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Felix Jackson, Jr. « wonderchroma
Felix Jackson, Jr.

Felix Jackson, Jr.

Featured Artist

24.Mar.09

We first encountered Felix Jackson’s work while driving through a Denver neighborhood last summer. The campaign was in full swing and Barack Obama was about to accept the nomination for the Democratic Party ticket. Denver was buzzing with political energy, as the city’s immediate visual landscape was blanketed with posters, stickers, T-shirts and picket signs. Of the many political images, we distinctly remember noticing one beige icon, hung humbly in an apartment window. Barack Obama’s stylized portrait was presented with a simple answer to the Democratic Party’s lingering question: Is America ready for change?

“Yes, Please.”

Interview by Marc Hobelman


Felix Jackson, Jr.How did you get to where you are now?

I graduated college in Florida, and while most of my friends were going to New York and L.A., my girlfriend and I wanted to do something different. We wanted to go somewhere new, where the seasons change, the leaves turn yellow and we could play in the snow. And we love it! I’m finding better ways to explore my hobbies, I found the dopest spot for a burger and I’m meeting awesome people.

Why did you first become interested in Art & Design?

I’ve always sketched and doodled. I would turn in tests with lines bouncing from word to word and girls riding rockets into the sun. I guess really I got into art out of a need to personalize and decorate. Like make my own desktop wallpapers or buddy icons or posters. I went to school wanting to be an architect, but left with an Art degree.

What is your favorite medium to work in?

I would say I like screen printing the most. I enjoy working in layers. I even paint the same way. But mostly it makes me feel more productive when I’m mass-producing art. When I can turn around and have 50 of the same image staring back at me, I like that. And at the same time it’s making art more accessible.

What’s your process like?

There’s a lot of TV watching… and pausing… and rewinding… I’ll see a scene or hear a quote that I find funny and then I’ll make a bunch of sketches based on that and work back and forth between Illustrator and hand-drawing until I’m happy with it. But then I’ll ask [my girlfriend] what she thinks and make more changes if necessary. She usually knows what’s up.

Who are your most important influences? Who do you get inspired by?

Mostly my art friends that I’ve made over the years. They’re all super talented, and have crazy work ethic and ideas. Knowing how much they’ve grown, and what they’re up to and the work that they’re producing, it’s inspiring. I strive to reach their level. So if you’re reading this… I love you guys and I miss you. Besos.

Your Cosby Sweater series, and other works that reference pop culture, seem to point back to the 1970’s and 1980’s — especially to black entertainers. What do you like or what are you pointing out by using that subject matter?

Felix Jackson, Jr.I guess the thing I like most about that time is that everything wasn’t taken as seriously. I love the visuals produced in the 70’s, the fun colors. There’s actually a great 70’s poster art show downtown right now. It’s something I strive for with my art. Something I can never take too seriously and be able to make people smile or laugh. If I’m not doing that, then I’m doing something wrong. And that’s how the Cosby Sweater series got started. I was commissioned to paint a Cosby piece and I thought it would be hilarious to paint him wearing a moose sweater. I liked the image so much that I decided to modify it and use it as a model to showcase how ridiculous his sweaters have been and potentially could be.

So your sense of humor determines how you look at your art. Are there some hints of the Blaxploitation film era in there?

Yeah, definitely. Especially with my color choice and the way I try to use type. I’ve been told it’s 70’s as fuck. Even more so in my earlier work. It was all afros and funky car chases. I would actually go to Best Buy looking for those multi-packs of Blaxploitation movies. I always find something new or inspirational, and once again it’s just great how nothing was serious back then. It was just a fun period of time.

You relocated to Denver right before the DNC. How has the 2008 presidential campaign, and Barack Obama’s win, affected you and your work?

Well, I started out following Obama purely for selfish reasons. I was really into politics, but I liked the idea of having a black man in the White House. I even voted for Al Sharpton when he was on the ballot. And I wanted to do my part to get Obama elected. That’s how the original “Yes, Please.” painting came about. But then I started to read up on him and really got into what he was about. What got me though, was that he had an arts policy that included providing healthcare for artists, tax breaks and showing the importance of arts education. So I contacted a few people about helping me get the image out there, and the response was amazing. That’s how I got to be a part of Sticker Robot’s “Hope” Series and Manifest Hope: DC. One of the many things I’ve learned from this experience is that I can’t be shy about showing my work and contacting people. If I hadn’t, then we probably wouldn’t be having this interview. This is an amazing time and I’m fortunate to have been able to witness and be a small part of it.

There’s obviously a lot of attention being paid to Shepard Fairey right now, concerning his popular “HOPE” poster vs. the supposed AP photo it’s based on. What are your thoughts on fair use and the trouble he’s in right now, from your perspective as an Obama artist?

Well, let’s just say that I’m torn. I love what he did for the Obama campaign but he’s been sampling images like that for a while now and sometimes even more blatantly. I guess it’s starting to catch up with him now because of his new-found fame.

Check out the “Yes, Please.” painting, Cosby Sweater Series and Felix’s other work at felixjacksonjr.com.

Comments

  1. Martin says:

    He is a scammer, taking money for stuff that he is never going to send. He is not responding emails regarding unshipped orders, only mails about new ones.

    Others are experiencing the same problems, and he has been banned from sites such as omgposters.com for not sending the posters people pay for.

    • Aoi says:

      Comment’s author: geenng03/30/07 06:16:00 PM是的 人類是要合作才能幹大事的 只不過在這個時代 很多人單打獨鬥都可以幹出大事業 像許多哲學家 藝術家 音樂家 作家就是 當然快不快樂又是另一個問題 在工業化時代來臨前 一個人要嘛自個來或者和別人合作完成一個工作 可是福特在量產汽車後 人開始變成工廠公司裡的小螺絲 只要日復一日枯橾地完成一部分產品的一部分就好 於是工作只是為了生計 不再是取得滿足感 所以人類開始要玩一些兒童不宜的玩具才能滿足了 關於美女這個想法 正是人類無法脫離本能 可是本能失效的最佳示範 因為只有人類中的宅男 才會把時間浪費在上網看美女寫真 或者捉一些愛情動作片來安慰自己 卻不把時間花在上PUB釣美媚來增加自己的生育優勢( . )不過啊 最近一堆人竟然誤認我是阿宅 所以我也要問一下 請問有阿宅是幾乎完全不看卡通不看漫畫不看日劇不打電動的嗎 請問有阿宅可以當選同學會會長的嗎 而且還不只一次哦 請問有阿宅會熱愛大自然 每個月帶美媚去健行的嗎 請問有阿宅有本事一個人在不熟悉的歐洲北美洲亞洲大城市裡來去自由穿棱的嗎 不過對很多美媚來說 我只是個比宅男更無趣的好人 —大英有外借過展品嗎 外借有風險吧 故宮不是有個白菜什麼的 在外借到南部時時掉了個什麼的

  2. James D. says:

    Felix Jackson is a scammer, taking money for stuff that he is never going to send. He is not responding emails regarding unshipped orders, only mails about new ones.

    Others are experiencing the same problems, and he has been banned from sites such as omgposters.com for not sending the posters people pay for.

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