Jason Jarosz, 41
Tell me a little bit about the crazy Fall you had this year. Where did the madness start?
We were in Austin around September painting and it was 107 degrees and sunny every day. It was so hot that the guys inside the building we were painting on started betting on which one of us would pass out first.
We went then from Austin to San Antonio. We get to the hotel there and the door had been kicked open! Justin’s bed had no box springs so when he sat on his mattress he basically fell to the floor, my bed had all these blood stains… it was all pretty gnarly.
What happened after your Texas trip?
By then I’d been working 3 jobs straight and I was sick, but I just thought I had the flu. I just kept working thinking I’d get over it. I knew the Kansas City trip was coming up- I was thinking, oh I’ll get some rest there because I was going alone.
How was Kansas City?
Well, when I got o Kansas City I was surprised to see they had this crazy cold front! and the first morning I was there it was 34 degrees. After two days I had to go to the ER I was still feeling so sick- it was like 6pm when I went, and I was there through most of the night. I thought I went to the nicest ER I could find, but people were actually dealing drugs and doing them in the ER!! They’d go in the bathroom normal and come out like coocoo bird, speaking gibberish. Anyway, after a night in the ER I left with medicine for pneumonia. I didn’t see the sun the whole time in Kansas City until the last couple hours that I was packing up to come home.
This job is just really intense physically and mentally, especially if you’re up on a rig on a wall. You never take a break, you know? You’re painting from a piece of artwork and you have to be on point every second- you don’t take a break. It’ll snap you out of anything, really. It’s kinda what drew me to painting in the first place- it kinda takes you out into your own world. Then you’re done and you come back into reality and you’re like Oh! IM SICK!! Wow.
Hurricane Sandy really cut off transportation for a while- were you affected by that at all?
Yeah well, right after I came back from Kansas City- Hurricane Sandy came. I had to fly out of White Plains, LaGaurdia and JFK were just decimated, and I had to get out for two jobs for Newcastle- one in Atlanta and the other in Minneapolis. It took the entire day but I did finally get in the air- you could see other commercial planes really close to ours- one even flew maybe 200 feet under us- it was all crazy.
I finally got to Atlanta and had to hustle to get that job done- since I’d been delayed getting there. It was great though, the weather was really nice, the people were really cool- People would be like Oh Shit! This is the wall! You’re gettin blown up on Instagram!
Then I went to Minneapolis- and got bumped to first class. I didn’t even do anything! And it was just like this gift- I even had paint clothes on and looked like a scum bag. I did end up having a problem in Minneapolis- I blocked out a wall, painted it out white in order to paint over it the next day. The next morning I showed up and it had just rained and the temperature was just right so that when the paint all rain down the side of the wall. That’s pretty much this job, you know? Just crazy stuff that you can’t control- one right another after another. Every job has its little problems, so it’s like a constant battle just to do your job.
Wow! So how do you seem to keep such a good attitude?
Because you’re painting, and this is pretty much the only job you can paint pretty much every day of the year. You know, you’re painting so fast and just go and go and go. And you learn so much on every wall- this is an education, for sure. Every time you’re gonna learn something no matter what. I see it as a privilege to be able to paint.
What is it like to train the apprentices?
This is a great job, there’s not a whole lot of people that can do it. It’s definitely a tough process being an apprentice. You kind of have to prove yourself and its hard for a reason, you have to really see what someone’s made of and it has to be in pretty tough situations because you’re trusting them with your life sometimes when they’re tying off your safety or rigging for you.
Now for some fun stuff… do you listen to music while you paint?
Yeah - anything from the Deaftones, Tom Waits, and I also have a lot of classical music in there- like dark classical- Bella Bartok…
Favorite Brooklyn bar?
The shop! Everyday after work this summer we’d stop, get beer, go to the shop—- we have a lot of toys to play with there. We started playing igloo frisbe- which just means we’d take the top off of a cooler and throw it around. Actually we’d end up hurting ourselves pretty bad, but you can’t really do that anywhere else. I also like the Turkey’s Nest on Bedford and N12. I live Dive bars—the Alligator on Metropolitan is good too.