JP KING (born Jason Peter King Hlynsky, Toronto, 1985) is a writer, designer, and educator. His work is characterized by its abundance of eclectic metaphors and playful fictions, which he uses to recontextualize cultural phenomenon, often rendering the familiar as enigmatic and the unexplored as understandable. With a career criss-crossing artistic, scholarly, and commercial terrains, King maintains a long-standing obsession with the space between the desirable and the discarded, the esoteric and the accessible, the expected and the experimental. what’s cherished and included versus what’s discarded and ignored.
King’s most active current projects include: PAPER PUSHER (a boutique publishing imprint, Risograph-driven laboratory printing firm, and print-culture advocacy organization); PAPIRMASS.COM (an affordable mass-market art-subscription service co-owned by his wife, the muralist KIRSTEN McCREA); and THE DEPARTMENT OF DISCARD CULTURE (a semi-fictional research centre focused upon the subjects world of waste, disposal behaviour, and letting go in all its forms). Other current projects include THE NOMADIC RESIDENCY COUNCIL, THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS, and THE SUPPER CLUB. V-MAG and DINNERDINNER.
As an illustrator, King’s client list includes: PENGUIN UK, CHRONICLE BOOKS, OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, FAST COMPANY MAGAZINE, and SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN MAGAZINE NEW SCIENTIST MAGAZINE. King is also: the author of various essays, articles, features, and books; the leader of various lectures, workshops, seminars, and conference talks; and the recipient of various awards, grants, scholarships, and residencies. For details, please review his CV, available via LINKEDIN.
With an MFA from OCAD University, King regularly teaches courses related to design, publishing, material culture, and creative/investigative methodology. He currently lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
As a writer, designer, and educator, I operate at the intersection of cultural study, media production, and creative entrepreneurship. Working independently half the time, in collaboration with other interdisciplinary doers/makers/thinkers the other half, I’m obsessed with ideas, themes, and phenomena that are typically discarded and/or ignored but nonetheless critical to the trajectory of human development, consumer culture, and Western civilization.
Through my work, I consider myself an agent of collective awareness, improvement, and optimization. Sometimes, this requires me to advocate change and quite literally illustrate potential pathways to make that change happen. Other times, this requires me to valorize what already is but which, for any variety of reasons, may be forgotten, concealed, and/or intentionally in hiding.
My work cannot be monetized, commercialized, nor absorbed into profit-driven initiatives without considerable loss and/or corruption of meaning, depth, and impact. However—when ethical, appropriate, and most of all pleasurable—I embrace opportunities to commercialize my own art, my own design, my own ideas, and my own writing. My only self-imposed condition is that any self-commercialization makes my work available to the widest possible audience, at the lowest possible cost, in a manner that’s financially self-sustaining and therefore independent of all external influence.
Historically, I’ve been most focused upon the idea of discard culture: letting go, disposing of waste, and making distinctions between what’s worth keeping and cherishing versus what deserves to be ejected and erased. That said, I’ve explored other topics, including but not limited to poetry, utopia, nationalism, architecture, and masculinity. Regardless of subject matter, my practice almost always begins with fieldwork, exploring the outer fringes of mass culture, during which I collect and assemble fragments, impressions, and observations. My next step is to bring these assets into my combination studio/laboratory, where I create media objects and contents that double as comments upon themselves and the motifs they’ve absorbed and project back out.
My process follows a simple sequence: collect, transform, display.
AS A DESIGNER & ILLUSTRATOR…
…I reveal hidden contexts, communicate difficult ideas, and engineer positive change through the re-imagining and re-engineering of ingrained, often banal and/or bureaucratic, systems. My designs and illustrations often take the form of diagrams, revealing the processes through which we make/avoid decisions, solve/create problems, acquire/ignore knowledge, and organize our understandings of the worlds in which we live.
AS A WRITER & STORYTELLER…
…I invent elaborate (oftentimes absurd and/or whimsical) fictions, performed across media types and channels, as a means by which to make serious, overwhelming, even depressive subjects (everything from garbage to disorganization) accessible and entertaining. These fictions often take the form of imaginary think tanks and research centres, creating virtual environments in which my collaborators, audiences, and I are free to seek the truth on a variety of pressing social, cultural, and political topics.
AS A SCHOLAR & EDUCATOR…
…I help individuals and organizations to rediscover and capitalize upon their natural curiosity, industriousness, and hunger to explore and experiment as a form of play. Rather than providing standardized lessons and acting as a medium for established facts—functions more efficiently satisfied by search engines than human beings nowadays—I encourage my students to position themselves as operators of information, to think in frameworks and systems, and to transcend discipline by remixing discourse.