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Jason Naylor: An Exclusive Interview with A.I.M.O.

Meeting you by chance as you were painting your wonderfully colorful wall on 16th Street and 6th Avenue was a true pleasure. Your love for creative design is certainly noticeable in your work. Can you please tell our audience about winning the contest to paint that specific wall and what you submitted in order to win? Were there thousands of submissions? First of all, thank you for the compliments – It was so lovely to meet you as well! So the Live Life Colorfully wall... yes, I won! The way it worked was Stonehenge Real Estate Group held a contest that began in December of 2016. The rules were basic: submit a sketch of what you would paint on the wall if you were chosen as the winner. The wall is 12 ft tall x 16 ft wide, and they posted a pic of the blank wall, and anyone could submit. So I thought to myself, “that wall is right in Chelsea, and highly visible, so what do people in that ‘hood want to walk by every single day...” so I designed a piece that I thought would inspire people. So then my submissions was selected as one of 4 finalists in the competition, and then to win the final, I had to post the design on facebook and then whoever got the most engagement won! It seemed the StoneHenge group wanted to see what the masses would like LOL. So I rallied all my social media and with the help of my fiancee who RALLLLLIEEEDDD on the socials as well... I ended up with the most love on my piece. And I won. The prize was that blank wall... $2000 and all the materials to paint the wall with...! I am not sure how many submissions there were but it ran from Dec until April 31 so I imagine there were at least a few ;)

Here’s the sketch I originally submitted!!

Do you always prefer to use a colorful palette? Why are you drawn to those colors? No, actually I go in phases... Last year I was on a very orange, pink and black kick, then the beginning of 2017 I was doing ALL black and white... and then I moved into this irridescent palette that I’ve been doing for a few months. Sorta soft and welcoming but happy and poppy. Not too intense... but honestly, I do prefer lots of color, and am drawn to cooler colors... I don't like too much red. The colors enable me to convey mood and emotion which is extremely important to the messages I like to weave into my work.

What is your preferred medium of choice? Any you’d like to try but are afraid of using? Well, I have a few worlds that my art lives in... one is digital. I LOVE working digitally and I am kind of a computer / tech nerd, so the digital tools come really naturally to me. I do a lot of work on my iPad pro. The second is paint markers. I like using paint markers on large scale canvases / walls etc. The markers give me a really graphic look - you know crisp lines and solid colors etc. And lastly, I quite enjoy painting on objects like shoes and jackets and such. I use mostly markers for that too, but there is something quite rewarding about the challenge of painting 3D objects. Hmmm. Afraid of using... well I’m not super confident with power tools, but I’d love to do some elaborate wood or plastic cuts to make shaped canvases. Like a huge set of dripping lips cut out of wood and then I paint on it. Someday... :)

If you could collaborate with ANY artist, who would it be with and why? I’d love to collaborate with Shantell Martin. Her work is so different from mine stylistically but thematically I think it would be a good fit, as I know she incorporates messages of positivity into her work and that’s something i try to always do as well.... so I think it could make sense. I am not sure what that would look like visually but I’m confident that we could communicate something meaningful together. Do you work with corporate sponsors often? What can you tell our audience about your experience with working with large corporations? Yes. I do work alot with corporations. I actually come from a design background, and have worked for many years with brands on design and advertising, marketing etc. This is the world of commercial art :) Working with brands is an exciting challenge that I really enjoy, as the messaging and communication of the visuals is often much more important than the look of the artwork. In a way, the messaging must drive the visuals, so for an artist, this can feel like a lot of compromise. But the challenge is really to develop visuals and an aesthetic that are driven by an overarching message or idea... and when the big picture is clear, and brand / artist align, then the visual decisions fall into place. The best thing I can share about working with brands and big companies is flexibility. You really have to learn to be flexible about the big picture, the overall message, and the communication. Lots of talking and planning enables you to find resonating ideas that then you can use to make art. And understanding that when brands are spending $$$$ on marketing and advertising, they want everything to be perfect. So flexibility enables them to feel this way. Now, all of this doesn't mean to say that I as the artist don't have a voice... but you have to remember that with a big brand, it's a collaboration. Push and pull. Give and take. :)

We should touch on your fashion background. Do you prefer to work with fashion designers or beauty brands? How much creative freedom is given to you in these fields?

Hmmm.. Well I definitely prefer to work with beauty brands over fashion designer because to simplify it... fashion designers are just other artists. Their medium is clothing. So its complicated to merge my artwork with their taste. Beauty brands are a different kind of monster LOL but at the end of the day, a lipstick is much different than a dress or pair of boots or handbag. So creating artwork that supports lipsticks and eyeshadows is different than creating artwork that somehow works with handbags, etc. I have had some exciting opportunities working with both, and as a straight guy in the fashion / beauty industry, I find that I stand out a bit... and I love that :) But all in all, thematically, I like to draw lips and eyes on everything (which is a whole other convo...) and beauty brands seem to like my lips and eyes... :)

What is next for you?

Well to circle back to the Life Life Colorfully wall, I actually have been commissioned by the Stonehenge Group to paint a few more walls around the city. The next will be on 60th and 2nd Ave, right across from the Roosevelt Island Tram station. So I’m currently designing the art for that wall... and I also have a public project in the works that's all about 4 letter words... the positive ones! Stay tuned for more on that one.

Where can our audience learn more about both you and your work? Well I’m pretty active on instagram, and I try to keep my website current :) @jasonnaylor

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