When I showed up to Jason Woodside’s opening last Friday in the Lower East Side, I was a little taken aback. Parked directly in front of Poppington gallery was a new Bentley and it seemed more like I was on location for a rap shoot than a downtown art opening. Turns out legendary businessman Dame Dash, responsible for companies such as Roc-A-Fella Records and Rocawear, owns the gallery. He’d found out about Jason’s work and decided to host his show. The mix of people made for a pretty good, pretty drunken evening. Rather than wine, we had bottles of Moet Rose. Rather than water, we drank Vampire Life vodka and Heineken. Jason also gave me a tour of his Chinatown studio in preparation for the show. Turns out he’s in a pretty transient time of his life. He is currently moving out of his space and looking for a new one as well as moving his coffee shop, Happy Bones to a new location. Happy Bones will reopen the first week of November at 394 Broome Street. So if you happen to be in New York anytime soon, make sure to track him down and tell him that I told you that he promised free coffee for life to anybody who whispers “Monster Children” after ordering their drink.
I want to give you this opportunity to address your Australian fans about the outrage down under regarding the comments you made recently about your hatred for the Australian people. Where does this loathing come from?
Well, my wife is a Kiwi, so that’s really the root of it. No, uh, not at all. I actually love Australia. I’d live there if I could. Beautiful culture, beautiful people, beautiful art coming out of there.
Shitty magazines though.
Really shitty magazines. There is this one called Monster Children that’s just haunting me. I don’t know what’s up with those kids but they don’t know what they are doing.
Never heard of it.
You’re not missing much.
So why is your work so drab and colorless? It’s really just depressing when you look at it.
I think it comes out of New York City. For the most part this is a pretty depressing place.
So should we be buying your art now? Are you in danger of lopping off an ear and killing yourself?
Exactly. I’m thinking of just bailing to the desert and going subterranean. There’s a real high possibility of that.
You should just go Dash Snow on us. Rent a hotel room and start ripping up phone books and having orgies.
Exactly. What did he call that?
Oh man. I should start doing shit like that.
What would your version of a gerbil party look like?
Confetti and balloons. Many different colors.
You should do that actually. Or maybe get a giant ball pit like they have at Chuck E Cheese.
I actually wrote a story about a confetti maker when I was in college. I dropped out of school so it’s pretty irrelevant. I’ve always been fascinated by color, so it would be a really colorful gerbil party.
With gerbils being nude women of course. How would your wife feel about this?
She would get fully involved.
So wait. Art. How did you start this thing?
I’ve been drawing since I was twelve. My biggest teacher was my grandmother. I lost touch with it and went to school for film but ended up hating it. I just started selling paintings and then fully dropped out.
Wait. Do people ever get you confused for Charles Woodson, the big black football player?
Because you both have the word wood in your name.
It can be a bit confusing.
You kind of look like a big black football player.
Totally. People are always like Woodson … Woodside. He plays for the Oakland Raiders. They look like convicts. I kind of look like a convict.
So speaking of big black dudes, the gallery you are showing in right now is owned by Dame Dash. I think he is Jay-Z’s ex-business partner and was responsible for Kanye becoming a rapper rather than just a producer. Are you ever worried that he will take all the credit for your art and kick you to the streets?
Totally. Yeah. I’m actually really bad with rap music. He does well though. I know that.
Who owned the Bentley out front of the opening?
That was Cam’ron. He actually bought a piece of art the night of the opening.
He can hang it in his mansion and sing about it.
Totally. I think he lives in Harlem.
Have you ever considered a rap career?
I freestyle sometimes in the shower but I think it’s pretty weak.
What would your rap name be?
Ha! I see what you did there. Threw it back in my face. So, if you had to write your own eulogy, considering your impending death, what would it be?
Stay positive and keep pushing.
No. That’s not going to work.
What? No. Why not?
Because you have to talk about yourself.
Drink beer and do drugs.
There you go. That’s better. I accept that one.
Words and photos by Will Kaner