro and outro!


[00:00:12] Logan Cryer: Hello friends, you are listening to Artblog Radio recorded in Philadelphia. My name is Logan Cryer. And in this episode, you will hear a conversation between myself and the artist, rod jones. rod was kind enough to send over a poem in lieu of an artist bio. So I will be reading that now:

“i’m a descendent of lenola jones. fed 50 people with $50 for 50 sundays. it’s only natural that i have the tendency to serve the masses making the most from none. / the works are propositions and these propositions are meditations, self-reflections, interrogations of my truths. / i make because i have to. i make when i’m called. i resist diluting my unique experience with a language given to me and not a language that truly articulates how i feel. / birth something that i don’t understand, yet fulfills me. / like a chill vibrating my vertebrae, intuitive inspiration jolts through my body. desperately begging my body to keep up, i fail at relaying the entirety of that feeling”

Due to some technical issues, the first few minutes of rod and I’s conversation were lost. So this conversation is going to start with me asking rod to pick up where we left off discussing his college experience and how that shaped him as an artist.

I guess broadly, could you start from, you were talking about your experience, your college experience, I guess I’ll say broadly and how that led to your creative practice.

[00:01:53] rod jones ii: Yeah. Broadly speaking. It was a culture shock for me to go from Gary, which is probably like 95% black city to a predominantly white town in the middle of nowhere. So it was a–

[00:02:10] Logan Cryer: Which is the school you went to in Missouri?

[00:02:13] rod jones ii: –yeah. Tri-state. So I think I got hit with a lot of like, I don’t know, I had some internal work, some internal fortification to do with navigating whiteness and then also rural whiteness, which is a little bit different than like, urban whiteness in my opinion.

So yeah, and I think that, you know, my practice was a kind of, like, weighted blanket for that experience. I felt like once I started to get challenged, in my life, I started to challenge what I believed in my work and what my work could do for myself. I definitely think that that was the start to, like, me even being introduced to black artists, Robert Blackburn, Alain Locke, these like new Negro movements, Harlem, the Harlem Renaissance wave.

That was my introduction into, you know, artwork made by black people. Prior to that, I had no knowledge of it. So I think that kind of set me – this kind of like deficit that I experienced in my life – kind of, like, set me on this path to kind of look for that, or fill that void on some level.

[00:03:30] Logan Cryer: And at what point did you know that you wanted to go into art? Cause if I understand correctly going into college, you were not, but something happened and you were like, actually.

[00:03:43] rod jones ii: Yeah. So I got hurt playing football and I told you that I went to college to play football, like as a pro. But when that happened, like the floor kind of like fell beneath me, and I was kind of like in this free fall. Um, and again, it was like, well, you know, I’m passionate about art and I don’t know – I don’t know where that can take me, but I just followed my heart in a, you know, in a real way, same way that I did with football. And it just, I dunno…

Well, I graduated undergrad in 2016 and here we’re now. I had no idea what I would do, where I would be, what I was interested in. I just know I liked making, I got my degree in printmaking, so. Which is also like a niche within, like, the art field in and of itself.

So, people ask me, like, what are you gonna do? I’m like, I don’t know. You know, I just, I just wanna do this.

[00:04:34] Logan Cryer: Great.

[00:04:35] rod jones ii: Yeah.

[00:04:35] Logan Cryer: What do you think, because you were focused on such a traditional and kind of, as you said, niche, medium, like print making, is that what led you to go to PAFA?

[00:04:46] rod jones ii: Hmm. No. (laughter).

So I think something that we probably gonna pick up on is like, I kind of just, like, follow my gut. So I was… I think like six months out of getting my undergraduate degree, my mom was like, concerned. Like our conversations would be like, you know, what are you doing? You don’t have a job.

I’m like, but I’m doing these commissions and I’m getting this money. And she’s like, but from where and what does that mean? So it was just like… we were, we were in this moment where she was kind of like just questioning, you know my path and in her questioning, she talks to her friends and she’s pretty candid about like how she speaks about myself and my brother.

So she’s talking to her friends one day at a reunion. And one of her best friend’s sister is a curator, Dr. Kelly Morgan, and Dr. Kelly Morgan worked for PAFA for a couple of years. But anyway, ended up getting introduced to her, Kelly Morgan saw my portfolio. Kelly’s like, uh, you need to meet my friend Didier William. Didier’s like, yeah.

Didier is the, I think the chair at the MFA program at this point. At PAFA and so they have a close relationship, so Didier trusts Kelly’s word. So it was just kind of this connect who-you-know, you know, and just kind of like ended up there. I talked to Didier for about 30 minutes. And was convinced that, you know, I could get an MFA and deserved to get an MFA, too.

He saw something in me that I don’t think I saw myself, at that point. And that encouraged me to, you know, to leave that situation, which was rural Missouri, where I felt like I was being depleted every day. Just, you know, dealing with racism in real like covert ways that you don’t know are affecting your life.

[00:06:44] Logan Cryer: Hmm.

[00:06:44] rod jones ii: And I was like, yeah, let me get up outta Missouri and go to Philadelphia. Cause, this may be – I know I need a shift. That’s what got me out here. I was like, I need a shift. This sounds right. Yeah, let’s do it.

[00:06:57] Logan Cryer: And then did your practice change at all? Once you were in the grad program?

[00:07:02] rod jones ii: Indeed. I went into grad school wanting to be like an oil painter. I painted portraits of folks, which I value still to this day. But, it’s just not my bag, you know? Like, I got there and I was like, yeah, I’m gonna make these portraits. And I started making these portraits that I was proud of, but then I’m like going my studio every day and I’m like, this is just not enough.

You know? Like for me to like, again, speaking to that void, it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t as involved. Maybe it was like energy. It wasn’t much energy. It wasn’t enough material, wasn’t enough color. It was just, it wasn’t enough for me. So I started to experiment, broadly, because the degree at PAFA is an interdisciplinary degree. So they give you free reign to kinda just like play. And that’s what I did.

I took a class called “graphic impulse,” and I didn’t take the class, actually sat in on the class. And did the work through the semester with the class and did these projects that kind of got me thinking about material different. Got me thinking about representation differently. Got me thinking about color differently. Got me thinking about like what an art object could look like differently. I think that really radically shifted this idea I had of like, you know, black portraits was what I felt like I needed to see and what I needed to experience, what I needed to make in art for me to feel… full? Fulfilled?

But realizing that, that wasn’t it for me, I think really helped where I’m at now in terms of just experimenting. I think that’s what a lot of my practice is based in now. Just experimentation, seeing where that takes me.

[00:08:44] Logan Cryer: Yeah, I guess a lot of black artists that you would learn about, you know, either in a class or in a book or something, most of it is portraiture, like historically.

[00:08:53] rod jones ii: Mm-hmm yeah, those are the rock stars, right? Like when we in art school, when we like trained to be an artist, like those are the people that I was told to look up to, you know. And so I was like, why, why not? You know, you wanna emulate them. And I think that, you know, most black artists do go through this.

Maybe, maybe it’s not, you know, portrait or representation, but trying to emulate someone that they kind of have, like, idolized on some level. And somewhere in that process, figuring out what is you, and what is this artist that you’re just looking up to?

So it was grad school that I started to learn about like Wangechi Mutu, David Hammons, William Pope.L, Noah Purifoy these artists that I really like, thinking outside of a canvas thinking outside of a sheet of paper, thinking outside of like what a mark can be and how it could be translated onto the surface.

That started to really invigorate some like productive energy for me. This kind of like play – that’s what I’ve been thinking about it as – just playing around with materials really opened up what I thought the work could do.

[00:10:09] Logan Cryer: It’s interesting hearing you talk about it, cuz I can like hear the pedagogy in just how you’re talking about this. Like I know you also teach, I don’t know which classes you teach exactly, but it seems like you know that sense of play and exploration. It’s not just for your own studio practice. Like that seems like something you really wanna share, you know, with other artists.

[00:10:33] rod jones ii: Yeah, I teach. I teach Drawing 1. Just to kind of like – (laughs).

[00:10:39] Logan Cryer: Yeah, I know. Yeah.

[00:10:42] rod jones ii: -to let you know where I guess the breadth – the scope of how I’m speaking to things, and how I’m working with materials myself. I’m in a place where I’m not even thinking about Drawing 1 in my practice at all, you know. At least not in it’s, you know, still life or working with charcoal. Like these very specific ways, but in teaching those classes, you have to find a way to relate to students that have no experience with drawing, have no experience with mark making.

And I think that that play – like playing, you know, this experimentation – allows you to not think of, you know, an art project or an art piece so preciously, you know? It’s something that’s that you experience and, and it’s a result of an experience or a group of experiences rather than this thing… Or it can be that rather than this thing that you’re like trying to replicate in the real world. That’s integral to my teaching practice.

Just allowing students to really value experimentation, as like a, I don’t know, like a resource, you know. Just as valuable as the library, you know.

[00:11:54] Logan Cryer: Hmm.

[00:11:55] rod jones ii: Mm-hmm.

[00:11:56] Logan Cryer: Yeah. Do you feel that, you know, even within this context of play and experimentation – your work does have a lot of serious themes tied to it.

[00:12:09] rod jones ii: Mm-hmm.

[00:12:10] Logan Cryer: Where do you find that balance between maybe something that is a little bit lighter, a little bit more playful, but something that actually does have some resonance to what it is that you’re talking about?

Do you think about those things as contradictory at all?

[00:12:30] rod jones ii: …No, I don’t think I do. And even as I’m like… I think that’s a great question… cause I’m like, I’m really sitting with that right now. I don’t think, I, I don’t think I look at them as two separate things. I think the way that I kind like cope with my reality is like escaping, you know, imagining to be in a place.

But to imagine yourself outside of this, this place too, I think that. Integral to how I just like experienced the world? Um, so I think it’s hard for me to separate like serious subject matter in this idea of playing. Cause it’s always been attached to me, you know?

I think about like growing up and – I mean, I don’t even talk like this, right? Like I think about growing up and playing, at parks and thinking about like today, global warming and seeing these parks and these buildings overtaken by like nature in real ways, or like the asphalt cracking, because it’s so hot outside over the years…

I think in my, like… in my brain, that is aware of climate change and, and everything… now I think playing for kids. It’s like something that could be looked at it like pretty dark, like we outside playing, and the world is like falling apart around us. But you still, I don’t know, I think that play allows you to be present.

So I think those things, close together, are necessary for me.

[00:14:05] Logan Cryer: That’s really interesting thinking about like, play as presentness even within context of, you know, X, Y, and Z. Like I know you mentioned global warming and then – I wanna definitely talk about the work you had in your two person show at InLiquid: What Are We Claiming?

[00:14:30] rod jones ii: Right.

[00:14:30] Logan Cryer: Which closed? I think mid-July no, it’s mid-July now. I don’t know when it closed.

[00:14:38] rod jones ii: Mid-June? I don’t know what, what is time? I don’t know. (laughter).

[00:14:41] Logan Cryer: I know. (laughs). But it was, it was up recently.

And you know, I would love to hear your thoughts on it, but the show overall was talking a lot about lineage. And how do you access and assess your personal histories, and then, you know, which histories are your personal histories and which aren’t, but you can claim.

You know, um… I totally forget where my question was leading, exactly. But I guess I do wanna hear you talk about that show a little bit.

[00:15:18] rod jones ii: Yeah, no, no sweat. Thank you for asking about it. I, yeah, let’s just address it.

So What Are We Claiming? That was a show that was actually two years in the making. So before the, yeah, before the pandemic happened, it was, it was scheduled to be… it was scheduled to happen in like fall of 2020, but then the pandemic. And I don’t know if you’re aware, but a lot of galleries kind of had this calendar situation where things were getting pushed around and pushed back. So, InLiquid, after talking with InLiquid, we decided to push the show back a few times, and it ended up happening this past year. Um, but you know, I got presented with the, I got presented with the opportunity. I was invited to be a part of the show actually.

Uh, so Cheryl’s work. Cheryl Harper, the other artist I was with, her work had been traveling for a couple of years, that same installation.

[00:16:13] Logan Cryer: Oh, wow, ok.

[00:16:13] rod jones ii: And she proposed it to InLiquid – the gallery. I was invited to be a part of the show because they felt like, I think both Cheryl and InLiquid thought that it would be a more fuller conversation with another perspective on this idea.

So when they brought the show to me, I knew that this idea of lineage, this idea of like ancestry – I think about Kendrick’s line like, “if these walls could talk.” Like, I think about that line so much in my practice. And what that means, right? Like if the walls are talking, like who’s in the walls, you know? Like where they come from, what they say, what language are they speaking, who they speaking to?
These ideas, I think, are something I think about all the time in my practice. And I was also in a place where I was questioning representation, questioning like, what all of our identity is as like black people, and thinking about the portrait.

[00:17:15] Logan Cryer: Yeah, when you say representation, do you mean representational artwork or just representation as like, me as a black artist in certain spaces, or was it just all of it?

[00:17:26] rod jones ii: Hmm. Representational artwork. Um, I think it’s all of it too. Like me as a black artist in certain spaces – in this space of like the archive and –

[00:17:37] Logan Cryer: Hm

[00:17:37] rod jones ii: – familial history and familial lineage and these heirlooms. So I got presented with the opportunity and I knew Cheryl’s work was addressing family lineage, heirlooms.

And I was like, you know, I think that my work is questioning like the validity of heirlooms in and of themselves. I think of my practice as like an active archiving of my own experiences. And I think that I was really there at the point where I got presented with the show cause I was making these dolls. These dolls that I call, like the homies, and the homies are like, I don’t know, they can be fairies. They can be, uh, entities, they can be representative of like imaginary friends. I just call ’em the homies cause they, they take up space in my studio, and I felt like, you know, the name for them was fitting.
But I’m like, are these homies like asking the right – are these homies asking the questions that I’m asking?

So I felt like it would be good to see the homies next to these like artifacts that Cheryl has kind of like gathered over years. It’s just like this hard data that you can like trace names and dates and places to, and I don’t necessarily have that relationship with like lineage or family or memory, right.

Like I think, for the most, I haven’t inherited anything, you know, from my family. So that, well, that’s where we can start, but my mom has like photos. My dad has photos, but those are – and I have been away from home for 10 years – I haven’t had access to any of that stuff other than it being sent to me from someone.

So, but I also feel grounded, right. I feel like present, I feel supported by my ancestors. I feel like I have a connection to a lineage that I can’t necessarily see or point to, but is hyper present within my practice, within my day to day life. Like, earlier you asked if my family was creative, and though they were, like they wouldn’t call themselves artists. Like stereotypical artists.

Like my mom did nails. A lot of folks in her family did nails as well and did hair. But also on that side of the family, they, they did a lot of work with their hands. So like, I feel like I’ve been connected to this, I don’t know, working with my hand lineage. And in that practice, I feel connected to my ancestors without even seeing faces, hearing names, seeing dates; knowing who did what, when, at what time…
For me, it’s enough for me to feel connected and so I’m like, if this is the work, if I feel like the work is doing this for me, like, what is the work doing next to Cheryl’s pieces?

And so that was really my motivation for being a part of this show, because I think a lot of the ways that Cheryl was approaching like truth and validity was, are things that I didn’t agree with personally. So I’m like, all right. If I don’t agree with this, like, let’s see if the work is doing what I think it’s doing.

And yeah, that’s I think that’s what this show was. Kind of me over two years – and I needed the two years. (laughs.) Oh my gosh, I needed the two years. Because it’s heavy, right? Like, Cheryl has these – on Cheryl’s husband’s side of the family, they were, uh, they had a plantation. And so part of Cheryl’s research is having these names of black folks, black bodies who don’t have – who have agency, right, that I felt like Cheryl was stripping from them. You know, in presenting them without kind of like consent.

You know, presenting them as like, artifacts and not as like, people. So I think I needed to like really understand what my feelings were around Cheryl’s work and to make my own work and to have like the conversation.

And it took two years. And I saw this, it was this tweet that kind of really like summed things up for me. And I’m going to wrap up talking about it. I’m on Twitter all the time, but I’m not like, I don’t tell people what my Twitter is. I’m just like a ghost. I don’t know. I like, I prefer it to be that way, cause Twitter can like the spaces in Twitter I find are really valuable, but are like highly problematic. So I just like to be to myself in that space.

But I follow these black fem historians who like use Twitter, like millennials, but also like academics, which is kind of, I don’t know, a funny space to kind of see get occupied.

And then like it’s black Twitter too. So there’s like a certain kind of like, I don’t know, there’s a certain place that they’re coming from and how they’re speaking about things that I value. A certain vernacular that they’re speaking with too as well. And this black historian was recounting this experience that she had.

And she talks about receiving this email from a woman, a white woman and the white woman talking about like: yeah, you know, I was doing some family digging and found. That my ancestors had a plantation, but I also found these, these photos and these documents and I’ll, you know, she’s kinda expressing wanting to connect these like the family members to these documents so that the descendants of whoever was in the plantation can know where they came from.

Um, and so the woman reached out to this black lady, not knowing that she was a historian, but knowing that she was potentially one of the descendants –

[00:23:35] Logan Cryer: Oh, wow.

[00:23:36] rod jones ii: – from her findings, right. And so – right? Right? And I’m just like, I’m reading this on Twitter like, is life like real right now?

You know, she’s – on one hand, she’s like, you know, as an academic, she really valued, like being able to trace literally where her family had been. What state they’d been in, how long they had been there, what time they were there, who were looking after them, where they were sold to… Like, as an academic, she really valued receiving that information in that moment.

But as a black person in real time, like 2022, you know, post Trump era, we’re heightened racial sensitivity, um, heightened social sensitivity, she was like, terrified. And like traumatized in a real way, you know, being able to look back at this photograph.

I think one of the photographs were like a plantation owner, um, his wife and this black woman and this mulatto child in between them. And the black woman, the historian was like, yo, I have like light-skinned people in my family. So this is like potentially the root of that light-skinnedness. This is the – she was speaking to potentially looking at the raper of one of her family members and how traumatic that is.

And I was like, wow, this is like, literally what I’m experiencing, as I’m witnessing Cheryl’s work. I needed the two years to be able to, to come there to be able to arrive at that place. And I feel like also make work that was productive and not… no, make work that was productive. Yeah.

[00:25:20] Logan Cryer: Yeah. I mean, I’m really… I really loved your work in the show and I’m kind of blown away to a point of almost like befuddlement of how well you were able to translate what you’re talking about into the pieces. Like you haven’t even described what they looked like yet, but how they looked just – and to kind of like give a brief description, I’m gonna like oversimplify it a little bit, so forgive me, but…

You know, a lot of it were these large amorphous almost rocklike, almost almost-figure. They were paper mache pieces, you know, that were like painted a brown flesh tone color. And then they were throughout the space and then either adorned with, or suspended by just a string of beads.

Just so much bead or, you know, like the kind of beads that you would see in hair, especially for like younger people, you know, like very colorful and everything. And it was – I mean, I was really struck seeing them how they were so almost-figurative, right? Like they were of a certain scale. Some looked like they were in poses, like as if sitting in a chair.

And then, you know, some literally had like lips or, you know, like some facial features. But it didn’t feel quite like an abstraction. It really did feel like something else.

[00:26:58] rod jones ii: Mm.

[00:26:58] Logan Cryer: And to have such a, you know, like this imagery that really kind of escaped symbolism next to work that was very archival, right? Like I, most of the materials that Cheryl Harper used were found material, I’m saying found materials as in like they weren’t created. Right?

[00:27:19] rod jones ii: Right.

[00:27:20] Logan Cryer: Um, yeah. And, and seeing it together, I mean, there was kind of an obvious contrast immediately that you could tell in terms of like racial dynamics, right? Like seeing certain clothing, seeing certain materials, you know? And just the way that you kind of conceptually navigated, not only how am I thinking about how I feel about lineage and what it means to talk about an artifact when the artifact is peoples and like specifically enslaved black people, to then turn that into a material process is really, really impressive.

I was just like really blown away by that.

[00:28:01] rod jones ii: Thank you. Thank you. Yeah. I mean to speak to that briefly, I kind of spoke to using my practice as like a coping mechanism and I think that the materials that I work with and also find, and incorporate in my artwork, I relate to on some level. I kind of look at the discarded materials or waste or remnants and analyze… what do you call it? Like analogize them as like black bodies.

And so it’s like, they like these, I don’t know. I feel a kinship to these things, you know, I’m like, what do we do with the pieces? How can the pieces come together and speak to something new? I think that’s best being black, right? Like that’s black magic from my experience, like taking nothing and like turning it into something grander and it being like, wow, like how did you do that?

[00:28:56] Logan Cryer: Yeah. And what’s interesting about that transformational process is like, what becomes apparent is just how much labor you’re putting into it. You know, like it’s, it’s not just that you’re finding materials and then presenting them as is. Like, I mean, there are thousands of beads and, and I know for a fact personally, like you have to hand put those beads on. So, I’m just like thinking about how, you know, that transformation.

It’s not only just how can a audience maybe reassess how they understand this material, but then for an audience member to have to try to contextualize your labor with that material also just accentuates your relationship with it in a way. And I was actually gonna ask you how you feel like your relationship to material is, and you kind of already answered that because it does seem so much about, you know, that kind of time spent with something.

With, you know, with your hands.

[00:30:00] rod jones ii: Yeah. Extremely intimate, extremely intimate relationship with the material. I think that’s where my understanding comes from, like in the world. If I don’t have – I need to give myself that time to work through the things that I’m called to. The things that are like speaking to me, to give them that like due diligence in the work.

So, so yeah, that labor is like, I don’t know, we could talk about labor all day…

[00:30:31] Logan Cryer: I know. (laughs.) Yeah.

[00:30:32] rod jones ii: That is where it’s at. Yeah.

[00:30:33] Logan Cryer: Yeah. Well, I don’t wanna put you on this spot if it’s hard to answer now, but where do you feel like after this show or with other things that are coming up, your practice is moving towards?

[00:30:48] rod jones ii: Yeah. Um, no, I don’t feel on the spot. Uh, I think, I think this is a great question cause I’m actually working through – I’m making work for a new show. I have a solo show coming up in November, in New York at the CUE Art Foundation.

[00:31:06] Logan Cryer: Okay. Wow.

[00:31:07] rod jones ii: So, yeah. Shout out to CUE. Great opportunity, great space. But the work, I think I’m kind of like diving deeper into this… where like where those sculptures came from, you know. I want to understand that world more, uh, that space, this space that I’m feel like I’ve been pulling things from in my studio practice.

I’ve kind of like looked at it as figurative space, but it has some, like some real tangibility in my, in my own life, you know? So with the show at CUE, I am making more homies, shout out to the homies, shout out to the paper mache that’s been, that’s where we at.

And then soft, like, much more like larger, soft sculptures. Uh, it’s kinda how I’m thinking about it too. So, that show, I feel like conceptually has been me like navigating and reconciling my relationship with my mom. So I’m, I’m curious. Cause yeah, I think that it’s just kind of it’s going deeper into like this idea of lineage, this idea of ancestry, but also broadening it out to what does protection look like?

Literal protection and like, you know, intangible protection. I think my parents and my mom specifically, did a really stellar job at protecting, you know, our dreams, you know, mine and my brother’s dreams. And I’m like, what is like, what is that? Like, what does that look like? Um, cause I’ve, you know, in my life I’ve experienced people talk about dreams and in a kinda like downtrodden way.

But I think I’m, yeah, I’m kind of just like navigating that space right now and pulling from like, what that means. Uh, but the title of the show in New York is, uh, This Must Be The Place To Be.

So, I’m excited about this work. A lot of labor, but I’m excited. (laughs.)

[00:33:22] Logan Cryer: I’m excited to see it. Is this your, is this your first solo show?

[00:33:29] rod jones ii: First solo show. Indeed.

[00:33:31] Logan Cryer: Wow, congrats!

[00:33:32] rod jones ii: Indeed. Thank you. Yeah, little bit of video, little bit of sound, try to make it really immersive. I only had half gallery at InLiquid, I have the whole space in New York. I really want to transform a gallery space into something otherworldly.

[00:33:51] Logan Cryer: Yeah. Well, normally this is when I ask people like, oh, where can people find you online? But you are hard to find online. And it seems like you wanna keep it that way.

[00:34:07] rod jones ii: Yes. (laughs). Yes, yes, no. I do have a website though, you know, um, and we there, we there, that gets updated regularly. You know, my email is there if you have any inquiries, um, but I do keep a low pro… Low pro, but yeah, you can reach me. I’m easy to, I’m easy to reach. I’m not hard to find

[00:34:37] Logan Cryer: Just not gonna find you in the typical places. That’s the only difference. Yeah.

[00:34:41] rod jones ii: Right, right, right. I don’t know. I kinda like, I dunno. I’m trying not to feel bad about how I think about this, but I’ve been thinking about myself and my practice as if it’s the same when I think about the materials that I work with and find outside. You know, you wouldn’t expect to find a rug that you use for painting behind a dumpster, but you know, sometimes you gotta look behind a dumpster to see if you going to find that rug that you need.

And that’s how I feel like about the website and finding my presence. (laughter).

[00:35:16] Logan Cryer: Okay. I really like that.

[00:35:22] rod jones ii: Yeah.

[00:35:22] Logan Cryer: Yeah. Well, I think we’re at time. So I’m gonna wrap it up here. Thank you so much. And I’m gonna stop recording.

Thank you for listening to Artblog Radio. Please be sure to listen to our other episodes and to check out for more content on Philadelphia arts and culture.