Interview with Jack Yarrows

Interview with Jack Yarrows

Jack Yarrows sits down for a follow-up interview after his gallery show.

As a teenager, Jack Yarrows worked at his father’s used car lot. An unsurprising fact for those who know him - he speaks fast and energetically like the salesmen he grew up around. At particularly passionate moments in his conversations, he becomes deeply animated.

On a beautiful April afternoon, I sat down with Yarrows, a local Cambridge artist, in an empty, warehouse-esque building. Everything is silent. A beautiful sunset paints the sky an orange hue and drips in through the big windows above where we’re sitting. It’s hard to believe that this now quiet and serene environment served as the setting for one of the biggest gallery shows of Yarrows’ burgeoning art career. I sit across from Yarrows, who is clearly tired yet still passionate when he speaks about his art.

“We had a super good turnout,” he says with a fatigued smile. It wasn’t too long ago that the now empty Lunder Arts Center, where we are currently sitting, was flooded with dozens and dozens of people coming to enjoy the fine arts exhibition for graduating seniors of Lesley University’s School of Art and Design. “A lot of people got the work,” something which Yarrows felt anxious about going into the show. “They were freaked out by it [...] but not scared. They got it more than I thought they would.”

Yarrows had good reason to be nervous going into this show. The gallery served as the culmination of almost two years of work on a difficult and abstract project. The centerpiece of his exhibition was a giant, intimidating tower made of plaster casts depicting the people that surround him. When probed for deeper meaning about this piece, Yarrows becomes uncomfortable. “It’s vulnerable, having [my art] in a public arena[...] I felt fortunate that not too many people asked for a deeper [message].”

Yarrows tells me that the gallery showing was bittersweet. “I definitely felt fulfilled[...] But I always had this thought in the back of my mind, like, [I’ve] reached the finish line - now what?” he says with a sense of finality around his college art career.

I ask Yarrows what exactly he does plan on doing next, expecting him to rattle off a list of career goals and different ways for him to develop professionally as an independent artist. I anticipate him telling me about the next exhibition or something along those lines. But he surprises me with his answer.

“Clay. And a lot of it,” he smiles. He talks passionately about the direction he wants to take his art but never mentions anything career-oriented or anything related to gallery openings. The prospect of commodifying his art never seems to occur to him. For someone like Yarrows, the satisfaction comes purely from the art.

To view some of Yarrows’ art, visit his artist page at www.easelforart.com/jack.

Lesley University’s Lunder Arts Center will be holding another gallery opening for its senior illustration majors this Thursday, April 18th from 6-8 PM.