Jason Anfinsen likes to be heard. As a DJ, he has graced the ears of audiences in Florida, New York (at the Virgin Megastore, the world's largest), and, currently, Seattle, where he works at the city's most popular alt-rock station, 107.7 The End. The rest of his time is spent with his 'excuse to make art,' Jerk Alert Productions, where his independently released book, Stab at Sleep, has just entered its second pressing. The book, along with the many other projects he helms as Jerk Alert's Artistic Director, has been receiving rave reviews in the underground community. I recently shared a cup of coffee with Anfinsen, who, after grabbing me a stack of napkins to clean the coffee I had spilled all over my arm, shared his insights on art's relationship to mainstream culture, and his role within it.
Since you founded Jerk Alert in 2001, you've been involved in just about everything.
Yeah, I would say it's a "production company," but that kinda sounds gay to me. It is more of a collective, more of collaboration, with no real confinement. We look at ourselves as kind of like this artistic octopus, with all of these different tentacles out there.
What does it mean to be a conduit between mainstream culture and underground artistry?
I think what we're really saying is, we see whats happening in the mainstream culture. We see television ads that are done by really cool artists. You can't take that away. I'm not going to go buy Nike shoes because I saw a really kick-ass ad, but you always see super cool ads. We will continue to control all of our projects artistically and internally. And if we can do that, and then somebody can air our stuff on television or put it out in a book, then we'll come to that decision when we want to.
Your website describes Stab at Sleep as fuckjaw poetry. What exactly is that?
I guess when most people think of poetry they think of Shakespeare, or sonnets with, I don't know, roses in a garden, and drinking lemonade and wearing a bonnet over your head. So I just threw in the old 'fuckjaw' in there just to mix it up. That's kind of my forte. Just coming into a blank room, throwing shit everywhere, and seeing what sticks. Then I leave and let everyone else deal with it.