Jason Edmiston has become, in only a few years, one of the biggest artistic figures of the pop culture and Geek-Art scene. After a few years working for advertising agencies and magazines (and his early works are still impressive), he quickly took an artistic turn in the world of posters, thanks to Mondo, the renown Texan gallery from Austin who quickly bet on his talent. With a paintbrush or a tablet, Jason indeed succeeds into bringing an amazing sense of power in his paintings, with an art direction close to perfection. Each piece is a masterpiece.
The Canadian artist has always been inspired by horror and sci-fi movies, and monsters and creatures quickly became his signature. Geek-Art remembers one of his first solo shows at Mondo, offering dozens of pop culture baddies all the glory they deserved… Appart from Mondo, Jason Edmiston worked with toy brands NECA and Super7, painting for them some amazing He-Man, Skeletor, Jason Vorheese or Freddy Krueger packagings…
Jason Edmiston is a force of painting. He masters colors and layers, and has an incredible sense of composition. An artist with a big A, who really deserved a book on his career. And it was about time ! New French publisher Cernunnos released VISCERAL: The art of Jason Edmiston (in English of course), with as a cover one of his most thrillings pieces : The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, created for online gallery Grey Matter Art. A book about Jason’s life and career full of advices, sketches, comments, stories, from his most old works to the most recent. An amazing journey in the artist’s head.
And it’s heavy. Almost 300 pages, carboard cover, available for 40 euros. A must have for any horror and art fan. And for everyone else !
Jason was kind enough to answer a few questions, please read if you want to know more about this great artist !
GKRT : How did the idea of publishing such a book came to mind ? Was it your idea ?
Jason Edmiston : I’ve wanted for a long time to collect the work of my career into a book. I put out a couple of small self published yearbook sover the years, but they were just tiny introductions to my pop culture paintings and process. A couple of years ago, Rodolphe Lachat, the French publisher at Huginn and Munnin, had started a new imprint called Cernunnos, and was looking for new pop artists to make books about. They had previously published books on Mark Ryden and Marion Peck, so I was intrigued. Rodolphe seemed very interested in my work, and the current pop art movement that I am a part of, and we really hit it off. I thought we would be a good match for each other, and would be able to compile a comprehensive collection of my art, with lots of insight into their creation.
GKRT : Why now ? And not sooner ? How was it “the right time” ?
JE : When Rodolphe first reached out to me, we started putting together a rough idea of what the book would look like, with images that I had made up to that point. I ‘m guilty of dragging my feet, and it took much longer than we had originally planned to put together a final list of paintings and screen prints. This was partially because I was very busy working on assignments, but a part of me believes that I knew I wasn’t quite ready to sign of on a definitive portfolio. I knew I had a number of major pieces in the works, and must have them for my first “big book”. One of these was my Hateful eight screen prints for Mondo, which turned out to be a very successful, and I was able to push the medium in a new direction technically. I had to include this poster if I wanted my book to feel complete.I had been slowly designing the pacing of the imagery in the book, but once I had a window open in my schedule, I had to write it very quickly, in order to make our publishing deadline.
GKRT : Your work is astounding, and publishing both your recent works and your earlier ones, for the advertising, is brilliant. What went through your mind when you had to review your whole career in a few months ?
JE : My thought was that my early work in advertising and editorial really groomed me for a life in pop culture art. Many of my assignments were of a science fiction or fantasy nature, painting super heroes or monsters, or movie posters as characters or metaphors for products or social commentary, and deadlines were very tight, despite clients wanting a high polish on the final art. These are all things that are part of my daily career now, and I feel like it was good training. My work has improved over the years, and I feel that it’s mainly due to the daily practice that I got all those years on similar subjects, rendering in a similar style. When I switched my career focus from commercial work to mainly collectible art, I appeared fresh, and wholly realized, because the new group of art buyers and collectors had not seen the previous 10 years of development and growing years.
GKRT : What is your favorite piece, and why ?
JE : Probably the Mother of Dragons piece. I love Game of Thrones, and it was my opportunity to render my favorite character as a classic Renaissance portrait, a style that influenced my early art development heavily. It’s also close to me because my wife posed as reference for her body.
GKRT : Such a book, going through your whole career, must bring questions… Do you have any regrets ?
JE : I wish I had learned to paint with a tablet a little earlier, as it would have sped some aspects up as far as my digital work goes, but for the most part, things happened as they were supposed to have happened. I wish I had hit the pop culture market earlier, but it didn’t exist as it does now, when I was young. I’m just happy to be doing what I love now.
GKRT : What was the most important encounter in your career ?
JE : The most important encounter in my career has probably been my relationship with Mondo (the poster and collectible company out of Austin, TX), as it opened up my work to countless new eyes, allowed me to work in the new exciting medium of screen printing, and provided me with incredibly valuable art direction, which has pushed my abilities further than I thought possible. Artist’s careers can be viewed as a chain reaction in some ways though, because it’s all about networking and experience. My relationship with Mondo wouldn’t have developed, had it not been for the introduction to them by Ben Scrivens at Fright rags, a fabulous horror based t-shirt company that is also very important to me.
GKRT : Could you tell us a bit about your future projects ?
JE : I’m working on new horror toy packaging for NECA toys, new Masters of the Universe art for Super 7, and a couple of BIG screen printed posters for Mondo. On top of that, I’ll be exhibiting for the first time at Designer Con this weekend in California. A lot of my friends and favorite artists and toy designers will be exhibiting there as well. Should be a great opportunity to network.