Sunday, April 18, 2010

An Interview With Denver Jackson

Denver Jackson is one of those artists who's ability to convey energy and originality, makes me cry myself to sleep at night. OK, maybe not quite that, but he is darn good. His range of abilities and talent is inspiring. In some ways he's a jack of all trades, but I wouldn't dare add in the second part: "master of none." Denver runs a production studio, prints a small press comics anthology, draws comics, writes kids books, works with me as an assistant on Kazu Kibuishi's Amulet series and still has time for God of War 3. I know. It makes me sick too. Denver took some time out of schedule to answer some questions with me. Hope you all enjoy the interview.

1.) You're a pretty diverse guy when it comes to the material you create. Can you tell us a bit more about all of the projects you've got going?

Currently, I'm animating a music video for an artist named Peter Shelley and I've just recently completed a short film titled 'the White Boned Demon.' I've as well just self published a storybook called 'Astra's Melody' and in the process of illustrating the 'Solis City'; graphic novel. I find the work process exciting going from different mediums of storytelling each time; from traditional animation to mixed media to comics.

2.) Something that seems to be catching a bit of buzz in your area is your comic magazine
STRIP. What was the genesis of that and what has been the response?

Marc Junker (the other co-founder) and I found our inspiration in a popular comic anthology called 'Flight.' This series of graphic novels contains amazingly diverse art styles and stories it really brought out something in us. We collaborated by selling our own little zines printed on ink jet at comicons - which was a terrible idea. We weren't concerned about the costs due to the fact that we were "living our dreams," so to speak. However, after a couple of years, more and more anthologies provided us with inspiration (Popgun, Afterworks, 24Seven) and we found ourselves working with more and more talented artists (including the third member of strip, Glen O'Neil) and decided that the idea of a comic anthology in the format of a free publication (available to pick up in coffee shops, etc) would be a fantastic method of promoting the growing comics scene on Victoria, on the island, and in Vancouver! The response has been great as we are constantly receiving emails from artists looking to contribute or get involved.

3.) And this is something that anyone can submit to for having their work showcased?

Yes it is. We are constantly looking to make connections with fellow artists/new friends.

4.) What are the types of projects you are looking for?

I usually will pick up a project that I know I will learn something from or that I am strongly connected with the story no matter the genre. I have many personal stories that I would love to tell however, I'm constantly doing freelance work to pay the bills.

5.) Your film work is pretty unique. I was first turned on to your work because of your adaptation of Kazu Kibuishi's Copper. What training did you have and any specific programs you use for your visual effects work?

Well, I spent a year in art school were I'd be doing many art projects that sucked up the time I needed to complete my personal projects such as comics or film. In the end, I decided that my personal projects taught me a lot more than what school was doing so I dropped out. Other than that, I have had no prior training. Through the magic of the internet, there is a library of information on almost any topic!
In terms of programs, Photoshop is essential! I use After Effects to do composting and animation work. For the adaptation of Kazu's Metropolitan, I worked with flash.

6.) That adaptation of Kazu's work lead to lending a hand, which is where we met, on his series Amulet. Can you tell us a bit about the work you've done on that series?

The work on Amulet is by no means grand or spectacular. We basically fill in colors so that the painters can focus strictly on painting. Anyone who knows their way around Photoshop can do what we do. But we do help out a lot and Kazu and Jason have shown great appreciation for the work we put into it. It has also been such a great learning experience as they will also take the time to answer any questions we had if we weren't sure of something.

7.) Since working on Amulet, I've seen your work become more comics focused altogether. What's the drive behind that, and what projects are you preparing for the future?

Working with comics is just another form of visual storytelling and you and I are doing the exact same thing; telling stories. It's no different than film. The passion comes from storytelling.
With comics, stories can get told easier without relying on an entire crew/cast but they do loose that collaboration of many different ideas.
My friend Marc and I are currently looking for funding to fully animate 'Astra's Melody.' We're both working on a screenplay and starting the animation process (concept art, storyboards, etc). Hopefully, we'll be able to start filming mid July!

8.) Any webcomics, maybe? :-)

Haha, I'm currently working on one that takes the idea of the 'infinite canvas' as Scott McCloud
explains in his TED talk. If anyone is interested, they can go to my blogspot for updates: or follow me on twitter-
Also, I'm happy to announce that Strip will launch its website very soon with three weekly comics by three artists, Glen O'Neil, Marc Junker, and myself. So keep this website in mind-

Check out the trailer for Dnever's film: THE WHITE BONED DEMON

The White Boned Demon trailer from Denver Jackson on Vimeo.

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