Jason Zante: World in Color
A look into the fantastical work of graphic designer, Jason Zante
By: ABBY ZIRZOW
"The Jungle" by Jason Zante. Image use exclusively for The Khollected Magazine.
Jason Zante proves that professional life and personal, authentic self-expression for an artist is not a balancing act; one does not have to choose, in each moment, to give in to pressure to be a “sell-out”, nor does one have to stay isolated and a “starving artist” in an attempt to maintain independence and authenticity in one’s work. Zante holds on to his genuine personality and vision, flowing through both career and personal endeavors.
Zante is an artist and student currently finishing his studies at The Ontario College of Art & Design University in Toronto, Canada. After hearing him in his own words, observers can begin to understand his perspective on the field of art and design, as well as his response to bigger questions that we all find ourselves asking, such as: “Why do I give my time to this thing? How am I supposed to be using this endeavor that I have taken on?”. These questions blur our perceived boundaries between work and play, financial gain and deeper meaning.
Creators typically feel pressured to choose either business and consumerism or authentic expression. Through sharing his own personal and professional anecdotes, Zante reminds us that both of these pursuits go hand-in-hand.
Roses Triptych by Jason Zante. Image use exclusively for The Khollected Magazine.
What was it about graphic design that you gravitate towards?
JASON ZANTE: I chose to study graphic design mainly because as a career path, it is very flexible and you can choose what specific field you want to focus on. Before, I used to illustrate and paint traditionally and with graphic design I’m still able to implement those skills in the work that I do. I love art and design and for me, I didn’t want to choose one over the other. Graphic design gives me that freedom to experiment and try new methods of creating that merges the two disciplines.
What are some of your major influences?
It would probably be a mixture of pop art, international style graphic design, and still life documentary photographs.
What does social media do for you in helping you represent your artwork?
I think social media is great for putting your artwork out in the world for people to see. I use it primarily to showcase to my art enthusiasts the pieces I am working on and the process it takes to create it. Social media acts as an accessible external outlet for my creations to be seen by everyone in the world without directly going to my website.
Is graphic art created mostly through computer technologies, or are their other major facets and tools that go into a pieces’ creation that may be misunderstood by those just learning about the field?
It’s dependent on what project you are working on and what your desired outcome for that work is. The main tools that I use to create my designs are the adobe suite programs such as Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop and in some works AfterEffects. These are the core tools that each designer should try and learn. The possibilities are endless with graphic design and sometimes you have to try new methods of creating work.
Your work is relatively minimalist with a hint of pop culture. How would you describe the genre of your work?
I love to illustrate the ordinary and seemingly inconsequential. Everything is made with a deliberate conscious choice of what elements to add or subtract, almost like problem solving. The work that I create often focuses on the themes of everyday objects, the human body, and the living environment. It changes depending on what I am fascinated with at the moment. For me, using color as a medium to incite emotional responses with my pieces is important. Color has a powerful energy. Different colors have varying frequency when paired with another color thus, this exploration of color combinations and effects is a central element in my artworks.
Left: Jason Zante with Justin Bieber at The Biebers x Lift LA x Inner-City Arts event. Right: "A Glass of Pride". Image use exclusively for The Khollected Magazine.
As a graphic artist, what are some of the pressures to keep up with new demands?
With social media and posting frequently about your work, the pressure to constantly create and show is great to have as a habit to keep creating. However, I think people sometimes don’t realize that behind all those artworks is an individual that’s creating it and not a robot. It’s important not to give in to post for the sake of posting. For me, I create good work when there is minimal
pressure attached. I say minimal because some pressure is good in terms of pushing you to outdo yourself with each creation.
Tell us about your work that was produced for Hailey and Justin Bieber and how that led to your invitation to The Biebers x LIFT LA x Inner-City Arts.
Justin came across me on Instagram and he messaged me about the two pieces that I posted. A really fun fact was that his wife Hailey Bieber, chose the other artwork I created. It’s a his and hers piece really. And ever since that, I’ve been in contact with JB through messages. A few months after, he invites me to showcase three of my artworks called “Triptych Roses” for his charity in Los Angeles. I was super excited for the event and to help out a great cause.
Can you explain a bit more about The Biebers x LIFT LA x Inner-City Arts project? Do you see any more social projects for you in the future? How was this experience different than commercial design and other projects?
The auction was curated by Justin and Hailey Bieber with the proceeds going to LIFT Los Angeles and Inner-City Arts. LIFT is a national nonprofit organization working to break the cycle of poverty for families and Inner-City Arts uses arts education to positively affect the lives of underserved children. My artwork “Roses Triptych” was showcased amongst other artists in the line up such as Virgil Abloh, Fidia Falaschetti, Patch Whisky, Buff Monster, Greg Mike, Dalek, Pablo Dona, and Miss Zukie to name a few.
This whole experience motivated me to continuously create and also to think about how art/design can be utilized to help out individuals in our community. Art has such a powerful and positive impact on young children and this charity is great for helping foster the creative minds of youth.
This was a very big step in my creative career and it was different because previous projects didn’t involve so much publicity. I’m very grateful that my pieces were used in all of the advertisements for the charity. It’s very humbling.
Artists struggle to gain momentum towards profitability and notability. How did the recognition from someone like Justin Bieber impact your foresight into the pricing and demand for your work?
After the recognition that my artwork has gotten, I had to re-evaluate how much I believed my artwork was worth (If I wanted to profit from it) based on the materials that I use but also the attention that it garnered. Having a notable figure take interest in your work and for it to be showcased internationally, elevates the status of the artwork. For me, I tend to produce only a few editions of my pieces which makes them more exclusive so, there will only be a few produced in the world.
"Body Smile". by Jason Zante. Image use exclusively for The Khollected Magazine.
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