UVD: Would you mind telling us a little background about yourself (i.e. where your from, when you started designing, etc)?
Jon: Brief version I’m a illustrator and designer mainly working in clothing and accessories for the past 10 years now. But for the past two years now I’ve been working in the toy world, specifically in die-cast and r/c at Maisto International. I got started in the clothing industry back in 2003 when my homie Maxx242 saw potential in me and that’s how I started at Famous Stars and Straps. But I was surrounded by artwork my entire life. My Mom is an artist, my GrandParents on both sides are artist. So I was exposed to many different styles of art thru out my early childhood.
UVD: Can you tell the readers about some of the designs that you came up with when you were first starting out and how designs have progressed over the years? Also, what are some things that influence you and your work? And is there any artist’s work that inspired you and your style early on in your career?
Jon: In the beginning it was 2002 and the in thing if you wanna call it that was high contrast photo images. Basically it was like doing photocopies but with a scanner. So many of my first designs were done in that style, but since then I have really focused more on illustration and developing my technique. And I really feel the past 2 years I have grown quite a bit in my abilities. I try and learn something new everyday, and you never know everything so in art you will learn till the day you stop breathing.
Influences man that’s another one of those things, it depends on which way the wind blows that day…. Really whatever I’m getting into at the time. This entire year I have really been into vintage racing and aviation imagery. And in the DSTROYR line you can pretty much see it in every piece released this year.
Artist that has inspired me in the beginning. Easy one, my Mom is an artist and she can do pretty much anything. Pushead he was a major influence in my teens and I’m honored to know him now in my adult life. Frazetta the master of illustration no one will every touch his skills.
Question 3: You have done many designs for clothing lines over the years do you have a personal favorite that you did?
Jon: That’s a tough one…. I will pick four that currently strike me as favs right now.
1. TDF Jazzy Louie (2008 think it was released in 2009)2. Cruise & Comfort logo (2011)
3. Vaughn Gitten Jr. Monster (2010)
4: Gonzo The Great (Muppets x DSTROYR 2011)
DSTROYR – Deeds Not Words (2011)
UVD: Besides making art what are some of your other hobbies?
Jon: wrenching on my 1967 Nova, playing video games, trying to get time to watch interesting movies. Mainly HK action, documentaries, and car related films.
UVD: You recently did a big show for Disney and The Muppets Movie. Would you mind telling us a little bit about how you got involved and what it was like working with those iconic characters?
Jon: It was a project that Noah Fine Art had in the works for a few years, and it finally got the green light during the summer. So it was a great experience, they let us do what we wanted to and that was awesome. I grew up watching The Muppets show when I was super young, so getting the chance to recreate those characters was a childhood dream. And then having two days at Down Town Disney D Street store to do signings and demos was a new highlight in my art career. I really hope we get to that again soon, so much fun! Don’t sleep the NFA Collective Muppets collection is still available for a short time at Disneyland, and Disneyworld D Street. Sorry had to throw in a plug….
UVD: Do you have anything that you like to collect?
Jon: I used to collect almost anything and everything. Mainly vintage video game systems, g shocks, beer related items. I have stepped away from collecting kicks, now I just wear my collection.
UVD: A few years back you were in the Sk8ology show. What inspired your piece and what was it like being in such an awesome show?
Jon: That show was so awesome!!! If my memory is correct I just thought it would be cool to have a classic image on a skate deck. That was pretty much it, not gonna lie I thought it would be a good look on the board.
UVD: A lot of your pieces you use air brushing. Are there challenges working with air brushing that other artist may not face?
Jon: No ctrl z (no undo)
UVD: What is your personal favorite medium to work on? And why?
Jon: I would say drawing is still a huge favorite for me, it’s where it all begins. Which I think many people forget since many of us now work in a digital workflow. A very close second would be analog airbrushing, something about black, and grey airbrushing that I love.
UVD: Do you have a personal favorite piece that you have done over the years? or is this like asking you to pick a favorite child?
Jon: My Frankenstein airbrush piece I would say is still one of my personal favorites. I flew back home from New York sat down and spent 8 hours straight on it as soon as I walked in the door. The next day I finished it up in I think another 4-5 hours. Not sure why I had to do it but I know I needed to as soon as I got home.
UVD: I realize that I have asked specifically about some of your designs, are there some that I did not ask about that you wish to take a moment to talk about?
Jon: The computer is a tool that can help streamline your process, they don’t create the artwork the person in front of it does.
UVD: Are there any future projects that you wish to discuss for the reader to keep their eyes open for in the future?
Jon: Doing the Obey Your Master show in January 2012 that’s a big one it’s with METALLICA! Shortly after that is Gag Me With A Toon 2012, and They Came From The Streets2. That’s what I have planned so far for art shows. Formula Drift Season starts in April and I will be working on DSTROYR team members products for that right after New Years.
UVD: What would your encouragements/suggestions be for artists/designers that are either just starting out or who are trying to get themselves noticed?
Jon: Keep working and it, and get involved with you local scene. Utilize all the tools available to you to help reach out to the world. It’s not easy and it will require many hours of late nights and sacrifice but if you really want it the rewards are endless.
UVD: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us. Are there any parting words you wish to say to the reader?
Jon: Thank you for the opportunity for this interview and my take on the header for the site! And to your readers keep on keeping on!