“What I like about the metal is that it’s familiar, but you can’t place it to a location,” says Yung Jake, an LA-based rapper and artist, whose new series of metalworks is currently showing at Tripoli Patterson’s recently opened East Hampton gallery location. This idea of using items that are familiar yet elusive not only characterizes Jake’s tech-based art (which also includes interactive HTML5 music videos and portraits made out of emojis), but more so, his persona. The press release for his recent exhibit at Steve Turner Gallery in Los Angeles read, “Yung Jake was born on the Internet in 2011,” and he only conducts interviews via text message.
Jake first gained recognition with his 2011 video Datamosh, titled after the technique whereby video data files are manipulated to warp playback, which was screened in New York, Chicago, and Amsterdam. Following that, he released E.m-bed.de/d, a music video that takes over the viewer’s browser with virtual visuals and phrases. Both videos were featured at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012 and 2013. Since then, in between releasing rap songs on YouTube and gaining a loyal Instagram following with celebrity portraits made out of emojis, Jake has been building a series of metalworks that have been shown in Milan and Miami Beach.
It’s fitting that Jake is only the second major artist to show at Patterson’s new gallery—his second location in the Hamptons. For one, Patterson has a reputation for supporting dynamic, contemporary artists; secondly, the two grew up together on the East End. “The first time I showed Jake’s work was in 2009, the first year I opened Tripoli Gallery in Southampton. It was in a group show titled “Of A Different Feather” with works by Lisa de Kooning and Gordon Stevenson. This will mark Yung Jake’s first solo exhibition with me, however,” says Patterson. “There are four of us all together—Ruby, me, Matisse, then baby boy Jake. We were always encouraged to be creative, whether it was making up games, coloring, drawing, or playing outside.”
As part of his metalworks series, Jake’s new works follow his method of warping stock images using a 3-D program to mirror the contortion effects of salvaged metal structures (which he finds as is). “It’s all just found stuff put together in interesting ways, and anyone can do it,” he posts on Tumblr. “We’re all artists these days.” “Yung Jake/Twisted Metal III” is on display May 23 through June 21 at Tripoli Gallery East Hampton, 87 Newtown Lane, 324-0149