By Johnny Watson
One of the most important tools at an artist’s disposal can’t be found at any supply store or lying around their studio. It’s not something you can buy or sell, either. We’re talking about mythology. A truly innovative artist understands that they can’t just create art, they have to also be art. What would Vincent Van Gogh be with both ears? Who would care about a painting of a tomato soup can without getting a peek behind the curtain at Andy Warhol’s famous Factory? The way visual artist Jason Skeldon weaves himself into his work—particularly on social media—is a direct connection to those who came before him.
We spoke to Skeldon about his inspirations, his vivid graffiti car wraps and much more in the interview below.
Do you remember the first time you fell in love with art?
I can’t remember when I first fell in love with art, but I remember when I fell back in love with art. It was during the eight years I was working as a paramedic. I was tired of the job and depressed, so I turned to the one thing that made me happy—painting.
What was your earliest experience with art?
I started making clay sculptures at the age of 5.
What inspires you as an artist?
I’m inspired by pop culture and the challenges we all have. I’m also inspired by Andy Warhol and Banksy.
Can you describe your painting style and tell us about how you developed it?
I was heavily influenced by Warhol and Banksy, with a touch of graffiti. Then I took those influences and evolved them into my own style.
Tell us about the way you blur the line between physical and digital art.
As a new age artist, I believe it’s important to produce work quickly, so that is what I do when I combine digital art with acrylic, spray paints and oil sticks.
On your Instagram feed it’s almost like you’re a main character in your own pieces of art. Why did you decide to put yourself in your digital creations?
Oh yes, I love this question. I often get asked for advice by younger artists and I always tell them that you must become a brand alongside making cool art. You need to give your collectors something to talk about to their friends.
We’d love to hear about the custom car wraps you’ve created. What sort of unique challenges come up when making art for an automobile?
Car wraps are a blast and get a lot of attention. I started out with hand-painting Lambos and Audi R8s, but the paint doesn’t hold up. So now I mostly do digital car wrap designs of my work. I’ve personally wrapped my own BMW i8 eight times. It gets a lot of attention and helps me build my brand. Plus it doesn’t hurt when you show up at a new collector’s house in a dope whip.
What do you hope people take away from your art? What do you want them to feel?
Well, it depends on the piece. If it’s something like a Marilyn Monroe or Michael Jordan, it’s not much more than a cool-ass piece in the house. But if it’s a piece that has meaning, like this one (the statue with the city coming out of its head), it’s different. It basically means you have a bright future, the city is yours and you have so much to look forward to. His future is the airplane he is throwing and the rose in his hand represents the heartaches he might encounter.
Where do you see your art going into the future?
I have the whole city of Tampa telling me I made it, but to me, I feel like I won’t stop until I’m on Mars.
How do you feel about NFTs and is that an avenue you’d ever explore?
I did an NFT and I made great money. Thank God I cashed out before the market crashed. I hope it comes back because I have new ones waiting to be dropped.