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Nerdlocker Artist Interview – Jason Edmiston

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Sherman, set the way back machine to late 2010. I was buying anything and everything that Mondo released. Things were slightly different then. They didn’t release prints with nearly the frequency they do know and the competition of art galleries didn’t exist. Regardless, in the blitzkrieg of screen prints, I bought a horror film classic, Maniac Cop 2. I had no knowledge of the artist, simply a love of a classic ’80s films. Once I saw the print in person, I had to know more about the man behind it. He utilized the medium unlike anyone I’d seen before. His screen prints looked like oil paintings. I didn’t even know that was possible. I was amazed at what he could do. Fast forward to San Diego Comic Con 2013 when I got to meet the talented Canuck. Jason Edmiston is an amazing artist and more importantly a really nice guy.

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Nerdlocker (NL): Tell us about yourself.

Jason Edmiston (JE): I’m an illustrator and painter living in Toronto, Canada, and I’ve been in the professional art business for about 18 years. I like puppies, ice cream sundaes, and long walks on the beach.

NL: Where do you find inspiration and what are some of your influences?

JE: Most of my inspiration comes from pop culture: movies, video games, toys, cartoons, advertising and music. My influences span the entire history of art and commercial illustration. I have a huge list of artists that I am inspired by. To list a few: Michelangelo, Andy Warhol, Frank Frazetta, Norman Rockwell, Ron English, Todd Schorr, the Hildebrandt Brothers, Drew Struzan, Norman Sunders, Basil Gogos…the list goes on. Some are evident in my work, and others inspire me just with their themes or compositions. I grew up with comic books, toy packaging, movie posters, pulp novels, and heavy metal album art. All of these things made me want to be an artist as a child. I can vividly remember the experience of seeing an amazing piece of art, and being stopped in my tracks, literally feeling a tingle in my neck, like when you see a beautiful woman on the street.

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NL: Where did you get your training and how do you continue to perfect your skills?

JE: Not sure how far you want me to go back, but I actually knew I was going to be an artist for a living since I was a child. I never thought I would do anything else, and luckily it worked out. I had regular public school and high school art classes, but after that I went to the Ontario College of Art (now called OCAD because of an increased design department). It was a four year program, where the first year focused on foundations of art, and you specialized in an area over the next three years. I went into Communication and Design with a focus on illustration. Although school was a good way to get exposed to and prepared for the life of a working artist, I felt that I still needed to tighten my portfolio to get regular paying gigs. After college, I continued to teach myself through trial and error practice, and by pouring over my large library of art books.

NL: When did you get your professional start in the art world?

JE: I was getting small jobs while I was in high school, but these were private portrait commissions and mural jobs. My corporate work began shortly after I got out of art college, but were few and far between, the first couple of years. I slowly built a client list, and later got an art rep, that helped me increase my workload. The collectable art market as it is today didn’t yet exist, so I didn’t really make prints until about 7 years ago.

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NL: How did you get involved in creating such fantastic nerd related art?

JE: I’ve always been illustrating such subjects. I would make fake movie posters in high school, and portraits of pop culture icons for assignments in art college. I continued to fill my portfolio with these sorts of images, and luckily clients started taking notice, and saw the love I had for the subject matter. My specialty in commercial jobs became creating homages to past styles of advertising art, and movie posters, as well as celebrity portraits. I slowly moved away from corporate work, and moved into the collectable art market and licensed properties. It was inevitable.

NL: What is your favorite medium to work with (painting, screen printing, digital designs, etc…)

JE: Probably painting, as I feel like it is more tangible than digital work. I feel like I’ve created something with my hands. It’s also more lucrative, as I can make prints, but still be able to sell the originals.

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NL: What is your game day process, meaning when you start your day with a paint project, how do you get prepped/psyched to do it?

JE: I’m usually exited to get to work. It’s literally my favorite thing in the world. I’d rather paint and draw than anything else. It’s only a grind when I’ve accepted an assignment I have no passion for. Then I have to have lots of coffee, as I never seem to get enough sleep.

NL: What’s your favorite nerd related snack? (like what do you munch on while playing video games, reading comic books, watching movies, etc…)

JE: I usually have a little rye whiskey or beer while I play video games or watch movies, but I love to eat good ‘ol fashioned popcorn.

NL: Who are some of your favorite artists?

JE: I’ve listed my influences earlier, but to answer a similar question in a different way, I’ll list my favorite contemporaries: Ghoulish Gary Pullin, Justin Erickson (Phantom City Creative), Johnny Bergeron, Serge Birault, Brian Ewing, Ken Taylor, Tyler Stout, Mike Mitchell, Scott Scheidly, Dave Johnson…the list goes on.

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NL: What posters/art do you have on display in your house?

JE: I have many screen prints from some of the Mondo poster artists, like Stout’s Star Wars set, PCC’s Godzilla, and Pullin’s Vertigo. I also have some great pop culture prints, like Mitchell’s (Just Like Us) Dracula, and David Choe’s Soundeyes. I’m starting to collect original paintings and sculptures too.

NL: What is your favorite subject matter?

JE: Probably monsters in general, but I like variety, so anything genre is fun to work on.

NL: You produce some amazing horror related artwork, which leads me to believe you have a good grasp on the subject. So that begs the question, what are you favorite horror films?

JE: I like a lot of the triple-A titles like Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw and The Thing, but also Italian classics like Zombi, Suspiria, and Phenomena. More recent faves are Martyrs, The Descent, and I must admit I became addicted to the Saw series as a guilty pleasure (but really disliked the last entry).

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NL: Star Wars of Star Trek?

JE: Difficult, but Star Wars. I love the character designs and vehicles, although the story line is weak. Star Trek has always been much smarter, but I’m a visual junkie.

NL: What do you do in your free time?

JE: What’s that? 😉 I work all the time, but when I’m not working, I hang out with my wife, and fit in a little video gaming here and there. The exciting life of an artist!

NL: Give us a Nerdy secret that most people don’t know about you.

JE: I murder the Karaoke version of “Strutter” by KISS, and have been know to do high kicks while rocking out.

NL: What is your favorite movie?

JE: Probably Planet of the Apes. Have loved it since I was young. The makeup, the action, the quotes, the Twilight Zone ending…it’s all great, pulpy fun, and have watched it dozens of times.

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NL: What is your favorite video game?

JE: Probably Grand Theft Auto. I love being the bad guy for a change, and eliminating guilt for a little while. Ran over a pedestrian? No worries. Shoot an old lady in the face for her ride? Oopsie. I need to shake out the cobwebs sometimes, especially being a polite Canadian.

NL: What is your favorite comic book or comic book character and why?

JE: Favorite comic is probably the Chris Claremont run of X-men (Wolverine in the brown suit being my favorite). The dialogue and story lines were great, and seemed to ring true, despite the crazy situations. It had a lot of heart.

NL: What are some of your upcoming projects?

JE: Can’t mention too much specifically, but I have more toy packaging art coming out for NECA, a couple of new group painting shows in March, based around HUGE licensed properties, as well as a horror movie screen print for an upcoming 40th anniversary re-release.

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NL: Is there a question you’ve always wanted to be asked, but have never found the opportunity?

JE: Yes. “How do I get such luxurious hair and rock-hard abs like you, Jason?”….because THAT would be an awesome question for someone to ask me.

Special thanks to Jason for taking time out of his extremely busy day to answer our hard hitting questions. Please take a moment and look at more of Jason’s great work and his upcoming schedule on his website – http://jasonedmiston.com/. Also check back tomorrow as we showcase Jason’s latest work for Mondo Gallery’s latest show, Disney’s “Nothing’s Impossible.” We’ll have a full overview of the show.

If you have a chance, also try to support a great talent by visiting his store and buying some great art – http://jasonedmiston.bigcartel.com/

If you enjoyed this article, check out our many other artist interviews here!

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I'm a true child of the 80s from a small town near Cleveland, Ohio. My all time favorite topics are Star Wars, slasher films and Cleveland sports (despite the misery it causes). I narrowly avoided law school, instead choosing film school. I have been accused of being a walking IMDB, but I take it as a compliment!