Interview with Cover Artist Aaron Jasinski

Our March issue features cover art by painter Aaron Jasinski, who deftly combines his love of science fiction and art with a lifelong passion for music. He blends his many influences together into unique worlds, both familiar and fantastical simultaneously.

APEX MAGAZINE: Your cover piece for this month’s issue celebrates “science fiction stories from the past.” How would you compare modern science fiction artwork with art from the time when Issac Asimov’s stories were first published? How did older styles or artists inspire this piece?

AARON JASINSKI: When I was a kid, my dad bought us this art book at a garage sale, Spacecraft, 2000-2100 A.D.: Terran Trade Authority Handbook. It showcased spaceship art that was used on sci-fi novels from the ’70s. I spent hours looking at that book, it really started my love affair with science fiction. That and Star Warslike every other kid in the ’70s and ’80s. Everything back then was physically painted or airbrushed. Now most art is done on computer. Amazing work, I respect computer art immensely, but there was something magical about those old, tangible, physical paintings.

AM: Some of your pop culture pieces, such as “Throne of Games,” feature not only recognizable characters, but intricately researched knowledge, as well. How much time do you spend researching and exploring a character’s world before you’re comfortable with the idea you want to paint? Does the idea ever change as you are working through more sketches and research?

Throne of Games

AJ:Some topics, like old video games, I know quite a lot about because I’m drawing on my own memories. Nostalgia is a major source of my artistic expression. I do spend a few days thinking, sketching, looking for references on the internet. If it’s something I’m less familiar with, I’ll study up on it a bit. My ideas change allthe time. Usually after I’ve procrastinated too long, and then I’m in crunch time. Many of my ideas appear while I’m taking a shower.

AM: Your piece “Tapped In” is a wonderful concept, mixing art, nature, and sound. What was the genesis of this piece? How does sound or music affect what you are working on?

Tapped In

AJ:I grew up in a musical family, so music has always been present and important in my life. My other passion is creating electronic music. For “Tapped In,” I was contemplating sampling and amplified instruments like the electric guitar, and thinking it would be cool to plug in to trees directly. What kind of music would that make? I don’t know, but it seemed kind of a cool idea.

AM: Another piece of yours, “We Played Our Souls,” offers what it is like to create music. Your comment in the description of the piece mentions that, “It says something I have been wanting to say, that I can’t find in words.” What does music let you say differently than your paintings can, or compared to the written word?

AJ:Like I said, music’s been a big part of my life. My dad is a violinist, and my brother is a cello professor. I grew up with performing and watching performances. Music is a passive art—it’s there and you just listen—it’s the most abstract art form. It can speak directly to our souls without the structure of language or representation. Visual art is passive and the easiest art form to consume. We’re surrounded by it, so I think our visual sensitivity is overloaded. It is the hardest art form to create something that really stays with people. Written work is probably the hardest to get people to consume because it requires active engagement but has a chance at touching the reader. I think that’s what I was trying to capture in that painting.

AM: Some of the pieces on your DeviantArt page, such as “The Bass Player,” go back quite a number of years. How has your style or approach changed over the years? Are there any pieces or concepts you would like to revisit, or do you tend to move on once an idea is worked through?

The Bass Player

AJ:I have changed quite a bit, stylistically; the world changes and new influences appear. I do tend to get bored with things I’ve already done or tried to express. As for revisiting old ideas, I haven’t done much video game-related imagery for a number of years. I’d like to find my way back to that subject.

AM: Thank you to Aaron Jasinski for an interesting look at his crossroads of music, art, and creation. You can find more of his work on his website at https://www.deviantart.com/jasinski.

Photo by John Urbancik

Russell Dickerson has been a published illustrator and designer since the previous millennium, creating works for many genre publications and authors. He has also written many articles for various organizations in that time, including Apex, and his work can be found on his website at darkstormcreative.com.

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