COLORFUL, FEEL-GOOD STREETS - Interview with Jason Naylor

I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. My Mother is an artist, so I spent my youth making art and entering art contests. I always did well in art class and that evolved into going to Design School and studying communication / graphic design. As soon I finished school I couldn’t get to NYC quick enough. I had been drawn to the energy and color of NY since visiting as a teen. Once I got here, I worked for a while as a graphic designer and this sort of led to the designs I now use in my art, which are very typographic and design heavy. My work ranges from graphic designs and paintings as well as illustration, to video and digital graphics. I currently am in a very colorful kick and love holographic colors and rich blacks.

How did your journey as an artist begin? How early did you know you wanted to be an artist?

Well I always knew I wanted to do something creative, but I didn’t consider being an artist as much as I thought about architecture and design, because those were real jobs and I needed to make money. But 3-4 years into a career as a designer, I learned that there were more creative options for me besides sitting at a computer all day.

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be? Why?

If I weren’t an artist I would possible be some sort of musician. I have played guitar all my life and in bands in high school. I really enjoy it, but there came a point in my adult life when I decided to put down the guitar and dedicate all my time to my art. I think in my next life I’ll try that out. There’s something that calls my name about being on stage.

How has your style changed or progressed since you started?

When I first came to NY I was very lonely, and I would sit in bars with my sketchbook — and my sketchbooks from then are very dark. Troubled, misunderstood-artist-type stuff — LOL. Then it began to evolve to have this sorta of whimsical, but edginess to it, but I think I was trying to force this edge. I wanted to make gritty, rock-n-roll-type stuff that spoke to the fashion industry and I was trying to find my voice. Since then, I have evolved as a human into a more upbeat and positive person, and my work reflects that (I think). I am enjoying using bright colors juxtaposed with black and I feel it gives me just enough edge, but more importantly speaks to the way I feel — which is happy!

What inspired your colorful, vibrant esthetic?

I think my color palette is driven by emotion. Successfully, using colors gives me confidence, which in turn, inspires me to want more color. I have always loved magenta, white and black and I think that color combo has this electric energy that makes me feel alive,  but not in a natural way... more like in a way that I synthesized. Like I’m in control

What’s one thing about your artwork that you’ve learned about yourself?

My artwork has really always been a window into my emotional state, and I think learning to understand that has helped me to know myself... my strengths, my vulnerabilities... better. One thing I have learned, is that validation and appreciation are very important to me, but my need for them cannot drive my creative decisions. So understanding when I am doing things to please an audience, and being able to recognize that and stop... well that has been a big breakthrough in being able to maintain my voice in my work.

What triggers your creativity and ideas?

Life. The world. Everything around me. Things people say. Lines from songs and movies. Signs on buildings. Logos. Advertising in magazines. Street art. Numbers and letters. Really anything and everything can inspire, its just a matter of being receptive to filling your mind with everything around you and relying on your subconscious to recall things as you need them.

Do you ever have days where you don’t want to be creative and design / draw at all? How do you stay motivated?

Yes. Having variety is the best way around that for me. Thankfully, I balance my time between the ipad, the computer, the studio, the street. If I don’t feel like drawing in sketchbook or ipad, then I can paint on something - a jacket, a panel, a wall. Its good to shake things up a little, so you don't get stuck in that rut.

Would you say your personality reflects your art?

YES! Definitely! I like to refer to myself as relentlessly optimistic. The positivity that you see in my work... thats really me — LOL! I have down days just like everyone else, but OA — I am super upbeat and happy-go-lucky.

Is there a different style you want to explore?

Yes, I actually really love the look of all black and white, so I am sure down the road I will explore some cross between the bright positive energy I’m seeking now, with the slick look of B/W.

If you had to design a movie poster, what movie would it be for? Why?

Anything PIXAR! For sure. Alway so uplifting and energetic. Colorful. Easy! When do we start?