Urban Vinyl Daily:Would you mind telling us a little background about yourself ?
Mr. Shane Jessup: I’m currently in Los Angeles and loving it, I moved here from Brooklyn about 2 years ago. I have a similar story to a lot of people my age, I came up skateboarding, that led me to graffiti, then in to design and illustration. I was actually managing a skate shop in Santa Cruz and would come in early to use the computer and taught myself as much as I could, eventually landing me at Santa Cruz Skateboards where I learned a lot working in the Art Dept. That was my schooling. Pretty full circle since growing up in Texas, I used to redraw Jim Phillips’ Santa Cruz graphics, make them in to stickers, and sell them to my school mates for their lunch money. Since then I’ve just been moving forward, working on anything that I think is fun and trying to pay the bills.
UVD: Would you mind telling us about some of the designs that you came up with when you were first starting out and how designs have progressed over the years?
MSJ: I think a lot of my early designs were a bit more complicated even though I’ve always tried to keep it minimal. Over the years, I learned the capabilities a bit more of the factories and mellowed things out a bit to make sure the final product is cleaner and closer to the final product I envisioned. I also have tried to teach myself different finishes and paints that are available with the factories. I love clashing matte with gloss finishes and things like that. I have always tried to produce a clean design that showcases the form of the figure while representing my artwork or concept.
UVD: What are some things that influence you and your work? Is there any artist’s work that inspired you and your style early on in your career?
MSJ: Growing up, it was skateboard artists that really influenced me and that I really paid attention to. Too many to name but I owe a lot to 80’s and early 90’s skateboard graphic artists. Influences come from all over for me, a walk through the neighborhood can spark something. I have noticed recently that sometimes the material will just speak to me. I can have a panel prepped but sit for months and one day I’ll just walk by and picture a concept for it. A lot of emotion has gone in to my subject matter in past pieces, my ‘Emo-Zones’ produce the most work. A lot of my friends influence and push me a lot, if not for what they do, for their work ethic.
UVD: With several characters in Kidrobot series, I will spare us both the time of asking about specific figures. So, instead I would like to ask about what is was like working with Kidrobot for their Series 1 set and how the relationship has grown after several releases with them?
MSJ: Series 1 was great. I only dealt with Tristan at the time. I had been keeping an eye on KR and what they were selling but hadn’t been to the San Francisco store yet, I was actually ordering from them online. A good friend of mine, PEAR (Rest in Peace) visited the store and Huck Gee told him they were going to release their first original mini-series. PEAR really pushed me to hit them up and I eventually did. Couple of months later with no response, Tristan sent me a template and it just worked out from there. Never thought I would move on to work with Tristan at Thunderdog Studios, then at the Kidrobot offices and eventually releasing a 3″ Fatcap through them dedicated to PEAR. Best ‘cold call’ I’ve ever made. I haven’t really worked with them in a while but I’m looking forward to pitching some new ideas to them and have a great relationship with the people I still know there.
UVD: How much pushing did it take for you until you decided to make your own dedicated Kidrobot release with the “Things that Hurt” zipper pulls?
MSJ: I originally came to Kidrobot with the idea of making my Things to Hurt People With paintings into wall mounted 12″ vinyl sculptures. Over a period of time the concept got changed around and they offered to do a line of zipper pulls if I could come up with some more designs to go with the originals. They’ve been in production ever since and there has been talks of a second series but we’ll see how that works out.
UVD: One of the pieces that really captured my attention was your Hello Kitty 3 Apples piece. Would you mind telling us about how you came to that design, and how much of a pain it was to go from sheets of MDF to finished product?
MSJ: That was a lot of fun to work on. I had been refinishing and re-appropriating old furniture and had just started to make my own so I wanted to approach things in a different way. I wanted the piece to represent the rings you would see in a tree trunk to show Hello Kitty’s age, ending up in 35 total layers spaced a quarter inch from each other. I had each piece of MDF cut at a local display shop and I painted the pieces and assembled it, but setting up the different layers to cut was the biggest challenge. I had to build turnarounds of her head in Illustrator and then split her apart into 35 layers, 41 separate pieces total. It was a challenge and a headache to work on but I’m still glad I did it. Hopefully it showed a different side of what I can do.
UVD: I guess without to dig too deep on the personal meaning level of the “Things to Hurt People With” original art, what encouraged/persuaded you to address these topics that are part of life?
MSJ: Pretty sure I was just pissed at a girlfriend at the time. The second set I did, I was definitely pissed at a girlfriend. I painted both of those sets in front of those girlfriends.
UVD: If you had the opportunity to make the “Trophy Hunting” vehicle from the Filth show in to a real car, what would it be like?
MSJ: 1977 Trans AM Smokey and the Bandit Edition. I had a regular 77′ Firebird for a while but the Smokey Edition is my white whale.
UVD: With several of your production pieces likely filling room in peoples’ collections, what artists happen to fill your collection?
MSJ: I actually don’t collect a whole lot anymore, but I have quite a bit from friends and designers I really admire. I don’t really seek out any particular artists, just whatever speaks to me at the time.
UVD: With several of the items in your work portfolio being graffiti and graffiti history related, has graffiti been a part of your professional life as well?
MSJ: Graffiti will always be a part of my life whether I’m active or not. I learned a lot doing graffiti before I ever sat down to do design. Color theory, composition, etc. I learned all of that through graffiti. I try not to make anything too ‘graffiti’ in my work, but it’s always there in the foundation.
UVD: After watching the “Banksy vs. King Robbo” video, it called in to question the value some people place on graffiti as street art. Would you mind sharing your thoughts on this trend where an artist can be despised and another can be revered for their vandalism?
MSJ: I don’t really have much of an opinion on street art since I don’t really pay too much attention to it. There is a lot of cool stuff going on out there but I pretty much just look at letters.
UVD: Are there any future projects that you wish to discuss for the reader to keep their eyes open for in the upcoming future?
MSJ: Ritzy P, kaNO, SKET ONE, and I do a monthly podcast called Ya’ Heard! Show, still pushing forward with that and having fun doing it. My main focus has been my new line of dog products called HACHI Supply. I’ve been teaming up with artists to create a line of artist-designed dog supplies. First lineup is Tristan Eaton, Dalek, UPSO, and TADO. It’s been slowly coming together, hitting some speed bumps along the way but I’m happy to say it’s moving forward finally. Other than that, just trying to relax in the yard with my dog, Cortez, and keep us both out of trouble.
UVD: What would your encouragements/suggestions be for artists/designers that are either just starting out or who are trying to get themselves noticed?
MSJ: Find your own voice and style. Things take time so don’t rush. Meet people in the community and share your work, it’s a really supportive and positive group for the most part. If you get a production offer, make sure you get a contract. If you don’t understand it, ask for help. Get off the internet and go live life, you’ll gain a lot from that.