After some months of interruption, this is our new interview and to come back in force, it’s the famous Justin Maller who answer to our questions ! Talentuous artist, it’s also the founder of the great Depthcore community, we spoke about it a couple of times on Artskills. Discover below the interview of this great creator.
Akam : Hey Justin, we are very happy to make this interview, to get started, can you tell us a bit about yourself ?
Justin Maller : I’m an Australian illustrator living in Brooklyn, NYC. I’ve been freelancing full-time since 2007. I am the Creative Director of The Depthcore Collective, and recently partnered with Satellite Office to create &Reach, a boutique artist representation and creative marketing agency that will be launching in July.
Akam : What is your background ?
Justin Maller : I went to the University of Melbourne, where I studied Creative Arts and received a thoroughly un-useful education in creative writing, art history and theatre. Art-wise, I am 100% self taught, having obtained a copy of Photoshop 4 (that’s 4, not CS4 youngens) in 1998 and fooling around with it ever since.
Akam : You are working in an agency ? like a freelance ? why ?
Justin Maller : I freelance. I worked in an agency for a couple of months when I first started out, and it just wasn’t for me. I had little interest in being creative 30% of the time and doing layouts (which I am terrible at) and half-assed design the rest of the time. Freelancing is a better fit for me, as it allows me to work constantly with clients who want me to create work in my own way.
Akam : You created the great Depthcore community several years ago, can you tell us a bit more about this project and why you make it ?
Justin Maller : I founded Depthcore nearly ten years ago. It’s a private art collective that periodically releases themed chapters of work as online (and sporadically physical) exhibitions. Our artists have released 46 Chapters so far with thousands of individual submissions coming in from all over the world – our membership base is (and always has been) truly international. My role as the Creative Director is basically to oversee production of the Chapters, help to motivate the team, find new artists, handle promotion, expansion and partnerships and to generally co-ordinate and oversee our operation. I made it to provide a playground for a new breed of artists (at the time, digital art was a relatively young medium) to experiment and create; I was lucky to attract talented and loyal people to the group, and we’ve stuck with it over the years, remained relevant, and continued to produce and release our work.
Akam : What do you think about your art ? how you describe it ?
Justin Maller : I try not to think about it too much. Other people have described it as pretty dark, and I suppose that’s accurate though certainly not intentional. Looking through it, I suppose there’s not a great deal of whimsy to it. I just make things that feel good and look good to my eye. Making things makes me feel good – I try not to over-complicate it.
Akam : What inspires you ?
Justin Maller : I have a lot of thoughts on the topic of inspiration. I’ve actually written entire articles (see here) on the topic. Basically, my thoughts on this issue is that if you live a good life, surround yourself with good people and good experiences, ideas will never be far away if you take the time to sit down and let your imagination roam free.
Akam : What kind of work do you prefer ?
Justin Maller : In our house, everything is very traditional – we presently have no “digital” work up. We have work by Karl Kwasny, Von and Saddo up on the walls, with a James Jean piece still waiting to be hung.
Akam : We can see a lot of collaboration work for depthcore, can you explain us why you like to work with other artist ?
Justin maller : I have always found it really interesting to see what happens when two people with strong styles work on the same piece – the synthesis of aesthetics is intriguing. What will you end up with? Is it just the two artists co-existing on the same canvas without creating something distinctively new? Or do you achieve that special magic where a third style, completely independent of it’s origins, emerges? Digital work is uniquely suited to collaboration, and I find the results and the process extremely pleasing.
Akam : What is the impact of the digital art on your life ?
Justin Maller : Haha. A few years ago I would have said it was huge. Now, it has basically become my life. Of course, I have a social and personal life that exists outside it, but now many of my closest friends are also digital artists – since moving to New York (to further my digital art career) my world has started to centre ever more around digital art and the life I created within it. Work is art. Future projects are art. Friends are artists. Art, art, art.
Akam : What are your projects for the next months ?
Justin Maller : Focussing on Depthcore’s tenth anniversary and launching Reach – these two things are pretty damned time consuming. Continuing to create and freelance in the interim – my personal folio update should be out in the next couple of weeks with any luck, featuring a lot of the stuff I’ve been working on over the last year, including projects for Nike, The Grammy’s, Dolby and other fun stuff.
Akam : Now the outstanding question, yes we need one, if i ask you to draw me a sheep, what do you say ?
Justin Maller : Well, first, let’s talk about timelines – when will you need this sheep by? How many stages of revision are you anticipating? What kind of usage are we talking about? I can give you options for three years or full buyout, let me know what media you’re planning to use the illustration in. Get this all together into an RFP and I’ll start doing some concept work over here – feel free to send through any reference images you think are relevant.
(Akam’s note : Wonderful answer, just a big smile on my face)
Akam : A last thing you want to share with us ?
Justin Maller : No, thanks for the interview, it was fun!
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