Upper Deck: Hello Jason, would you like to introduce yourself?
Jason Markow: My name is Jason Markow, also known as TEKSTartist online. I was born in Northern California and grew up in Colorado. I spent the last 10 years in Carlsbad, California.
UD: What does “being creative” mean to you? How did you create your own style?
JM: I think there is creativity in everything. It requires an open mind to solve the problem at hand. In terms of my style, luckily for me, I had my own style from the start. I would doodle with words to form images. The words didn’t mean anything initially. Once people started asking me what each piece said and what the meaning was behind the words I started building meaning into my art.
UD: What made you decide to pursue a career in the art world?
JM: I didn’t study art but got a degree in marketing and ran a small marketing firm. One of my clients there was an artist. One day he saw some of my doodles and said I should consider a career in art. From there I dove in head first and didn’t look back.
UD: What kind of creative patterns, routines, or rituals do you have? – or – How do you work? Is there a “process” or more of a “flow”?
JM: Yeah, so. My creative process is really unsexy. It’s very much brute force, show up, push nose to grind-stone, do the work, and release it. Giving myself deadlines has been the only way I’ve been able to release as much work as I have and the only way I’ve been able to stay focused for so long.
UD: Who are some of the artists that have inspired you?
JM: There are so many. I’m inspired by a lot of artists, mainly people I’ve followed online for years. Lets start with the obvious trailblazers Banksy, Shepard Fairey. I’m also a big fan of Carne Griffiths, Bagman Studios, Kenjay Reyes. I could go on and on. It’s great to see any artist out there honing in on their style.
UD: Who is your favorite Marvel comic book hero or character?
JM: I don’t know, maybe Iron Man?. He’s cocky but likeable. But he’s also so resourceful. Spiderman’s got great flair. This is a tough question. It’s like favorite flavor of ice cream. I’m not gonna be much help picking one favorite. I like so many.
UD: What were/are some of your favorite games to play?
JM: My first job was at a used video game store and when Halo 2 had just come out we would have Lan parties, this was before online play. I got huge into halo 2. Right now Red Dead Redemption or any racing game out there would be my picks. However, having a 10 month old makes it a little harder to game these days.
UD: What type of work do you most enjoy doing? (Graphic novel, advertising, comics, gaming, conceptual, fine art for galleries, etc.)
JM: Anything that tells a story that I think is worth telling. Whether it’s making a piece off a quote I wish more people would see or just using my small corner of the universe to shine a light on something I love. That is the type of work I like to do most.
UD: What’s your favorite piece of personal work you’ve ever created?
JM: That is a good question. I have a piece that is called Perfection that sold terribly initially but has since done really well. It was very complicated to put together, but the amazing letter press shop I worked with really helped to make it come together.
UD: What is your dream project?
JM: I don’t have a good answer for this. Every project I do is my dream project when I start it and when I finish it. The middle part is the worst. I like having made art more than I like making art. So the dream project is always the next one.
UD: Who would be your dream collaboration with?
JM: Doing a piece with Elon Musk for any reason would be pretty awesome. I have to say that would be my dream collaboration.
UD: What was your favorite part about working on this product?
JM: This was the most complicated letter press print we’ve ever done. Producing them with Tim Butler at Quality Letter Press was awesome. Every time I get to work with him on a project is pretty great. Working with Upper Deck to do Letter Press, even though it isn’t a traditional printing process, is really cool. This piece is a 6 or 7 color design which will be a nightmare to put together through letter press the end result is definitely worth it.
UD: What were some of the challenges that you faced?
JM: Letterpress is the most fickle finicky production method I can think of and we’re pushing the limits of it far beyond the limits of what any sane person would do. Just about every stage of the print went wrong in some way or another and we’ve had to adapt and modify. I was lucky to be working with someone who has been doing it for 30 years.
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