Saturday, March 22, 2014

Jason Shawn Alexander

Here's an exciting artist that I consider the strongest I've seen yet in the new Creepy magazine (went ahead and bought the #5-8 bundle too) - Jason Shawn Alexander. I had seen some of his work before, and Kent Williams has painted him a few times, as they're good friends. I didn't know they had shared a studio.

Excerpts from an interview posted on Optimum Wound:

Self-taught or formally educated? (or mixture of both, mentors etc…)
Self taught. But I think that deserves more of a definition. I think most people think of self taught as natural talent that you just draw and draw and it refines itself. No. it means taking on the work of a school, yourself. I was a sponge with art. I would copy artists I loved, push my own work, force myself to open my eyes to art I didn’t understand yet…. I’m fairly proud of my art book collection. And finally, i moved to North Carolina after meeting George Pratt. I spent a year hanging with him in his studio, learning how to push and mature my work method and then meeting Kent Williams who has since become one of my best friends. We shared a studio for a couple of years and I learned a lot by watching him or asking him things. Since then, I’ve put away a lot of the other influences I have and try to work from myself. Find my own voice.

Tools of the trade: Taking a quick glance over at your pens, brushes etc…what tools have you mainly been using over the last few years?
Gillott 303 nibs. any sharp brush I can find and not spend a lot on. Razor blades are a must.
Favorite brand of ink:
Dr Ph. Martins Black Star Hicarb. Nothing beats it.
Type of paper:
Between Strathmore cold press water color paper 22×15 or when I really want to do something different with the ink, Arches water color cold press 18×24 cut in half.

Which artists or creators do you return to for a quick boost of inspiration? Who are the masters of ink?
Masters of ink? Ralph SteadmanBarron Storey. Rico Lebrun. Leonard BaskinJose Munoz. Those guys make it hard to look through an entire book without just drawing your ass off.
Once a client has handed off an illustration job to you, how do you first tackle the job. Could you provide us with a quick overview of your process?
After looking it over, I try to figure out the approach that would best fit it and what i want to try. More realistic, more experimental, etc. Then I try to get the feel for it, sketching out ideas for the characters. And then, really, just trying to top my last project. I honestly try to work like I think Andrew Wyeth
or Ralph Steadman might see what I did. I try to put my mind into never hacking out a single panel. I want to leave something behind after I’m gone and I want to be fucking impressive. So, To prep for a project I just try to get in a mind space that will allow me to totally invest myself.
 What would you tell an aspiring artist who is working his ass off but still needs and wants to break through to the next level?
Don’t rush. No short cuts. Even when I think I’ve considered every element on a piece, I see somebody that makes me realize I could have done more. And since we are talking about ink, draw every day, but do it with your inking equip. I carry my little bottle and quill with me to the coffee shop. I only sketch with ink. It really does make you a stronger draftsman and inker. That will refine your eye and your hand even more.

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