Boulder Artist Android Jones Brings New-Age-Inspired Burner Sensibilities to VR | Westword

100 Colorado Creatives 4.0: Android Jones

Digital virtual-reality artist Android Jones is 100 percent a product of Boulder County, born and bred in Lyons and infused with a deeply rooted Boulderite’s spiritual, new-agey, burner’s sensibility.
An audience entranced by Android Jones's Samskara Returns!
An audience entranced by Android Jones's Samskara Returns! Courtesy of Android Jones
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#33: Android Jones

Digital virtual-reality artist Android Jones is 100 percent a product of Boulder County, born and bred in Lyons and infused with a deeply rooted Boulderite’s spiritual, new-agey burner’s sensibility. And it suits him: A voyager into the mind’s eye, who conjures psychedelic visions in domes and on buildings, Jones is also state-of-the-art, the product of an Industrial Light and Magic internship and life as an overseer of Massive Black, a gaming-art development source he founded in L.A. A traveler who’s spread his imagery around the world in many settings, from music festivals to other events, Jones eventually returned to the simple life in Lyons, where his real name is Andrew. Jones talks about it all — and where he’s going next, technologically — in his answers to the 100CC questionnaire.

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Android Jones wants to blow your mind.
Courtesy of Android Jones
Westword: What (or who) is your creative muse?

Android Jones: Nature will always be my ultimate source of inspiration. Any and all things worthy of adoration can be traced back to the natural world. If one has the eyes to see it, a simple tree can have more beauty, truth and complexity than any masterpiece that hangs in a museum.

Which three people, dead or alive, would you like to invite to your next party, and why?

John Singer Sargent, Dr. Christopher Hills and Krishna. My fantasy would be to watch John Singer Sargent paint an alla prima portrait of Krishna’s universal form as Dr. Christopher Hills describes it to me.

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MicrodoseVR at work in Samskara Returns! Fiske Planetarium, April 28-29.
Courtesy of Android Jones
What’s the best thing about the creative community in your field — and the worst?

One of the best things is the sharing of information, techniques and ideas, and the speed with which individual disciplines interact and overlap in new ways. The worst thing is not having the time to learn and master everything.

What initially drew you into the realm of digital art?

I began a metamorphosis from a classical academic art background into a digital art path in 1996 when I made my first painting with a Wacom tablet in Photoshop. Something about it felt alive. All my art heroes had explored the boundaries of what represented modern art tools in their respective time, and digital art represented an open horizon of evolving possibilities for my generation of art makers.

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A participant enters the world of Microdose VR at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery.
Courtesy of Android Jones
Are trends worth following? What’s one trend you love and one that you hate?

Some trends are worth acknowledging within the larger context of organic cultural patterns, as they may provide relevant insight into modern dynamics of human consciousness. I find it more valuable to try and discern the underlying motivation and human need that the trend is seeking to satisfy or distract us from.

Today’s trend is tomorrow’s trope. My advice to artists would be to emotionally ignore external trends and focus on the deeper internal truths inside you. It may not always be popular, but truth never goes out of style.

I don’t have enough emotional investment in culture to truly say I love or hate any trends, my dude.

What’s your best or favorite accomplishment as an artist?

Well, if I was satisfied with any prior accomplishments, I may lose the desire to keep growing. Although I do have a few superficial highlights: projecting live art on the Sydney Opera House and digitally painting the goddess Kali Ma on the Empire State Building were notable achievements. Showcasing a room of Burning Man paintings and two MicrodoseVR installations at the Smithsonian for six months doesn’t suck. But at the risk of sounding sappy and cliché, the truth is that any worldly material accomplishment or victory pales in comparison to witnessing the birth of my daughter, Nova.

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Android projecting live at Bassnectar’s NYE 360 event, 2016.
Photo courtesy of EvrGloMedia
You’ve come this far in life. What’s still on your bucket list?

As I mentioned before, the real masterpiece I am focused on is the art of raising my beautiful children — the rest is decoration. Nonetheless, between changing diapers and storytime, I have been working on publishing my first physical art book.

On a personal growth level, I would like to complete a Vipassana at some point, and I sometimes idealize about making a pilgrimage to Mount Kailash in Tibet, where Shiva is said to reside.

Colorado, love it or leave it? What keeps you here — or makes you want to leave?

I think I’m noticing a trend of binary questions! For the record, I love it here in Colorado. Boulder is and will always be my home; I am the third generation Jones born in Boulder, and our children are now fourth generation.

Over the last two decades I have worn out several passports, and during my travels abroad I have always held an open mind toward apocalyptical house-hunting for where “home” would finally be. I can’t be certain if my decision is entirely objective, or if it is Chief Niwot’s curse that eventually brought me back, but I feel like this is where I belong now.

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A glimpse into a Microdose VR level or world.
Courtesy of Android Jones
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?

Good question. The transcendental beauty of the Rocky Mountains has inspired countless artists. One of my favorite Colorado artists is Jesse Holmes. Jesse is a figurative marble sculptor, and I have admired his work since I was a small child. He has a sculpture in the Boulder Public Library and an artist studio in Boulder Canyon. Colorado is also fortunate enough to house a national intellectual treasure and one of the most profound philosophers of our times in the human form of my friend Ken Wilbur.

What's on your agenda in the coming year?

Launching my new VR platform, Microdose VR, and my team is developing a new immersive and augmented Samskara 2.0 show that is scheduled for 2020. Taking more walks in nature with my family. Exploring the mysteries of emerging creativity with my daughter, Nova.

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A still from Samskara Returns!
Courtesy of Android Jones
Who do you think will (or should) get noticed in the local arts community in the coming year?

Sonic Bloom is a great Colorado festival put together by my friend Jamie Janover, now in its thirteenth year. There is a vibrant art collective called Threyda that just organized an impressive show at the Artwork Network gallery in Denver. Other Colorado artists to keep an eye on are Kris D (he is a painter and tattoo artist), and I also enjoy the music of Desert Dwellers, who moved to the Front Range a few years ago.

Android Jones presents Samskara Returns!, a digital-art virtual-reality program based on ancient Vedic tales and Sanskrit mantras, on Saturday and Sunday, April 28 and 29, at 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. daily at Fiske Planetarium, 2414 Regent Drive, Boulder. Find information and tickets, $20 (members get a 25 percent discount), online.

Keep up with everything Android Jones at his website and on Facebook and Instagram.
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