Redefine Magazine Interview

The image above is titled Diamonds in Suburbia. “It’s about the road to becoming king, not in a ‘ruling’ sense,” says John Gill, “but more in a piece of mind sense. It’s the story of a child growing up in suburbia, witnessing the evils of monotony and seeing all of his friends die of self-inflicted disease. The child sees a much larger world to be explored, and as he grows up, he realizes that the world is much larger than the small towns that condemned so many to death or living death. Through his journey, he achieves peace of mind, thus rendering his soul eternal and becoming king. The diamonds represent the eternal.”

You began doing art at a young age; is it similar to the kind of art you do now? How was it different, and what changed your style over the years into what it is now? When I was a kid, I was always fascinated by fine art, but I was a kid, so I was influenced more by robots, dinosaurs, animals, and cartoons. Then I started really getting into skateboarding, and paid a lot of attention to the graphics on boards and stickers. That led to graffiti, which led to “fine art.” I think what shaped my art to date is my strange sense of humor and all things depressing. I’m still influenced by robots, dinosaurs, and animals. What role do eyes tend to play in your work? I noticed their recurring theme. Does their placement affect the mood, tone, and/or style of the piece? Eyes are an important element in showing emotion. When looking at paintings or photos, I’m always drawn to the eyes. It’s true what they say about the eyes being a window. Sometimes they also represent spies, or paranoia. How do you choose what textures to use on the different parts of your piece? So many are portrayed that it makes one wonder if they come to you as do the rest of the creation, or if they are perpetrated. The textures come from what medium I’m using or what I’m trying to portray. For most pieces, I start with a vague idea or none at all, and then imagery comes out and starts to explain something. It’s a really weird process. Many artists argue that words and other such symbols that humans can define detract from the creativity of art. How do you feel about using them in your work and in art in general? I believe those artists who think like that are taking themselves and art way too seriously. Words are very creative. It took creativity to define sounds to communicate. If I draw a building, people know what a building is - that’s defined. I mean, what are these people saying? Should “good” art be invisible? The further I go with art, the more shows I do and the more people I meet, the more I’m saddened and frustrated at the fact that people constantly ruin art by taking it so seriously. Art is one of the few things in life that doesn’t need to be stressed over or over-analyzed. Some people want to be so intellectual that they forget the fun in finger painting. 99% of the art I do makes me laugh and I have fun with it. I use words because it forms poetry on canvas. Some words are very poetic, but I guess there’s always some critic who thinks poems are detracting from the creativity of art. You incorporate a lot of collages into your work. Have you had any trouble with copyrighted images and/or other material as of yet? How do you feel about such battles? I understand both sides. People spend a lot of time and money to create identities, and when someone takes from that and represents it poorly, I understand people getting pissed. I’ve never used these styles for commercial work and rarely in my personal work. When you did commission work for things like band covers, did the customer give you a basic idea of what they wanted? How much freedom did you have artistically and how did it affect your final product? I’ve been extremely lucky. I have always had creative freedom. I was shocked when working with bigger labels that they didn’t pick apart things. My work with Unwritten Law was very easygoing and enjoyable. Same with the Shape Shifters; I’m friends with a few of them, so I guess that helps. For the “Circuit City” single, Circus and Asmar had a concept that was pre-conceived, but there was no direction as to how to execute it. But sometimes it is hard. In fact, I was denied today for a poster I was asked to do. Sometimes what one person is thinking is so far off from how it’s interpreted. But the bottom line is: I’m very lucky to be a part of creating art that is used for music. That’s always been a dream of mine. Some cool stuff is in the works. Does any of your art project the future, or do they focus more on the present? I am a prophet. My paintings are like a map to what the fate of humanity will be. So pay really close attention, or the world might end without you knowing it. Just kidding. At times, I project thoughts of the future, present, and past. They’re all elements of life of which is what I’m most focused on: life and death. Lastly, what does the color yellow mean to you? Bananas, lemonade, lemonheads, the sun, the light between red and green, failing livers, that song by Coldplay, pee, and yellow.


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