A Welcoming Interview with New Partnered Talent:
We'd love to share an interview with you about our new amazing partnered talent, Jonathan B. Perez, a key concept cover & storyboard artist originally from North Texas and now living in Los Angeles, CA.
CCS: Where & how did you grow up and how do you think this affected you on your journey towards being an artist?
JBP: While I find myself making a living back in the place that I was born, I spent most of my life growing up in North Texas with my immediate family and two brothers. My parents worked nine-to-fives so they could support the ideal that their children could grow up to be whatever they wanted and that kind of support is what has allowed me to constantly pursue my goals.
CCS: When/How did you know you wanted to be an artist?
JBP: As a child I was always fascinated with my mother's drawing ability. To this day she spins tales of my asking her nightly to draw pictures of trains for a boy whose obsessions revolved around Shining Time Station and Thomas the Tank Engine. But It wasn't until the day I innately showed my own drawing ability that I knew this would be a part of my future. I had picked a dead butterfly from the front yard, brought it to the dining room table, grabbed a scrap of paper and a #2, and drew an almost photo realistic portrait of the creature before I could rightly tie my own shoes. It seemed on that day, my family made the decision to fan the flames of creativity and encourage my life in that direction.
CCS: That sounds very inspiring! How long have you been a professional artist?
JBP: Growing up I had already been a somewhat accomplished artist, having been published in Rising Star Magazine & Tapestry as well as having my artwork exhibited in local art galleries. But it wasn't until 2009 when I was hired by Cars Road Show as their in-house graphic designer, that I became a paid professional. I worked for that company through college until the owner passed away my senior year. Then in 2014, I moved to Southern California to continue my career in the film & entertainment industry as a storyboard artist and illustrator.
CCS: What/Who are some of the inspirations for you and your art? Did this help guide you to where you are today?
JBP: I grew up emulating my older brother, as any kid would, which grew into a shared obsession with the film industry and film history. In that respect, my visual styles and thought process have always been influenced by the likes of some of the most talented filmmakers and storytellers who ever lived such as Stanley Kubrick, Ingmar Bergman, Akira Kurosawa, Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, and David Lynch to name a few of my favorites. On the art side of things, some of my more notable stylistic inspirations come from the world of comic books and print design including the works of Tyler Stout, Martin Ansin, and Dustin Nguyen.
CCS: We can definitely see where your inspiration comes from! What are your specialty skills in the field(s) of work you are in? Why do you enjoy them the most?
JBP: My speciality is in producing realistically gritty and textural works by hand and screen print style pieces digitally. I have always been attracted to these styles as they show off both raw work ability and stylistically unique pieces of advertisement unlike what the industry produces today. (You could say it's like trying to create trends that aren't trends yet.)
CCS: What are your personal goals now and in the future as an artist?
JBP: Being influenced by so many filmmakers, my personal goal has always been to forge a path to becoming a real filmmaker and director in my own right. (No offense to anyone with a camera phone and a Youtube channel, but that's not exactly what I mean) As an artist, I believe that my work in creating movie posters and elucidating screenplays through storyboard art has allowed me to develop a more critical eye for the kind of visual storytelling that many struggle with (It also doesn't hurt to be versed in film history and movements of the art form since it's birth). This is something that I think is more important today than it ever has been before because proof of concept work and marketing campaigns are some of the most important steps to making or breaking a production. The industry tends to crave pre-established content and drumming up support through these means can be an integral part to the success of any project.
CCS: What are some of your most prestigious honors, awards, achievements, and renown clients?
JBP: In my professional career, I have had the opportunity to work with many brilliant minds in the industry including those of The Jim Henson Company on Jim Henson's Word Party. To be a part of that history is a true honor, as it brings me renewed energy everyday to follow my passions. My Movie Posters and Storyboard work have received press in Dread Central & Twitch Film, and my respective productions have also gone on to receive press in The New York Post, Fast Company, Engadget, No Film School, and Bloody Disgusting in 2015 alone.
CCS: What's the biggest misconception other people have of artists in your field(s) of expertise?
JBP: I believe the biggest misconception others have of the kind of art produced in this field is marketability. They find it hard to believe that artwork has the ability to market a product or production more effectively than producing a Photoshop one sheet or other piece of advertisement quickly and cheaply that gets lost in the shuffle. This is something that in recent years I believe has seen a shift in mentality. Star Wars IMAX sheets are illustrated works of art, film festivals use illustrated posters, and MONDO, one of the most successful original screen print poster creators in the land, have taken the industry by storm with their beautifully rendered illustrated movie posters for old and new films alike. If public reception is any indication, I believe that we are seeing a gradual change in the industry back to the days of showing artistry through advertisement made most famous by artists like Drew Struzan and Richard Amsel.
CCS: Lol, we agree! Tell us a little about how you like to work. (Alone, with others, in phases, details, etc...)
JBP: I love to see clients involved and get excited about key art and storyboards. Their input is invaluable to my work method and I appreciate getting to work with other creative minds. That is not always the case however, especially when the work becomes a camel. (A horse built by a committee) Let's face it, we've all been there. Often I will advise that when a client hires an artist for their unique work, they should place their trust in that artist to deliver something wholly original, otherwise it defeats the purpose. I love to hear feedback through the initial phases of production, have discussions as to why a particular decision is made, and keep everyone on the same page visually. Then, I take confidence in having the trust of a client in producing the work how I envision it.
CCS: Why is it important for you to be a freelance artist other than a commercial artist?
JBP: Being a freelance artist allows me to pick my projects more strictly and work in the styles I wish to work in without being compromised. When you work freelance, you get to meet more diverse people and take opportunities that might otherwise not be available to you if you were pushing a nine-to-five job. While it has its many advantages, it is also a lot of hard work and not for those who crave stability. It can sometimes become chaotic... but having been both a freelance and a commercial artist, I can say that at the end of the day, It feels more rewarding to do the work you want to do. It is true as the saying goes, "If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life."
CCS: What software / equipment do you work with and for how long have you used it?
JBP: In my traditional work I use Pencils, Pens, and Prisma on 80 lb Paper. (my favorite texture) Digitally I Illustrate using Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Flash with Wacom drawing tablets and a Cintiq.
CCS: How do you feel about the current state of the entertainment economy? What do you think you can personally do to bring something to the table?
JBP: revisiting what i mentioned earlier, I believe that we are returning to a point where physical and tangible artistry is sought after more than the approaches the industry has been making for years now, and I wouldn't limit that notion to my field of work alone. We have seen a rise in illustrated advertisement yes, but also in practical effects work, set construction, model building, and literal film production that we have not seen in ages. I think that audiences celebrate this kind of work because it shows real craftsmanship as well as nostalgia for an age not yet dominated by computer effects work. I believe that the work I do is in line with the direction this industry is taking, and that I bring a skill set and style that will be asked for again and again in the future.
CCS: What do you hope to achieve with your art form other than just making income?
JBP: Marketing has always been something significantly important to me, and I wish to dissuade others from using fast and cheap advertisements to market their productions when they could have something long lasting, iconic, and overall more representative of the value of their hard work. While I am simultaneously building a career as a story artist, my goal is to make the studios believe in the movie poster again!
CCS: We fully agree with your strategy. How did you learn to do what you do?
JBP: I have been drawing my whole life but it was never something that i pursued academically, at least not in my adult life. My main influence in pursuing this specific field of being a key artist lies in the world of Movie Posters. I am a big collector of vintage one sheets and I hold these works of art in the highest regard. It is my goal to create works like this that will someday be seen as part of the identity of films that are important to the cinematic art form. My advancement in skill has always been motivated by that concept. On the other hand, we have the story artist who mostly obsessed over movie storyboards as a kid, having poured over books like "The Making of Jurassic Park" which included pages upon pages of boards. Learning to do what I did simply came with repetition and emulation of my favorite work, styles, and artists who I discovered over the years until I developed my own style.
CCS: Why are you better suited to work with (a particular client) rather than someone else of the same field of expertise?:
JBP: Ha, I don't know how to say this without sounding full of myself... I do believe that anyone who speaks to me can immediately see the passion that drives me. For me it is not enough to just be technically proficient or expertly fast as a commercial artist who churns out piece after piece like a drone; The work has to have something of value and that comes from confidence and the belief that what you are doing is important to all those involved. I feel that mentality drives the piece to have greater substance, and if the client believes in their work, then others can't help but believe in it too.
CCS: Thank you very much for your time and we look forward to making amazing work together!
cREAtive Castle Studios strives to offer as many diverse creative services for all productions, businesses, brands and agencies.