Jaesen Kanter

Nurturing and Exploring the Subconscious Realm

Society 805

WAV Artist-Jaesen Kanter

By Elano Pizzicarola

Meet Jaesen Kanter, 39. He calls himself, not an activist, but an “artivist.” “I use my art to inspire and invoke change. I’m very passionate about the environment and social change,” says Kanter, with fervent eyes, choosing to sit on a large rubber Pilates ball.

“You put the right visual together and you can really affect people.”

Kanter left Camarillo High School at 17. Eager to travel, he joined the Air Force, living in Germany for four years.

“In hindsight, going to Europe was the best decision I could have made…,” Kanter says.

“It opened my eyes to the world outside of the ‘American propaganda machine.’ I would encourage everyone to travel.”

Kanter never called himself an “artist,” despite decades of being behind a camera. He feels that artists, in particular, produce work that is on canvases and presented in art galleries.

So at WAV, he receives unexpected criticism with his work being embraced as art by his neighbors and reacts surprised and speechless. But being surrounded by other artists sparks an intense urge to produce work, Kanter says.

“I go to someone’s studio and they’re making something, and I’m like, ‘I want to go back to my place and make something,'” says Kanter, who found an artistic passion in himself he never knew existed, describing it metaphorically.

“It was a smoldering thing. Now, all the sudden, it is this raging inferno.”

Kanter has a history of clients who are environmentally sound, from Disney to the X-Games. So the green architecture of the WAV makes him feel at home.

“When I first found out about the place and found it was a LEED certified building, it made me wanna be in here that much more,” Kanter says.

He brings up a short film called “The Story of Stuff.” In the piece, author Anne Leonard, who wrote the book that shares the film’s title, reveals how the products we use pollute the earth.

“Most people don’t get it,” says Kanter, who feels environmentalists can use art to reach those who are uninformed on environmental issues.

About three years ago, Kanter worked with Los Angeles Parks and Recreation and Disney’s environmental Wonderful Outdoor World (WOW) program. Kanter and his team brought a group of inner-city kids up to Mammoth for four days. What ensued was a lesson on the flow of water, how it went from the Sierras to their kitchen sinks.

The vacation ended with snowboarding, when Kanter and his group of environmentalists took this opportunity to discourage the kids from littering the snow with garbage. They reassured the kids that the trash could end up in the water they drink.

Kanter has recently tried his hand at a music documentary called “Matilija Magic: The Delany and Bonnie Project” about the band, “Delaney, Bonnie and Friends.” The project excited him, as a picture of the husband-and-wife duo, Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett, hangs on his wall beside his front door.

“I sat down and interviewed everyone from Kenny Loggins to Kenny Gradney,” says Kanter, who has enjoyed gaining a multitude of information from the gig. “It’s just been quite amazing.”

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