Interview by Caroline Stephenson.
My name is Jared, aka BeastPop (with my brand name being BeastWreck), and I make illustrations and designs featuring all the stuff I like, ranging from cartoon monsters and beasts to horror-themed artwork. I sell these designs on a bunch of stuff like shirts, mugs, and art prints through my various web shops, and I mess around with character design when I can.
I prefer to work traditionally with some good ol’ fashioned pencils, pens, and brushes on illustration paper — pencil sketching with graphite or colored pencils, and inking with an assortment of pens and watercolor brushes with india ink. I will often digitally ink for convenience sake, however, and most of my coloring work is done digitally.
I drew all the time as a kid, filling up reams of paper, and drawing on the walls, etc, but I didn’t really take it seriously as a potential profession until much later in life. My skills and momentum kind of stagnated for a while, so I went off to art school and realized just how far behind I was in my development as an artist. I grew and learned some at school, but given the cost of such an education, and the ease at which you can learn and grow as an artist these days through online courses, interacting with professional artists online, and good old fashioned practice and determination, I really can’t recommend art school for most folks.
-What inspires you the most?
Monster/horror/sci-fi movies, cartoons, late 70’s/early 80’s pop culture, comic books and pulp magazines, and sugary breakfast cereals.
-Who are some of your favorite artists?
Frank Frazetta is number one. He’s the first artist who really knocked my socks off as a kid and left me gaping in amazement as I discovered his work through Conan/Tarzan paperbacks, Warren magazines and things like that. Even though I do not paint and cannot come close to his wizardry and mastery of the medium, his sense of dynamism, composition and atmosphere is a constant source of inspiration. Beyond him, I love Jack Davis, Mike Mignola, J.C. Leyendecker, J. Allen St. John, Claire Wendling, Al Williamson, Glenn Barr, TraddMoore, James Harren, Eric Canete, Ben Caldwell, and about a hundred more I’m either forgetting right now, or deliberately omitting for brevity’s sake.
I love drawing all day! I love being able to be at home and make my own (long) hours, to be able to be there for my kids. I love being able to find time for personal projects and have people respond positively to them. I’m not the kind of guy who will hang out in his pajamas all day, but there’s something great about having your studio right in your house. It has its drawbacks, too, mainly the lack of human interaction, but sometimes I don’t want too much human interaction anyway.My dream project would be to head up a brand dedicated to producing cool indie merchandise ranging from shirts and stickers to pins, patches , vinyl toys and art prints. I would bring in a rotating roster of amazing artist friends of mine to contribute designs and illustrations, and I’d have a wonderful wife who would be my partner and teammate, and I’d peddle my wares online and at various conventions and festivals, spreading cool artwork throughout the land. Other than that, I’m going to say designing a monster/alien for an actual movie production with a decent budget that is seen and loved by millions — that would be pretty darn cool.
Favorite movie is ALIEN. Definitely. Saw it when I was 5 years old at the drive-in theater, though I was supposed to be asleep in the back of my parents’ station wagon (guess they couldn’t get a sitter) and it blew my little mind. I had nightmares for years and years afterwards, but I couldn’t get enough of it. The alien was unlike anything I’d ever seen, and I still think its the most gorgeous, eerie, disturbing and elegant movie monster designs of all time. I absorbed everything ALIEN I could get my hands on — the big toy action figure, the comic book adaptation and “making-of” book from Heavy Metal, the puzzle — and I drew those nightmare creatures over and over again until I memorized every detail of them.
-What superpower would you have and why?
Perhaps time travel? More and more I find myself wanting to jump back and experience things from the past with the mindset I have now, or just go visit different historical eras for the hell of it. I’d probably make a big mess of the timestream, though, and end up accidentally erasing myself from existence, so… maybe just the power of flight.