HERRON: Do you still have time to make your personal work? Is it hard to balance your day job with making art?

JAGER PALAD: I do have time to make my work, and that's one of the biggest benefits to having this job. It puts me in proximity of the facilities and the equipment that allow me to make my work and I don't have to pay to work here—which is a big deal for print makers. The thing that I would say is hard is just energy. That’s something I didn't realize when I was in graduate school, or when I was younger. You think, “Oh I made this art piece, I have more energy than before, I can do this forever!” But then you go through a full day of helping other people with their projects and by the time you get home you're like, “Man I'm tired. I just kind of want a cup of tea. Maybe I'll look at some ideas that I could do with my work tomorrow.” But you have to force yourself to stay up for another hour, do the print. I have plenty of friends that aren't in print shops that don't have these resources, so I have to make it happen.

HERRON: Do you have a pep talk that you give yourself when you get home and think, “I don't want to make art today.”?

JAGER PALAD: Yes, totally! I get home and I never want to do anything! The first thing I do is let my dog out, and then I sit down with a cup of tea. I usually think, “Can I take tonight off to just not do anything?” And then I'm like, “Yeah we could.” And then five minutes go by, and I think, “Oh we don't have to, we could get that one thing done and then we'll feel that much better.” And then another five minutes go by, and my tea is done. And then I tell myself, “Okay, let me just put in a solid two hours and then I'm done.” That always helps—admitting that I don’t want to work right now, but then realizing that I'd be so much happier if I did. Being out of school and not having somebody that holds you to the deadlines any more is tough—if I don't force myself to make my work, nobody will. I love my work and I love making it, but weeks can go by and I could just not make it. That's why I like having shows because they keep me accountable.

HERRON: How do you get your shows?

JAGER PALAD: All my shows have come from meeting people. I have a show up at the Central Library that was offered to me by one of the curators of the library because they heard of me doing those print workshops I mentioned earlier. This person reached out to me asked if I wanted to do a show and I said, “That’d be fantastic.” Another show right at the end of 2023 came from a guy that I met at a residency that I did the summer before. After I got home, he hit me up along with some of the other residents and he was like, “Hey I got an opportunity for a show, do you all want to send me a piece and we can do a show?”

I think if you put yourself out there, and you keep trying to find ways to do your work and to support your work, you’ll get more opportunities because people are going to notice you and they're going to notice that you have the passionate energy they want to work with. They’ll think it's going to be less effort on their part to work with you because you're so passionate and you're putting yourself out there.

HERRON: How do you face the blank paper?

JAGER PALAD: Honestly, I haven't had to in years because I'm still in the process of creating new work out of all my mistakes. I have not touched a blank piece of paper in years. Even the recent lithos I've done were from snapshots of prints that didn't work out from other projects that I had spliced together.

So I don’t ever really approach the blank canvas anymore but when I do, it's really about making a bunch of marks first and then trying to fix whatever problem happens.  I cause problems and then my mind naturally thinks, "Well that's not balanced," and then once I take care of that, I think, “Hey that color is not great,” and then fix that. And before you know it, I'm making it, but in my mind I just presented myself with problems and I'm just taking advantage of my mind’s natural ability to want to fix those problems. That usually gets me through the first hour and then I can sit back and be like okay, do I have enough momentum to keep going with it?

HERRON: What class should an incoming freshman student not miss at Herron?

JAGER PALAD: Screen printing is probably one of our most popular printmaking classes and it's the most accessible, too—it doesn't scare people as much as lithography. I would say go for screen printing first if you're interested, and if you like screen printing and you're willing to go for more printmaking, then try lithography next. There aren’t a lot of litho setups in other shops in America. These kind of setups are actually pretty rare. We have a premier litho setup, so take advantage of it!