I have been an admirer of Phil’s work for a bit now, I absolutely love his unconventional and creative approach to his art and more specifically his tee shirt art. We actually featured his Mr. Tee design a couple weeks back, because I was so blown away by the sheer creativity of the design. So after that I decided I should get a hold of Phil and see what makes him tick. So here you go our interview with Phil Jones.
When did you first realize you had a talent and passion for art and what drew you to it?
I have been passionate about art as far back as I can remember. As a child I was never able to really express my feelings vocally so I did it through art. Growing up, school was impossibly hard but for some reason art just came easy. If a teacher told us something was to hard to draw I would stop at nothing to draw that very thing. That passionate disregard for the possible is what still pushes me today. Whether it is art, design or advertising I want to push those same boundaries and always explore new ways of problem solving.
Did you get a formal art education, and if so where did you go and how do you feel it shaped you as an artist?
I went to a state college called Murray State University in Murray, KY. It is not formally recognized as an art institute but it is everything you could ever ask for and then some. What shaped me as an artist began very early with observations in the world and finally manifested itself once I discovered graphic design. My design teacher, Jim Bryant, gave me an incredible fundamental base but nobody can teach drive and passion they can only aid it. He was great in answering my questions and pushing me to find new ways of doing something. He quickly began not accepting mediocre work from me and that helped mold me into who I am today.
I must say you are one of the most creative and unconventional artists that I have seen. Where do you find your creativity and what inspires you?
What an amazing compliment first of all. I was born with a gift to make associates between ordinary things. I say it this way because it is the most exciting part of my being. I love to make myself laugh as well as others. I find myself traveling through life as a stand up comedian that never gets on stage but sends his work up instead. I actually am quite inspired by comedians because they make the very same observations but don’t have the visual arm to it. So the thing that inspire me most is really the world around me and how everyone travels through it. Inspiration shows up always when I least expect it. That is why I travel everywhere with a note card and pen in hand or pocket.
So where did you get your alias MurrayMullet?
Murraymullet is a play on where I went to school. Murray State is in a very very small town and prime area for mullets. Business in the front but always a party going on in the back. I don’t mean to knock Murray at all, I love it there, but after my stent there I am very happy to be in a big city again.
Are you an artist that needs to be in a particular mood when creating, or can you just design at any time?
That is a tricky question. Some inspiration can drive me to create that day but days where it isn’t coming as fast I can usually find an older idea in my notes to work on. Anyone that knows me though knows that I am always creating sometime new. It is my biggest passion in life as well as my career.
What has been your favorite piece that you have done and what did you like most about it?
I try not to have a favorite piece. I find that each piece has its own personality and life. Some are instantly more successful than others but I tend to love all my ideas and projects the same. What I try to do each and every time is let the project develop its own message and language.
Who are some artists that inspired you or that you looked up toover the years?
There are many people that inspire me. One of my biggest idols has always be Stefan Sagmeister. He is an incredible designer, thinker and artist. He has an extreme passion for delivering something different and his ability to inspire people is unlike anyone in the design community. Some other amazing thinkers would be Alex Bogusky, David Droga, James Victore, Milton Glaser, Jay Ryan, and I could go on forever. They all bring so many different talents to the table. I think if we could bring people like this to the table we could solve many of the world’s problems.
What is the most rewarding part about being an artist?
There are so many great things that come from being an artist/designer. I love putting my work out there and getting people excited. Wether inside the art community or outside it is so satisfying to make people laugh, inspire, or even motivate them to think differently. Sometimes I will create something and people I am close to immediately write me back with their new ideas because of what I have done. I could have never imagined how exciting and satisfy that is.
Where do you spend most of your time on the web?
The web can be a dangerous place. When I tumble into the rabbit hole I never know where I am gonna end up. I spend most of my time on places like ffffound, tumblr, flickr, threadless, laughingsquid and tons of others. I try to be careful though because those places can influence who you are as a designer and your own voice. I don’t like to use those for idea generation but they are really great places to see what everyone else is doing.
If someone wanted to contact you about possible work are you for hire and how would they do so?
E-mail me, AIM me, Skype me, Twitter, Facebook, Smoke Signals or your favorite way of communicating. Pretty much every site out there I am on in some way or another under Phildesignart or you can always reach me through my website phildesignart.com