Jason Schmidt Gets Extreme with Kaws for Architectural Digest
An artists’ studio is a hallowed space: they go there to commune and create, to communicate with the world and express the fruits of that communication, and those thoughts. They build and destroy in those spaces, but once the work is over they head home. The creation continues, it never stops, inside their minds that float inside their heads that lay on their own pillows, or rest against their couches, or bob through the kitchen while grabbing pasta to pour into the boiling water for dinner. The space is always creative, but one is relatively public – or is at least for the creation of the public act – while the other is private. Kaws is arguably one of the most famous and successful living artists, with new work and collaborations dropping all the time and being shared with the world, but his Brooklyn home is shared only with his wife and two children. Until now. Jason Schmidt was let into the home to photograph for the cover of Architectural Digest. And as photographers go, Jason was the perfect choice. “I thought I wanted to be an architect when I was a kid,” says Jason. “I’m super interested in architecture and design and then, I’m also obviously interested in and committed to artists. So, not surprisingly, I’ve been assigned to shoot artists homes because it’s a melding of my two main interests.”
Jason has photographed more than 600 artists over the course of his career so far: mostly photographing studio spaces, creative spaces. But every now and then he gets into a private home space, like he did with Kaws, and it’s a little bit of a different energy. Kaws’ fame and success has afforded him to amass an incredible private collection that spans decades of work from artists of a dizzying amount of disciplines, mediums, and movements. There’s a lot to see at Kaws’ house and sometimes it’s too much. “Some things I wanted to be overwhelming,” Jason explains. “Often if you have a complicated room that’s filled with stuff, it can resolve itself a little bit. Most rooms have something of a sweet spot in terms of the orientation of the room and maybe that’s sort of when you walk into a room – most well-designed rooms – so the room sort of lays out for you just before your eyes when you enter that space.” These spaces are complicated, and Jason shows us the artistry of those complications. But not all of them are, some are simpler and it’s the lack of balance that appeals to Jason.
“I like a room that’s really minimal and I also like a room that’s really maximal,” Jason explains. “And those two extremes, the way all extremes meet in a way, have a lot in common. It’s the stuff in between that I’m less interested in. Kaws’ house is sort of a combination of maximalist and minimalism.” Photographing the hundreds of creative spaces that Jason has, there’s little he hasn’t seen – and that’s kind of the point. As we all search for balance, as much as that balance is alluring for a lifestyle it’s less fun to watch. We want to see it all – or nothing. And Jason’s ready to photograph it for us.