I was introduced to Jared Moraitis – a.k.a. BeastPop – back in 2008, quickly after I started Teezine. His awesome, old school comic-based art really touched an old comic fan in me. Apart from being informed on his new projects via his blog and email newsletters I would often come across some of his T-shirt designs here and there, such as very popular ZOMBAMA one. Not only that this was a great idea and much better realization, but Jared decided to do a “comeback” version of it, featuring more zombified details. That version won a gold medal in 2010 Teezine T-shirt Olympics as best T-shirt design. Being that talented and creative no wonder more and more people get interested in his works. With new projects in the works Jared also has some great new ideas, so make sure you read what he had to say when I asked him a couple off questions.
When did you find out you have a drawing talent and what were your first drawings, what did you draw in your earliest stage?
I decided, after careful consideration and planning (and lots of flow-charts) that I should become an artist at the tender age of about 3 when I broke out the crayons and cut loose with a very primitive, yet elaborate, mural on my parents’ den wall featuring some of my awkwardly-imagined creations. It was all downhill from there. Most of my earliest drawings involved the creature from ALIEN or elaborate space battles featuring the cast of STAR WARS and THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.
Who were the artists you looked up to when developing your style and how did they influence you?
I like a lot of classic illustrators and pulp artists –Norman Rockwell, Mucha, Elvgren, Leyendecker, Frazetta, J. Allen St. John – but I also dig on a lot of gig poster art, comic book art (Mignola, Canete, Simonson, etc) and European artists. I pay close attention to their compositional skills and what they can do with line, light and form.
What else influences you in everyday life, be it music, movies, food, drinks, books or anything like that?
My life has been basted in pop-culture, Saturday morning cartoons, toys, comic books, horror and sci-fi movies, pulp-fiction and other assorted lowbrow cultural stigma. I love music of the rock/metal/punk/industrial slant, but I also dig classical, some pop, and maybe some soul or blues at times. I love reading comics and genre fiction and watching any stimulating TV or movies that interest me.
How would you describe your artwork to a blind person?
Sheesh! Um… Okay, jam your thumbs into your eyes hard enough to be mildly painful. You see all those weird colors and sparkles? Imagine those colors and sparkles frozen into sharp lines and jagged edges. Now keep that thought in your mind as you gather up a handful of silverware, wrap it in tinfoil and microwave it on high for 30 seconds while pressing your forehead against the microwave door. You should get the same sensation as you would if you absorbed all of my art at once.
Can you explain what’s the usual process when you develop your artwork from the scratch?
I am constantly jotting down notes to capture some of the weird ideas that pop into my head or inspiration that is triggered from other stimuli. When I’m ready to form one of those ideas into a piece of art, I’ll do rough sketches until I get a skeletal composition then I’ll blow it up, and hang meat on that skeleton’s bones until it resembles something moderately cool and interesting. Then I’ll process to tinker and bang at it until it’s done (usually using brush, ink and pen with computer aided colors).
What were your first professional engagements?
I did some sorry shirt designs for a defunct MMA fight gear company, various low-profile T-shirt designs, and then I entered a fairly long stretch as a concept artist for an online game project that ran out of money and never materialized.
What were the craziest offers you ever got and what are the project you’re most proud of?
I did a design for another fight gear company that had zombies as it’s theme. What zombies have to do with mixed martial arts I’ll never know! Thematically, I haven’t had many crazy offers (my idea of crazy is probably different from the average person, though). Most of the really crazy offers involve offers of insultingly low amounts of money for valuable work. The project I’m most proud of as far as notoriety goes is my ZOMBAMA design, parodying Shepard Fairey’s Obama HOPE poster. It’s gotten quite a lot of attention and has been ripped-off and bootlegged quite a bit! I am my own worst critic, though, and I always see things I could change or improve with every design as soon as I’m “finished”.
You also like to design T-shirts. Would you perhaps develop your own clothing line and why not, if so?
Funny you should ask – plans are afoot at this very moment to launch a clothing line (with the help of a very special person) later this year. I will be incorporating prints, buttons, and stickers, as well as vinyl toys somewhere down the line. Just gotta work out the details and finances. Stay tuned.
Your ZOMBAMA design made quite a stir among T-shirt lovers. What motivated you to do it and how did you decide to make a ZOMBAMA RETURNS version? Also, what do you think about Obamas politic?
I saw Fairey’s HOPE poster being parodied all over the place, so I thought I’d put my own unique and irreverent spin on it, also poking fun at Fairey’s infamy as an appropriation artist. There is no political meaning behind the piece, however. I really don’t keep up with politics much, as it it a frustrating and often futile arena. My own personal politics are somewhat middle-of-the road. Neither side has it right.
What are your personal beliefs and standpoints? How would you describe yourself as a person?
I’m a fairly reasonable, level-headed and courteous person. I don’t allow myself to get too serious about most things, but there are things that I am very serious about, and I always study and research things before formulating opinions and solidifying beliefs. I don’t like to stir things up too much and I don’t insert many (if any) of my beliefs and standpoints into my art. My art is about fun, oddity, and playfulness, for the most part, and I like to keep the personal stuff reserved for people I have a personal relationship with. I’ll let some of that stuff slip in the occasional blog or Facebook post, though.
What are you working on at the moment?
Right now I’m working on a personal DONKEY KONG tribute design, as well as some character designs for an iPhone game, and a few other miscellaneous commissioned t-shirt designs. Also chipping away at plans for the launch of BeastPop as a brand of merchandise later on.
What are the projects you would like to work on in future?
I want to do more skateboard deck designs. I would also love to do some album covers and/or T-shirt designs for some of my favorite bands. I’d love to design vinyl toys and animated characters. There are also a couple of old pop-culture properties from my youth that have not yet been reinvented that I’d like to be involved in redesigning. I also want to do the cereal box art for this year’s seasonal reemergence of the General Mills monsters cereals (Count Chocula, Frankenberry, Boo-Berry), but I want them to include Fruit Brute and Yummy Mummy this time!
You can check Jared’s art here:
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