Jeremy Mayer’s artwork is inspired by humanity, specifically our potential.
“I think we’re better than we think we are,” Mayer says. “[I like] Nietzsche’s idea of the Uberman, the Superman. It’s doable, but it’s just boring. It’s just not fun. It’s fun for people to make a bunch of money and have nice toys and big houses … It’s very childish, and it’s not the best we can do.”
Mayer, 32, grew up in rural northern Minnesota. The son of a railroad worker, he was the only artist in his family. But, says Mayer, “I was that kid"—that kid who could draw anything and did, from cars to cartoons. Mayer is a self-taught artist. From a young age, he would perform rigorous art exercises, a habit he employs to this day.
“I’m very serious when it comes to art, using the very best materials, taking as much time as it takes no matter what it costs,” Mayer says. “It’s the one thing in my life that I do the best, and everything else in my life falls into place. It’s my evolution.”
A reflection of his intense drive and interest in science and science fiction, Mayer’s work is precise, detailed and strong. His mastery of numerous media—from common pastels to graphite drawings to his unique use of antique typewriter parts—has given this artist a range rarely seen in most oeuvres. But as eclectic as his combined works may appear, “there’s one current that everything else follows,” Mayer says. “It’s a culmination of how my brain is working and how I see things.”
Mayer is best known for his typewriter sculptures, the most impressive of which is perhaps the life-size male figure he created on commission. The work took roughly 12,000 hours to create over the course of about a year. It now stands complete with motion sensors and a micro-processor that is programmed to make the figure move when someone or something passes by. Mayer started using antique typewriters in 1994. He took one apart and realized it could be reassembled to create something else. “It’s like a big erector set,” Mayer says. His first creation was a small “silly” dog, and he is currently working on a life-size female figure.
The typewriter sculptures flow out of Mayer’s interest in how we can change ourselves—how things can be altered. “You change your hair color, you can get plastic surgery. How far is that going to go with new technologies?” Mayer asks.
Mayer’s interest in art doesn’t stop with himself. He is active in advancing the art scene in the North Lake Tahoe area. After having been involved in local arts organizations, he grew frustrated with what he saw as a lack of support for artists like himself, people who are inspired by Tahoe’s environs but don’t represent it in their work. So, with the help of a few other artists, he recently organized the group show remote viewing: art event 1. With little advertising for this one-night event, over 200 people attended. Talk about art event 2 has begun and will, according to Mayer, take place sometime before 2005.
“I want this to become a part of the community, something that will last with or without the core group," Mayer says. Mayer’s passion is helping to unite a diverse and exciting but fragmented sector of the area’s art community. Mayer stands at the center of an art scene on the verge, while his own work continues to raise the bar of what it means to be an artist in Tahoe.