When I discovered I was about to interview the Jackson brothers, I thought I would have to ask 5 times the same questions in order to let Jermaine, Tito and the others give their own point of view. Then I realized that, unfortunatly for the music industry, I had no longer to prepare questions for Michael. After a few time, I learned that indeed I had to deal with 2 brothers, well... 2, not really 3 would be more precise...oh god... I am quite lost with this TBone story, so, no more bullsh*t, let the artists speak !!!
Please sit. Right now we're serving some Chad Vangaalen, wrapped in a warm, Bon Iver Blanket. Served with piping hot Beastie Boys on the side. For the main course, whoever we are currently doing a project for.
Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
We are the Jackson Brothers. Tony and Allen (T-Bone &Aljax). We're well rooted here in good old Berks County Pennsylvania with our wives and children. We create with a wide variety of mediums for a wide variety of projects from illustration to video production, primarily for musicians and the music industry.
In the womb.. we would war-paint ourselves in fetus fluid to scare our triplet brother.
Seriously, our earliest memories are of creating art. We grew up drawing and sculpting at all hours of the day, We're the kind of people who won't eat or see natural daylight for as long as we can stand it just because we're that into a project. The rest of the world does not exist while we're in "create mode".
Did you follow any course or did you improve by drawing in the margins of your schoolbooks?
Art courses are what kept us in school. In fact, if we didn't have an art course that day, we would cut and build forts in the forest instead.
Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living ?
We've been entirely self-employed for the past 7 years.
We started doing gig posters for local shows about 12 years ago. We completely stopped in 2005, then did design/ overall visuals for a 64 episode internet show for Heavy.com , as well as random projects such as website design and logos for various products/ businesses. In May of 2009, we met Abnrml (our screen printer) and went full blast back into posters. Also, we got back into creating logos, album covers and music videos for musicians... and have been ever since.
Where does your influence come from? Is there any artists/graphists you particularly like, what are your influences?
We have to say primarily comedians. There are artists, musicians, and directors that we go through short lived obsessions with, but then we grow tired of them and seek out new, as well as old artists that we may have missed. We think it shows a lot in our work. It's different with comedy. We can still listen to the same comedy albums we did when we were kids and laugh our asses off. We were floored when we had the opportunity to design a print for Conan O'Brien, that was a good day.
For the past 18 years it's been Micron pens, mechanical pencils, sharpies and Bristol board. We usually do everything by hand, scan it in, and separate for screens on the computer. Then we'll pick out Pantone and paper /material colors.
How long does it take you to do a poster?
Generally 1 or 2 days, but some of them can take 3 to 4 days. It's hard to tell because we're usually working between several projects at once.
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 ?
We usually don't work by any specific guidelines, but we can match a style if needed, which is where guidelines would come in. Lately, we really enjoy doing as much as we can with as few colors as possible. But, then we have had bands recently that wanted super colorful album covers, and we enjoy doing that too.
Horse sunset... does it have to be oil? Can it be airbrushed on the back of a jean jacket? We say yes to this.
Ween, Chromeo, Queens of the Stone Age, Disco Biscuits, Hot Chip, Elvis Costello, VHS or BETA, Jackson Brown, Duran Duran... this could take awhile, it's really varied.
For which band would you love to work?
TV on the Radio, love them. Or a Yes or Chicago reunion album cover, We always loved their album covers and would love to recreate that style. Also America's $1 funny man.. Neil Hamburger.
Do you choose the artists yourself?
We have, but they mostly contact us.
The concept! It drives us crazy sometimes.. we're listening to a band over and over, getting a feel for their music, when suddenly, an idea hits... the rest is gravy.
You feature in the new gigposters 2 book, how did you find yourself involved in it ?
Clay Hayes contacted us about being in the book in January of last year. I think the hardest part was keeping it a secret until after the book was announced for release... we were pretty excited.
Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else ?
Definitely the gigposter.com crew, they are tight and brutally honest with each other, which we admire. It's good to be part of talented group that are willing to give advice to people with genuine interest in the art form. Plus we hang with fellow PA poster artists Altieri and Zomic from time to time.
First you could head on over to http://www.tbonealjax.com/, where we have posted our posters, album covers, videos, and motion graphics. Then pop on over to gigposters.com and seek out T-Bone & Aljax. Or, you can connect with us directly at http://www.facebook.com/pages/T-Bone-Aljaxx/37562612841. We know a few of our posters have become permanent fixtures in everything from venues and art galleries to the backs of dive bars and living rooms the world over. You can check out some of the mural works that Allen designed for many Pennsylvanian elementary / high schools with muralist JC Ayala, or some of his work tattooed on the arms of many. We'll take a painting break every now and then too. And we make music with our triplet brother, Andy, in our band "Six O' Clock Saints".
The best praise you received lately?
Being praised for our album artwork for "Eagle and the Worm" on Australia's morning show "The Circle" was pretty cool. We thought "We've reached the other side of the world, now what?"
What can we wish you for the future?
More comedian and video game related work, more animation and motion graphic work. And to be the first gig poster artist astronauts!
Thanks for answering my questions and see you soon on the website !!
Thanks, we look forward to seeing you from the moon.