The work of artist and designer Jason Keenan spans an eclectic range of interests and disciplines, from automotive and product design, to painting and illustration, and, at one point, DJ'ing. After 10 years in the automotive industry, Jason founded his own studio to focus not only on design but also his own artistic and inventive explorations. From his aurally-enabled workspace, Jason puts the needle on the records for this week's Playlist.
Industrial designer, Jason Keenan developed interior components from concept through production for the 2011 Toyota Avalon.
What do you listen to while you work?
When I'm working I find lyrics to be distracting, so I prefer listening to instrumental tracks. This ends up being mostly jazz, classical, electronic, rock, or hip-hop B-sides. Foreign language records work as well.
How do you listen?
I rarely DJ anymore, but I still have my sound system setup in my workshop. Two Technics turntables running through a Vestax mixer, with a Crown amp powering a couple JBL speakers. Not audiophile quality by any means, but it's built to last and can get pretty loud as needed. I love vinyl and flipping the records forces me to get up and stretch every so often. When it's crunch time, I'm usually on the computer, so I'll plug in a pair of Sony studio monitor headphones (MDR-V6). I've had the headphones since my school days and they're like a big leather easy chair for your ears. In fact I had to get them "reupholstered" a couple years ago.
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers?
I like to buy music in person at the local record store, but I'll hunt it down online if necessary. If I need to reference a track or album I had heard or read about, I'll pull it up on Grooveshark or YouTube to test it out.
Does music influence your work?
Music is not a direct influence, but certainly an inspiration. Art and design are about connecting elements together in new and perspicacious ways. Great music does this very well.
Where do you find music recommendations? Who influences your musical taste?
I like digging around record shops and trading mixes with friends. Public radio stations around the country seem to be the last place to hear free-form radio, and luckily most of them are online. Sometimes I'll check out the blogs or podcasts like the NY Times Popcast. Wax Poetics magazine is also a wealth of information.
What song or artist best represents the work you create?
I would stop short of drawing comparisons, but I have always admired the work and career of Quincy Jones.
Ideal place to sit and listen to your playlist:
An Eames Soft Pad Executive Chair in black leather. It's the perfect combination of vitality and tranquility.
1. I’m A Loser, Vince Guaraldi and Bola Sete
2. Lovely Is Today, Eddie Harris
3. Woodward Avenue, Yusef Lateef
4. Yippie, Mouse On Mars
5. Let’s Go Away For Awhile, The Beach Boys
6. Sound and Vision, David Bowie
7. Avril En Mai, The Apple In Stereo
8. Return to Hot Chicken, Yo La Tengo
9. Do the Astral Plane, Flying Lotus
10. Mystic Bounce, Madlib
11. Caetano Veloso, Irene
12. Untitled Instrumental, Bo Diddley
(Images: Jason Keenan; )
Republished in partnership with Herman Miller Lifework. Originally posted by Jamie Latendresse.