Jason Betzing is a visual artist and former tattoo artist with over 20 years of service in the United States Coast Guard. Just as Jason’s service took him to radically different places —from breaking ice in the Great Lakes to patrolling the tropical Caribbean—, his career as an artist has seen him work with motorcycles and the human body as well as canvases. During his time at sea Jason developed a strong attraction to nautical themes and travel, factors which have a strong influence in his art. Since retiring from the service in 2014, Jason has devoted himself to his art, winning awards and becoming ever more active.
He is not confined to any single subject or style. Browsing through Jason’s creations, the viewer will see droll paintings which skewer pop culture figures, grotesque allegories and bright, balanced murals. The wide range of media and styles Jason uses are a testament to his playful and innovative approach to art.
Life is struggle. There is a constant fluidity of winning and losing, elation and disappointment. I like to explore the fine line existing between the moments where life hangs by a thread, seconds away from…something. Whether literal depictions of past experiences, surreal personal expressions or exposing inner demons from my own nightmares, my work allows me to confront some of the darker things I experienced while serving 20+ years in the Coast Guard such as loss of life, body recoveries and the loss of children. These experiences have caused me to also reflect on my own mortality, which is the focus of my current body of work. I am examining the concepts of afterlife, and religion as a coping mechanism. A common theme in my work is children as they amplify our emotional responses. They indicate a level of innocence and for me represent someone helpless or dependent on others for survival.
I work in acrylics, oils, drawing and mixed media/assemblage. Usually my work begins with a concept, development of that concept and then creation. However, I create my mixed media and assemblage through a different process. First I gather random, unrelated items and then from those items, a concept and final piece evolves. For me, regardless of the process, creating art is incredibly liberating, like a creative Rorschach test.
Visit Jason’s website to learn more.