Today I bring you a featured artist whose talent lies within the realms of dark mystery and peculiarity – but combined with pop culture and modern trends – all things which I think are totally awesome! The artist’s name is JT Blake and his Etsy shop is Left Hand Asylum, based in Tucson, Arizona. His work is absolutely phenomenal!
JT Blake was born in San Jose, California and is the oldest of four children. His family would move every few years, so he I found it hard to make long-term friends. This led him to spending most of his time alone, drawing with a pencil and sketch pad. Despite the encouragement of family and teachers, he still faced insecurities, so he had abandoned the thought of ever becoming an artist.
JT worked for many years at various jobs in customer service until finally he felt he needed a change and in August 1995 he found himself in Arizona. With the 117 degree temperatures, he realizes he I was crazy then, too. Shortly after arriving in Arizona, he met his partner, Craig, who he is still with today.
Fast forward to nineteen years later and JT found himself unemployed with no desire to continue working in thankless positions, so he would stay up late surfing the web and he came across a site having to do with paper maché. Although he’d never dabbled in this medium, after seeing the prices they were asking for their art, JT figured, “hey, I can do this!”.
JT added his own personal twist by incorporating recycled materials (being the “green” individual he is).
As each of JT’s sculptures started to sell, he decided have a go at selling his work on his own website. JT does most of his creating late at night and often his partner Craig would wonder to whom he would be talking at these odd hours. Of course, it was to the sculptures themselves, all of which had opinions about the direction they wanted to be taken in toward their completion.
JT says that Left Hand Asylum was born from his being left-handed and slightly crazy. His tag line reads, ‘Mixed media art creations from the Madhouse’, which encompasses the many different mediums he works in.
JT’s smaller pieces came from a suggestion made by his best friend, KC, to come up with some items to sell at an event she was attending.
JT started with making magnets and then he branched into ornaments such as cats, skulls and zombies. Now, his product line has grown to include southwestern style items, sci-fi fan art, as well as visual puns and parody.
JT’s first craft show was in September 2012 and has participated in many shows since then.
You can purchase JT’s great items in his Etsy Shop and you can also visit lefthandasylum.com, where he offers a monthly newsletter, The Prescription Pad. The website allows people to see his past work that has sold; pictures and sculptures that are in the works and an events calendar.
And lastyly, JT shares that, “I am fortunate to be doing something I love, though the hours tend to be longer than your typical mainstream job and I rarely have a day off but I have never been happier.”