Romance, Art, & Whisky: Glenfiddich Choose Canadian Jon Sasaki As Their 2015 Artist In Residence

Andy Fairgrieve, Adelina Vlas, Julian Sleath, Dr. Sara Diamond, Beth Havers, Jon Sasaki and Dave Dyment

Since 2002 Glenfiddich has chosen over 100 artists from around the world to join them on the pastoral grounds of their Dufftown, Scotland distillery. An incredible living gallery space that has to date seen 9 Canadian artists visit these hollowed and scotch soaked grounds.

This multiple disciplinary program curated by the dreadlock and kilt wearing Andy Fairgrieve has touched on every aspect of art, from the sexual and surreal images of Daniel Barrow to the artifact and sculptural ideals of Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky. With each passing year and the continued commitment of the Glenfiddich family the program only becomes richer and more valuable to the art world as a whole.

Special 10 Year Old Cask Sample (2)

2015 may just be the year the program truly matures.

There is something magic in the production of scotch – after all there are easier ways to make a drink. You have to be a romantic, committed to the work and the methods that have been handed down to you. It’s a framework and way of seeing that has fallen out of favour in much of the art world, where pop art, celebrity, and the new bold visual style of street art dominates. I doubt strongly that the word ‘timeless’ was thrown around too often at Art Basel this year.

In this kind of contemporary climate, the quiet grounds of Glenfiddich are an anachronism and perfect for an artist like Jon Sasaki. Jon’s a romantic by disposition.

Jon Sasaki, 2015 Canadian Glenfiddich Artists in Residence Prize Recipient

Q: If you had to pick one, Don Quixote or Icirrus?

A: “Don Quixote, I don’t think I’ve ever flown close enough to the sun to risk melting…”

His work can be playful, sarcastic, and youthful, but at it’s core is a Don Quixote-sque sensibility, where daring to see dreams made real creates a narrative. It’s art made richer when reach beings to extend grasp. It’s fighting windmills in the age of solar power.

Art installation -The Romatic Journey Was Usually a Soliatry One

Jon makes the best of a bad situation transforming a tandem bicycle back into a romantic bike ride for one.

For his 2015 Canadian Glenfiddich Artists in Residence Jon’s extended his dreams larger than ever before.

With only a dog eared copy of 1980’s Popular Mechanics to guide him, Jon plans is to spend the spend the summer building a DYI plane using only materials he can beg, borrow, or steal from the grounds of the distillery. A project he’ll document and record,  creating artifacts of the process along the way.

Glenfiddich cocktail, A Stormy Night in Speyside

“What’s the worst that could happen?” – Jon Sasaki as he sips a rare single barrel Glenfiddich from 2002.

Jon’s vision is equal parts romantic vision of the future, Burning Man-esque Maker Fair, and Right Brothers dreams of seeing the world from a above the clouds, all without spending a dime.

Now only time will tell if Jon’s art will take soar or come crashing to the ground, yet regardless of the outcome he’ll shape a story for the ages along the way.

For more in the Gelfiddich program visit: