w+DC Q&A: The renaissance of Jacob Gossel

We are excited to introduce to you our first Q&A, featuring artist Jacob Gossel! Sometimes we feel like interviews can get boring and go over questions that you can find anywhere.  So my job is to give you all the information you need to discover this extrememly multi talented artist/ musician by making him do all the work, describing himself the way he feels appropriate. Interview by W+D artist, Samie Laine Scott:

Originally from Baldwin, Wisconsin, Gossel moved to North Branch when he was in 5th grade. After high school he wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to do and decided to take some time off and work and play music.  Eventually with the advice of his mother, he decided to study at the Institute of Production and Recording in Minneapolis, but found most of what was to be learned he found through trial and error recording music with his bands, Big Candy and Virgo. Gossel continues to reside in Minneapolis.


Describe the first piece of art you can remember creating and the moment when you knew that this is what you wanted to be doing?

JG:  The first art memory I have would have to be drawing at my Grandma’s house. My two brothers and I would visit my Grandma with my Mom maybe once a week and my Grandma kept 3 separate notebooks, with our names on them, in a drawer for us to draw in. I specifically remember a few different things: 

1. Caricatures of my older brother with large flared nostrils that oozed with snot, face full of zits, and a unibrow… 2. A cartoon of a square-jawed, slicked-haired business man tempted by multiple oversized arrowed signs pointing to a dollar bill that was (in my interpretation) secretly attached to fishing line and a hook… and…  3. For some odd reason, flags. I remember sitting with my Grandma’s encyclopedias copying the flags of all different countries. Maybe I just liked the simplistic designs and bold colors, I’m not too sure.

There’s not really one feeling per-say that I remember. I remember a feeling of enjoyment, of concentration, of just kind of losing myself and seeing my imagination come to life on paper. I never really had thoughts of; this is what I want to be doing, really. I didn’t even really start saving any drawings or taking art “seriously” until I was in my later years of high school. Creating things is just something that feels innate to me.

Who are some of your greatest influences/ where do you find inspiration?

JG:   Along with appreciating a lot of art, music influences me a lot. The Mars Volta, Shpongle, Bjork, and Circa Survive are some favorites. Also just people, who think, question things, talk about the mysteries of this baffling experience we’re all currently immersed in. People like Terence McKenna, Graham Hancock, Bill Hicks, and Alex Grey.  

What ideas and concepts does your work most often revolve around?

JG:   Tough question. I don’t spend a lot of time consciously thinking about that. Definitely my emotions and experiences, obviously. Also I would say consciousness: its various states, and its possible separateness from mind and infinite nature. The mind: its constant struggle to compare, contrast, control, etcetera. Lastly, and this is kind of an abstract idea, but I’ve always been drawn to this feeling in my art and my music of – ancient futuristic. There is nothing real specific here I can elaborate with, but just a feeling of ancient, tribal, primordial, but at the same time digital, technological, futuristic, supernatural, alien. So yeah, haha, interpret that however you’d like. 

What would you say is currently your best marketing strategy and or platform?

JG:   Well I dislike marketing/advertising very strongly. It’s just not my thing. But I enjoy posting pictures of my work on social media. Also the whole shoe painting thing has definitely brought my work to a new audience.




How do you manage to juggle work, art, shows, networking, practice and gigs?

JG:   Hmm… Well I don’t do much as far as networking, I don’t really drink or go out. As far as the other things go, I take breaks, I would say. I don’t always get as many things done in the amount of time that maybe I would like to, but I know my limits. I prefer to enjoy my activities and have time to relax and reflect. So, sometimes certain things have to go on the back-burner so to say, for a while.

 Where do you hope to take your art next?

JG:  In my experience, it takes me, rather than I take it. I would love for interest in my work to continue to grow and it to have the opportunity to be viewed by more people.




What sets you apart from other artists?

JG:   You tell me… Haha. No, I’m not sure? I suppose that would depend on the other artists. Maybe nothing? I would say I just try and make things that are emotionally true, that are from my heart. I don’t have any training or schooling, or really much classical talent, but I would say I am good at opening up and expressing myself honestly.

Random Rapid Fire Q&A

SLS: What are some of your favorite color combinations?

JG: Depends on my mood. I don’t really like to pick favorites. 

SLS: Are you well adept at the use of chopsticks?

JG: I am not. That being said, my experience is minimal.

SLS: If you could choose a tail from any animal be it real or ficticious what would you pick and why?

JG: Peacock. They just look amazing, like a big multi-colored psychedelic dome of eyes. They are large, awe-inspiring, appear powerful, but are also delicate and beautiful.

SLS: Name something you can’t live without?

JG: How about a few? Beside the obvious…love, humor, affection, creative expression.

SLS: What is something you wish to acquire that you don’t currently have?

JG: A dog. I love dogs, but I can’t have one in the apartment I live in.

SLS: Why do moles have eyes?

JG: Good question. I’m not sure? Maybe they used to dwell above ground and started burrowing due to some environmental catastrophe. The burrowing lifestyle has now become their nature, but their eyes have yet to be evolutionarily eliminated. Haha, maybe?

SLS: What would your last meal consist of?

JG: Well, last night for dinner I had a steak, a yam, and some asparagus… That’s on my mind, so we’ll just go with that.

SLS: If you could feel completely comfortable in an impractical outfit what sort of attire would you don?

JG: Indiana Jones’ outfit. Whip included.

SLS: Where would you rather be right now?

JG: I am content right here in this moment.

SLS: Say something about your best friend.

JG: Making me pick favorites again huh? Well, all the members of my band are definitely my best friends. Guitar players Roy Swanson and Tyler Higley, bass player (and my younger brother) Adam Gossel, and singer Daniel Skoglund. We’ve been friends and played music together for 10 years now, and when you write and play music with people for that long you really get to know them on an unexplainable level. They’re all great friends, hilarious, amazing musicians, and I love them all. Daniel and I also have a side project that we call Virgo, I write and record all the music and he writes and records all of the vocals. We actually have two full length Virgo albums recorded and hopefully will be starting a 3rd in the near future.

SLS: How would you describe your decorative taste?

JG: I would say simple. Earth tones, plants, vintage or antique type times, and definitely enjoy Eastern vibes.

SLS: What do you hope your last words would be?

JG: I love you!

SLS: What’s your drink of choice?

JG: Water.

SLS: Name the latest album you’ve purchased or music you are currently into.

JG: I have been really getting back into Shpongle lately, I hadn’t listened to them for a while. I just got their new album, Museum of Consciousness, but I have yet to listen to it. I’m excited.

photos courtesy of artist:




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