OK Halloween was a few days ago, but is it a reason not to try to find some scary drawers within the rock posters designers ? No, of course not, this is the reason why Jason Cooper is more than welcomed today, with his skate/metal background, drinking blood from the likes of Jim Phillips, Pushead or Kozik. So turn your crosses down, grab your board and listen to the Black Heart words (indeed, read them).
These days, it’s my Pandora station, which alternates between Mazzy Star, Pharoah Sanders, and D.R.I., mixed with the sounds of 9 mischievous cats fighting for my attention.
Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do? When did you start drawing?
I was born and raised in a small town in the “bible belt” of the south. My main interests were drawing, skateboarding, and playing guitar. I was a typical metalhead outcast who was constantly being accused of worshiping Satan by my teachers and fellow students, much to my delight. This became my fuel to succeed in life by drawing skulls and demons, and scaring the shit out of ignorant people.
My school never offered art classes, so my “lessons” involved checking out monster books from the library and teaching myself to draw werewolves and vampires, along with the members of KISS in full costume and makeup. I was even Paul Stanley for Halloween one year, but all of my neighbors thought I was trying to be an indian!
Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living ?
I have been working from home for about 7 years now and surviving (sometimes barely) only on my art.
Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?
My client work varies greatly, but I have been working regularly with Seedless Clothing, Tunnel Skateboards, and MUM (a local music store that regularly books bands).
My influences have always been skateboard graphics (mostly from the 80’s), Punk Rock and Metal album covers, and horror movies. I am also interested in religious iconography and art.
Is there any artists/graphists you particularly like, what are your influences?
I have always been a fan of Pushead (Misfits, Zorlac Skateboards) and Jim Phillips (Santa Cruz Skateboards), along with the poster artists of the early 90’s (Frank Kozik, Alan Forbes, Coop, etc.)
What are the principal steps in your work ?
It always starts a sketch in my sketchbook, which I enlarge and redraw on Bristol paper, scan into my computer, and color in Photoshop. I have a storage building next to my house where I do all of my printing by hand.
I would say it’s an equal mix of both.
How long does it take you to do a poster?
It can take anywhere from a few days to a week, depending on the project (and my state of mind).
You have a very distinctive style, are you doing only what you feel like or if tomorrow somebody asks you an oil painting with horses running out of water with a sunset backdrop, is it a problem or are you up for it ?
I still occasionally have to do graphic work (like tshirt designs and logos) that I wouldn’t necessarily put in my portfolio, but they help pay the bills; but if a job comes along that I really dislike, I have the luxury of passing on it.
Some of my favorites have been Built to Spill, Deadboy and the Elephantmen, My Morning Jacket, Dax Riggs, and Jucifer.
For which band would you love to work?
I think most of the bands that I would really love to work with aren’t around anymore!
Do you choose the artists yourself?
Lately, I’ve been working mostly with local venues, but if a band contacts me and I like their music, I’ll be happy to work with them.
What is the most difficult part in designing a poster ?
Staring at a blank page and trying to figure out where to start.
gigposters 2 book, how did you find yourself involved in it ?
I was contacted by Clay (gigposters.com creator), whom I’ve met several times at the Flatstock poster shows and was asked to submit art for the book, which of course I was happy to do.
Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else ?
These days I’m more of a hermit. I don’t travel to shows as much as I used to, but I still keep up with my peers in the poster scene through facebook and gigposters.com.
A bit of self-promotion, take advantage of it, it's free, where can we see your work , on the web or in real life?
My website is http://www.blackheartstudios.com/ and my facebook page is www.facebook.com/BlackheartStudios. My work can also be seen in books like “The Art of Modern Rock”, “Gigposters 2”, “Swag 2”, “The Art of Electric Frankenstein”, and “Panda Meat”.
Just today I saw a photo of a pumpkin carved with my “SkullKiss” image which was used by the band “Slightly Stoopid”. I also think it’s cool when I see my art tattooed on people. That’s quite a commitment!
What can we wish you for the future?
My wish for the future is to survive the christian zombie apocalypse and continue doing the devil’s work.
Thanks for answering my questions and see you soon on the website !!