Artist Interview: Jonathan Epsilon
Artist Interview: Jonathan Epsilon
Could you tell us a little about the artwork that you create?
I always want my art to tell a story in some way. Like a single relatable moment from a movie that could tell a story in itself about the characters or their relationships and how they’re affected by a situation without the viewer knowing the context. It’s similar to how my thought process works. I think in broken movie sequences and often times I’ll have a single phrase bouncing through my head all week to the point where it gets annoying, so I have no choice but to make it into a short story scene.
What is the story behind “Renee Roadmouth vs The Speed Demons”?
Renee Roadmouth is the story of a 16-yr-old orphan girl (no, she does not have a license) living in a post-apocalyptic world where illegal government experimentation has resulted in two-thirds of the male population being mutated into brutish, animalistic beasts capable of moving more than 70 mph on foot. These mutants, while maintaining very little of their dwindling humanity, view others different from them with extreme prejudice, valuing them only as tools or objects to be exploited. Renee, whose only home has been the open road, has no choice but to fight for her life, and eventually, the lives of others after a bounty is placed on her head by the underworld crime syndicate “The Speed Demons” after she unintentionally disrupts a drug trade by shooting out the tires of the mutants who verbally harassed her at a stop light. As her name soon begins to resonate through the city streets, she is hailed as both a threat to oppressive authority, and an inspiration to those like her.
What is your preferred medium? What draws you to it?
Honestly I have a hard time deciding between mediums, because I feel like experience in each one improves me in another. Digital medium would probably be my favorite simply because of its affordability and flexibility, however I still drill myself in dry and wet mediums like pencil, ink, and acrylic etc. to better understand the digital tools I’m using. Nothing beats the crisp look of traditional screen-tones on ink and paper in a horror manga though. I’ve always wanted to mess around with the materials they use to make those.
What are some of your current and future projects?
I’m currently working on developing multiple mini comic strips of my own and one main comic with a longer story. The main story titled “Blackest Knights” is a modern fantasy tale about a Baltimore native who enters a parallel sword and sorcery type version of our world, and trades identities with the fantasy version of themselves from that world. They both collaborate and teach each how to survive in each other’s worlds, but soon have to team up to seal off the link between their worlds and stop evil sorcerers and corrupt retail-chain owners from gaining control using tech and magic from both worlds. It’s gonna be fun mess of a story to develop, but I’m really looking forward to it.
You’ve said the piece you submitted to “We Interrupt This Program…” is Mad Max inspired. Are there any other sci-fi/ fantasy works that have heavily influenced the content you draw?
But of course! My top three biggest movie/series influences would probably be Super 8, Back to the Future, and Yu Yu Hakusho. Comic wise, I would say Saga, Nowhere Men, and Scott Pilgrim Vs The World. I favor stories where the main characters have no choice but to be out of the ordinary in order to survive, it helps me maintain my morale through the toughest days at my day job.
Some of the work you do with musicians incorporates fantasy through the eyes of a city dweller. How do you feel music has affected the way you create fantasy pieces?
When I draw I listen to a lot of synthwave music or any track with spacey sound effects. I love anything that mimics the synthesizer sounds of the 80’s because they really have such a dark and gritty sound all on their own. I would definitely say that the working mood I try to get into when working with musicians is to imagine them in a cyber punk diner. Everyone looks unique and edgy in their own way, but I want one person (the musician) to stand out from everyone else in that room. Not in a “larger than life” type of way, but in a way that makes you want to get to know someone more beyond simple first impressions.
Many of the women in your pieces are depicted as strong leaders. What influences your choices in designing them as leaders?
Throughout my life I’ve always been surrounded by strong women in leadership positions. Every part time and full time job I’ve had in and outside of my art career, I’ve always worked under a women. I was homeschooled by my mother for a majority of my school life, and spent a majority of my younger years growing up next to my older sister who always kept me out of trouble. I didn’t lack male role models per se, but I didn’t like how so much of the “man’s way” of doing things was simply just because “thats how guys have always done it”. Like thats it? I should just do something a certain way to not come off as “too feminine”? At the end of the day when I look in the mirror, thats the only person thats really gonna care who I am or why I do things the way I do, and I don’t want that person to be staring at a fake every night. I’ve seen more real life examples of women who’ve gone against what others want for themselves. For the reasons and causes they believe in they know, even if it’s them against the world, they still hold their heads high and stand firm for what they care about. Yeah they get ridiculed for it, but at the end of the day, they’re not acting, they’re being themselves. I see more women who love who they are than I see men who do the same thing, but take advantage of someone to get the same result. Ive seen them lead more with grace and understanding rather than brute force and callousness.
Often times, it’s women with super hero origin stories: Where they’ve been publicly humiliated, rejected by family and friends, excluded and discriminated against, basically anything dehumanizing you can think of that would turn any good person into a bitter villain that hates the world, but they still make time to show love and inspire hope in those around them.
For more of Jonathan’s art and updates on new projects, follow @jonathanepsilon.
- On May 13, 2018