Jason Hanasik '03 (visual arts) has been very busy since graduating from Purchase. He contributes to GapMag, has numerous exhibitions, keeps a photoblog, completed his MFA at California College of the Arts and, in 2011, created the Gap's "It Gets Better" video. Yet he still finds time to instruct students at the ASUC Art Studio at the University of California at Berkeley.
Jason's most recent show, He Opened Up Somewhere Along the Eastern Shore, has exhibited at Kris Graves Projects in Brooklyn, New York-- Kris Graves '04 has shown several Purchase alums-- as well as the Iceberg Projects in Chicago and at the Lorrie Saunders Art Gallery in Norfolk, Virginia. Of He Opened Up Somewhere Along the Eastern Shore the Assistant Editor of Aperture stated, "Invoking the Soldier--commonly tired, a shop-worn masculine trope-- Hanasik upends expectations, creating a beguiling portrayal of a gender (and military) in limbo, where individual men struggle to navigate the cultural expectations put upon them." Explorations of masculinity are central to Jason's work. His work in progress, I slowly watched him disappear, follows a young man, Sharrod, as he navigates his way from childhood to adulthood. Sharrod is in ROTC and the viewer is asked to consider a number of questions: "How will Sharrod orient himself in the uniform he has been given? How does fantasy, imagination and play inform the construction of a masculine identity? Sharrod's mother said that she no longer recognizes her son when he puts on his uniform, will Sharrod get to a point where he no longer recognizes himself?"
Jason shot, directed and edited the first ever "It Gets Better" video for a retail corporation, Gap Inc. The It Gets Better Project is a viral marketing campaign that presents LGBT persons relating their real-life experiences of acceptance and support from friends, colleagues, family and others. Jason shot, directed and edited the Gap's contribution to the campaign. Jason first pitched the idea to Gap executives after he saw Google's contribution and the executives took him up on the idea. Jason's four minute video includes Gap employees who compare their challenging experiences growing up gay with the acceptance they feel being open in today's workplace.
Now, Jason has been selected by the Magenta Foundation as one of the 30 U.S. winners for its Flash Forward — Emerging Artists 2011 exhibition. He is participating in Long Shot 2011, a 24-hour photo marathon to raise funds for the Photo Center NW's education and outreach programs. And you can also follow Jason's day to day adventures in phone-photography on his tumblr blog.
Of Jason's time at Purchase he highlights his experiences with Professor Jo Ann Walters who "offered me a spot in her Junior/Senior level Field Trips class during my first semester at Purchase. I was incredibly nervous, but she squelched my fears by saying I would grow at an amazing rate by being forced to create and defend my work in the company of upperclassmen. At the end of the semester, I realized that she was totally right. So much so, that two semesters later I walked into her junior seminar class the first week with about 20 new photographs-- four of which were included in my senior thesis exhibition and one of them has become a signature image of mine and has been exhibited all across the world. Most recently it was included in an exhibition in Sydney, Australia... Jo Ann continued and continues to serve as a mentor and confidant after graduation and I know she continues to guide current students today."