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?
JM: 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?
JM: 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?
JM: 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.