How Are You Today – Jake Preval

Jake Preval

How Are You Today – Episode 12


Instagram handle @Jakepreval


Kiera Brew Kurec 0:02
Hi and welcome to Pro Prac. I’m Kiera Brew Kurec.

Nick Breedon 0:05
And I’m Nick Breedon. You’re listening to How Are You Today? A spin off series where we call an artist and check in with how Coronavirus is affecting them, and ask them to share their worries and their hopes for the future.

Hey, Jake, how are you going?

Jake Preval 0:25
Really good.

Doing good. It’s a really nice sunny day where we are right now. So that’s always nice.

Such a lovely day. I’m currently sitting on the balcony. The sun in Coburg lux my two dogs are at my feet it’s a real scene.

Sounds great. That sounds like a really nice Friday afternoon.

Yeah, I’m doing work from home. I work Friday, Saturday, Sunday. So I’m actually at work right now.

I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind sharing with us how you may have been affected by COVID-19, either, personally, professionally, in your practice or in any other area?

Yeah, obviously, it’s been a strange and uncertain times everyone. But for me, it’s actually been a great time I have really loved being in lockdown. Like, I think 2019 was a fucked year for me in terms of like mental health, and just like arts burn out. And I spent a long time last year being like fuuuucck I wish I would get hit by a bus so I could just stop. Like, I just wanted the world to stop. Which is like, that’s dark. And I feel much better now. But anyway, then the world did stop. And it is amazing. Like, for me, I had built up a lot of pressure. And like being able to just genuinely recharging regenerate, without the pressure to produce, which is self-inflicted, you know, like the dirty rat wheel of my own making, but to give myself time, over the last couple of months, without guilt, just like you know what there is nothing to do, I don’t have to pretend be a productive artist. You know, it’s been really rewarding, and I feel actually ready now to make heaps of work. And I’m excited about that.

That’s really great. I’m wondering on your perspective on that in terms of like, it feels to me, like people are more willing to give each other space and time around, you know, like, their mental health and checking in with people and being like, hey, like, you know, we’re working on this, but like, how are you going? Or do you need some more time or like, kind of factoring in the humanity of each other, rather than just us kind of being these like robots on total output mode all the time?

I totally agree. It’s forced everyone to, to create that space. And that’s why like the easing of lockdown. Like, obviously, we have to return to life. But it’s sort of, for me to have a little bit sad, like the sooner we go back like the less potential there is for like a radical reimagining of how we operate.

Kiera Brew Kurec 3:21
I totally feel that!

Jake Preval 3:23
But obviously we do, We do have to return to some sort of semblance of normalcy. But yeah, I think that we’ve got to make sure we take the positives from this and think lots of that is about Well, for me, the big takeaway is is mental health.

Nick Breedon 3:39
Yeah, I suppose it begs the question like, why, you know why we can’t, you know, I think people yeah, like you said, Kiera, that people are giving each other a lot of space and time, but why we don’t give ourselves that space and time either. And, you know, what, why can’t we just have that kindness to ourselves all the time?

Jake Preval 3:59
Yeah. 100%. So that is the key for me. And you know, that’s the key takeaway for it, it’s just like, it’s okay. to slow down and to operate on whatever timescale feels appropriate to you. Don’t take on more like, I mean, I don’t say yes to every, you know, think twice, mental health strategy. It’s a hard learning actually take on board, you know, because we’re trained to be like, every opportunity is a gold!

Yeah. And also, it’s this kind of weird thing at the moment as well, where like, so for so many people, our opportunities have been taken away for showing, so there is a pressure to kind of also say yes to things because it’s like, oh, that could give me some income or that gives me an opportunity to share what I’m working on. But it’s like…

Absolutely. Yeah, that’s now a tricky balance and those are legitimate and it’s a great sadness of this whole thing is we’ve lost a whole year of culture, like no matter how you cut it, particularly in like the performing arts, like there’s just no, we cannot reschedule everything like things are lost. And that is a great loss to everyone. Yeah, its shithouse.

Nick Breedon 5:16
Yeah. Have you? Have you found anything? Like, are you working on anything, any projects at the moment while you’ve been in lockdown

Jake Preval 5:26
We have a seven month old baby she’s delicious. So she takes up a lot.

Nick Breedon 5:34
That’s a big project

Jake Preval 5:36
It’s a big fucking project. We are co-parenting with a friend of ours. So lots of lockdown has been the like hanging out with her and it’s been so great. And so that’s taking up most of my time. While other things I’m teaching myself to play the harp, that’s been a great fun thing to do also have gone like gangbusters on the cottage industry and made like a million feijoa jams and chutneys. And like, deep into the jar club mentality. And, but in terms of actual art making hmmmm Look, I’ve enjoyed taking the foot off the accelerator and sort of allowing actually to not not think about it. But I am getting back into it. And what’s be really helpful, actually, I signed up to do this Draw in project project by Kari Lee McInneny-McRae and Bridget Ryan it’s a little Instagram thing. We do a drawing and send it to someone and then they respond and send it back. I just done a couple of drawings through that. And it’s really nice to return to drawing as a practice, I used to draw heaps, and then I lost it. And drawing became like a shorthand for ideas, I have hundreds of workbooks that they just like a illegible scrawl, and all sort of shorthand for bigger ideas. And to return to the drawing as an end to itself. It’s been really nice and something I think that I will continue.

Yeah, that’s really nice. And have you created any new routines while you’ve been in isolation.

New routines, absolutely I have become gymarexic. I’ve found myself through the medium of sports. And it seems so good. And so one of the Hemsworth brothers has like a fitness club. And I ended up signing up for the free trial. And it’s really good, actually, you know, all of the doctors are like, sports is good for your mental health. It turns out, it really is, I feel so much better. And then I’m going to have a six pack for Christmas thank you very much. Just full body transformation. (Laughter)

Nick Breedon 7:59
I feel like there’s gonna be two kinds of people are going to be really fit people and really fat people. And I’m going to be one of the really fat people.

Jake Preval 8:09
Look both are great life choices.

Nick Breedon 8:10
Exactly. (Laughter)

It is funny, Now we can sort of start gathering in bigger groups, etc. And everyone is like re learning social laws, like everyone is a bit stressed and green and doesn’t quite know how to be together again. It’s quite an interesting dynamic. Like, we used to hang out all the time. It was 2 months ago and suddenly we’re like ahhhh! (Laughter)

do we like, what do? do we shake hands? Or like, what’s the like, what’s the deal

Jake Preval 8:38
Oh my God and I’m a real hugger. I don’t know where that leaves me to.

Kiera Brew Kurec 8:44
Yeah, me too

Nick Breedon 8:45
I think I think that’s also just like that we don’t have it’s not even that we’ve forgotten how to relate this that we actually don’t know how to communicate when we can’t rely on those behaviours that we would just always fall back on. Like, you know, like a hug when you greet someone like how do you how you express your excitement and joy to see someone when you can’t hug them?

Jake Preval 9:07
Just kind of trips you up a little bit. And also no one’s been fucking doing anything so it’s just been like well we going to get some miles under our belt so we have some hot goss to chew over. (Laughter)

Kiera Brew Kurec 9:19

Jake Preval 9:23
Is there anything that you’re currently worried about?

Look like financial woes are real, you know? And I think that that’s sure everyone is really going through that. And both as an artist and I also work in the arts, it’s a terrible combination. yeah, look, I’m lucky to have this one job that I’m doing today but that finishes next week and then I’m unemployed so I’m worried about that. And like I guess I’m worried Yeah, how we return the world, also we’ve got a baby so it’s probably not going to be that different for us anyway you know. But we did move to a lovely new house in Coburg and Coburg is great.

And, and the kind of flip side of that, is there anything that you’re hopeful for?

I’m excited to go and see art again I am gaging to, like, get to a gallery, I, I don’t really liked the internet very much. I’m not very good at it. And, like, I know, lots of galleries have done a great job trying to engage people through that medium. But it just doesn’t translate for me, I really need to be there in person. So I am excited that we can start doing that again soon, and start regenerating and getting excited about art.

I found myself really looking forward to that too. And especially when you kind of sometimes, like you said, as well, when you’re in a kind of burnout phase sometimes I really hate up art.

Nick Breedon 11:07
Don’t want to look at it, doing want to see another fucking sock on a stick ever again. (Laughter)

Jake Preval 11:13
It’s really nice to be excited about it and excited about what it means to be… I think I’ve had a lot of time and we’ve kind of spoken to other guests about this to like, interrogate the question of why I practice and what my practice does. And so it’s kind of really nice and exciting to kind of re-enter the world with a passion and that I haven’t had for a while.

Amen, absolutely. I have been so at sea like fuck art it’s a crock of shit but I’m back baby, I love it again! (Laughter).

Nick Breedon 11:48
Yeah, yeah, definitely excited about going to that, you know, going to the show when you walk out and you just yeah, that was a really good show.

Jake Preval 11:56
Yeah, absolutely. Gorgeous little WhatsApp group, like oh I saw a show! I’m ready to drop some hot content on there soon.

Great. Oh, just before we wrap up, do you have a Instagram or a website? Or both that you would like to share with the audience?

Look I’m non-committal about Instagram, but you should look at it and see what I posted last year. (Laughter) Honestly, honestly, every year I’m like New Year’s resolution, do better on the internet. And that’s now for 2021. But until then, and I think it’s my name or just @Jakepreval and my website is so you should also look at that. hot plug there.

Thanks so much, Jake, for taking the time out of your afternoon. Your work afternoon to speak with us today.

Absolute dream thanks for calling.

Kiera Brew Kurec 13:01
Take care.

Nick Breedon 13:03

We respectfully acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we have recorded and pay respect to elders past present and emerging and the elders of the land on which this podcast reaches you on today. We extend that respect to all First Nations people listening and acknowledge that sovereignty has never been ceded.

Jake Preval 13:24
How are you today has been generously supported by the city of Melbourne’s quick response grants. Follow us at @propracpodcast on Instagram or email us at If you haven’t already, please subscribe on whatever you listen to podcast on.

Nick Breedon 13:40
Please stay in touch. We’d love to hear what you’re up to as well.

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Pro Prac acknowledges City of Melbourne’s generous contribution to How Are You Today? through their Quick Response grants program