TEKSTartist Jason Markow: In His Own Words

After seeing a music video filmed entirely on HTC phones, and being challenged by a mentor to film a new art project in a new way, Jason Markow, aka TEKSTartist, traded his old camera for the new HTC One to film the creation of his latest project  – a 650 square foot mural called Brick Mason. I recently caught up with Jason to learn more about this project, his art, and debut the final video.

Laura Kimball (LK): Tell me about the Brick Mason, what does it represent and where did your inspiration come from?
Jason Markow (JM): This mural, which I call Brick Mason, features a nameless brick mason hunched over, hard at work creating a vibrant wall, one brick at a time. The mason represents both the artists and the philanthropic efforts of those who are funding these public projects like this one. New Village Arts and the Carlsbad Charitable Foundation commissioned it and it’s really a reflection of the growing creative community of Carlsbad.

The words that make up the piece are the words that represent Carlsbad to me and several other locals. They are, for the most part, the most common words supplied by the community. The wall itself, eternally a “work in progress,” represents Carlsbad in its current state – growing, vibrant, and unique.

LK: Whenever I think of TEKSTartist, I always think of your ‘making of’ videos. Why did you first decide to record yourself creating art?
I like to think of my work as a form of “manual kinetic typography.” The long and short of it is I try to combine iconic imagery with thought provoking quotes, smash it all together, and see what happens. A few years ago, kinetic typography videos such as the “Shop Vac” and “Entreprenuers” videos were all the rage. I saw how powerful a simple quote becomes when animated, but I didn’t have the chops (or patience) to animate a video in that way. So it hit me—if I wrote it out by hand, and synced it to match the audio, I *might* be able to achieve a similar impact. The result was what I call a sort of “manual kinetic typography.”

On the surface, my art looks like striking, graphic designs, but as you look closer, you see that each piece is composed entirely out of text. What first appears as a brush stroke reveals itself as a letter to form a word that’s part of a quote, song lyric, book passage, or movie line that’s relevant to the design. Then when I film the making-of, it really brings the artwork to life.

LK: Why did you decide to use the new HTC One to record this project?
The idea to film the making of a piece using nothing but a phone actually came from my friend and mobile blogger, Michael Myers. Last year I recorded every single video using a simple Kodak Play Touch camera. It was duck taped (I’m not kidding) to a desk lamp with an adjustable arm. As soon as I got my hands on the new HTC One, I knew that I had a device that was up to the challenge. I decided to use the One to help show everyone just how amazing this device is.

LK: How does your HTC help you capture design and inspiration?
My HTC One is my second brain, my mobile office, my time machine. I use Evernote to jot down amazing quotes I come across. I use the camera to snag any stand out color palates or imagery I find. I use Zoes to capture movements like the way someone’s hair blows or light passing through a moving train, basically anything where a photo doesn’t quite do it justice that I might use in a piece in the future.

LK: For someone interested in becoming an artist, what’s the best advice you have for them?
JM: My advice to anyone interested in becoming an artist comes in two parts:

  • Make art. Make lots of art. Make good art. Make bad art. Don’t make excuses. MAKE ART.
  • Spend as much time “building your brand as an artist” as you do creating the art itself.


Jason’s work can be seen on cars, in music videos, and even tattooed on several fans. His art has been purchased by the leading architects of the social web, New York Times bestselling authors, a Grammy winning singer/songwriter, and by fans across 33 states and eight countries.

His current project is the Five Spot Derby, where he releases one limited edition design each week and sells it for that week only. You can keep track of this rising artist on Facebook, Twitter: @TEKSTartist, and Instagram.

  • Leigh

    nice, Jason! 🙂

  • EDKphotography


  • Marcos Müller

    Cool!!!! 🙂

  • jackjiarocks

    how did you fit 3 days of footage on HTC One ?

    • TEKSTartist

      Couple things made it possible- For one, I had this awesome battery bar- http://www.htc.com/www/accessories/htc-battery-bar/ That kept the phone juiced for over eight hours of continuous record time each day. On top of that- since the phone storage is HUGE I actually only had to dump the footage onto the computer once at the end of the second day. (I captured over 22 hours of 1080P footage over three days.) Once I was done shooting I used HTC Sync to move the footage onto my mac and edited the entire thing together using FCP X.

      • jackjiarocks

        Woah, I did not expect that 64 GB can hold 22 hours of 1080p footage. Thanks man! 😀

    • hernanaros

      You can connect an external drive using a OTG cable and move the files there. I don’t know if you can record directly to an external device, but at least you can move them once you’re internal storage is full.

    • nestlepakistan

      don’t you see the charging cable is plugged in the htc one at the end of the video. ?

      • jackjiarocks

        please read my comment again and you will understand that my question is not on the battery.

        • Guest

          The HTC One is possibly plugged in straight to a laptop.

          Also, the guy didn’t paint at night, so it could’ve held one day’s worth, then he uploads the video to his laptop. Then he paints and records the second day and uploads that night.

          • http://blog.htc.com/ Larry Meadows

            Actually, Jason shared how he accomplished this in the comments just below.

    • rohh

      it’s more of a PR & Marketing stunt
      the artist used an HTC One to document everything he did either as a time lapse or video
      Since the artist didn’t use a traditional camera so HTC can technically and truthfully say that the entire footage was shot with an HTC One
      The video was obviously edited together and finalized with a PC or Mac… but they chose not to disclose that info.
      The video’s objective was to just highlight how you can use your One

      • http://blog.htc.com/ Larry Meadows

        It’s actually sharing some background on what a customer accomplished using his HTC One. We learned what he did after it was complete and are sharing his story here. Thanks for reading!

  • umer936

    Pretty amazing. Could you share a front-on picture of the finished product?

  • IJustGotaTan

    Pretty cool. I like that you used the HTC One to document it.