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Rural Modernist artist Jason O’ Malley in Kingston NY

A Conversation With Artist and Modern Maker Jason O’ Malley

By inside + out | September 12, 2023

In our ongoing series of interviews showcasing seven intriguing artists participating in an exciting exhibit titled, Exquisite Corpse, we catch up with Kingston NY artist, Jason O’Malley. But first, a bit more about the exhibit that you won’t want to miss. Exquisite Corpse was Inspired by a game from the ’20s when it was adopted as a technique by artists of the Surrealist movement to generate collaborative compositions.

The upcoming exhibit follows the journey of seven artists/collaborators with one rooted seed – queer culture: past, present, and future. Each artist will present their journey as members of the queer community and the visual representation of a collaborative journey through the game Exquisite Corpse.

Inside+Out is Upstate New York with artist Jason O’Malley to discuss his involvement in Exquisite Corpse. Let’s get to know more about his journey, his work and upcoming projects.

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Where are you originally from?

I’m from Birmingham, Michigan. 

Who are your biggest artistic influences?

John Waters, Madonna, Paul Rand, M. Sasek, Alex Katz, Divine

Tell us about your work as an artist.

I’m an illustrator and graphic designer by trade, and I bring that sensibility to my paintings and ceramics while infusing a healthy dose of pop culture and queer references into the mix. 

Rural Modernist artist Jason O’ Malley in Kingston NY Rural Modernist artist Jason O’ Malley in Kingston NY

What was your reaction when you were invited to participate in Exquisite Corpse

I was flattered of course!

Tell us about your experience collaborating with the participating artists – were you intimidated, excited and/or inspired to add to someone else’s work? 

I found it exciting and a little bit scary, but that’s the fun of doing this type of collaboration. You don’t know what the result will be until the unveiling.

Describe your creative process for this project, and did this change or evolve with each session?

I played with two different styles when making my contributions. One is more figurative and pop culture-based and closer to what I provide my illustration clients. The other is abstract. I think of it as Marimekko meets medical diagrams. Pulsating, flowing, fantastical organs and fluids and bubbles…

Artwork: Jason O’Malley + William van Roden + Anita Ragusa

What was your goal in participating in Exquisite Corpse, and do you feel you’ve accomplished it?

It was both exciting and intimidating to collaborate with other artists. I’ve always been a one-man show artistically, so this was a leap for me. Seeing the paintings revealed at the end of the process was thrilling.

What impact do you hope this exhibit has on the audience? 

When people see the very different styles of each artist merged together in unexpected ways, I hope it blows their minds the way it blew mine.

Exquisite Corpse art by Abraham Cruz + Sergey Vershin + Jason O'Malley

Artwork: Abraham Cruz + Sergey Vershin + Jason O’Malley

Do you believe art can affect societal issues?

Definitely, art reflects life and the life of the artist. It’s all connected.

What are you working on now that you’re excited about?

I’m putting the finishing touches on my Divas Coloring Book. It’s my totally subjective and incomplete catalog of my favorite lady singers from all genres throughout the years.One named legends like Debbie, Madonna, Annie, Siouxie, Aretha, Dolly, etc. Each illustration is paired with a poem describing her history and why she’s legendary. It’s educational.

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Follow Exquisite Corpse @exquisitecorpse2023 

Rural Modernist artist Jason O’ Malley in Kingston NY

Jason O’Malley makes bespoke modern ceramics, wallpaper, and art in his Kingston, NY studio. His colorful art combines his many obsessions and influences: illustration, typography, graphic design, pop culture, humor, film, camp, and queer identity.

An illustrator/graphic designer/art director by trade, his vibrant and colorful illustrations of modern people, places, and pets have been published globally by the likes of Chanel, Gap, Mini-Cooper, Ikea, Coca-Cola, Random House, and American Express to name a few resume highlights. His editorial illustrations have appeared in The New York Times, OUT, Lucky, InStyle, and numerous international publications.

He designed and illustrated the now iconic rainbow cone and unicorn flavored book and branding for Big Gay Ice Cream, the fabulous entertaining tome, The Cocktail Party by Mary Giuliani, and numerous pop-up books for kids of all ages.

Follow the artist/collaborators on Instagram:  Abraham Cruz, Anita Ragusa, Jason O’Malley, William van Roden, Raul Castro-Cerrato, Sergey Vershin, and Nicole Becher.


September 29th – October 29th
At the Everett & Treadwell Building, 33 Canfield Kingston NY
On the Ground Level and Second Floor

The Opening Reception is September 29th at 6PM


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