Pierre: How long have you been making things, Jesjit?
Jesjit: For my whole life! When I was a little kid I made drawings of really bloody gun fights and I would make my own X-Men comics. Maybe 5 years ago I started screen-printing, which is everything that I do now.
Did you read a lot of comics or did you just like the artwork and want to do that part of it?
Oh, I read so many comics when I was young, not so much now. I don't think I could afford that kind of habit, but yeah, I was really into superhero comics, like wolverine! I don't think I was very concerned with the art in comics.You didn't really have like a favourite inker or something? Haha. Your posters seem like they're influenced by all kinds of different artists and mediums. What do you do when you're going to design a poster? What influences you?
For the most part I try not to look at posters by other artists when I'm doing one myself, because it really psychs me out. It's hard to say what influences me, because my process isn't a very consistent thing, sometimes I'll draw, sometimes it'll be collage... but for the most part screen-printing brings whatever ideas I have together. Yeah, its the process that influences me, trying to do as much as I can within the limits of the print is what I think is great!
That is a pretty nice cycle of things, never ending. You taught a course this summer on screen-printing, was that really rewarding?
Totally! I was really pumped to share this thing that I love so much with others, and I ended doing one little workshop with a group of like 5 year old kids, and they were so into it! They thought it was magic, and it is! totally a magical thing, being able to make so much with just your hands, very satisfying. That is what I get out of it.
It seems like you really get a lot out of working with others and really want to push the screen-printing technique out there so people see it and appreciate it for what it is. You curated a show of posters in Toronto and also in Kingston, how did that come together?
I was in a group show in Europe last winter, and though I couldn't see it in person, seeing photos of it floored me, and I thought why not do that here? It was a chance to get all of my favorite artists work in one room, so it was pretty humbling, but really great to share this stuff that inspires me with people who aren't poster-art nerds.
Are you planning on doing more things like that in the future?
Yes! Maybe! I don't have anything in mind right now.. I think I'm just trying to concentrate on making stuff for now.Like the collab drawing books? Being a part of those has been so much fun. Its cool how you get people who weren't able to make it out to the jam involved by doing covers or other illustrations for them.
Yeah! I mean why not? Screen-printing is a medium that just lends itself to collaboration. From posters, trading and stuff I end up getting to know so many amazing artists! So it makes total sense.
Is there anyone you want to maybe work with in the future?
Oh, can I just name my favorite artists? Ron Liberti , Zeloot, Seripop , those are people I would want to work with/work with more. Oh Tadanori Yokoo . Is he still alive? Art Chantry... I don't know. Oh! Cosmic Bubblegum, that's someone else I'd like to work with. his bubble letters are amazing!
What do you have on the go right now?
Right now I am printing a drawing zine from that drawing party a few weeks ago called Raw Draw, and a poster for a band from Hamilton called the Junior Boys.
Music obviously plays a huge role in what you do, have you ever been in a band or wanted to do that too?
I played the flute in middle school. and I have a guitar, I know 3 chords. I have been meaning to sit down and practice more, but it's tough I think screen-printing has spoiled me. I think I need the immediate gratification, of like pulling a print.
Totally, it is a pretty unique medium. It seems to give people power to realize it isn't impossible to make something really cool.
Do I talk about screen-printing too much? It comes up every time I talk to someone. I think I've been doing it for so long, that I'm the 'screen-printing guy' , I mean if I just started doing something else, I would stop to exist. There would be a big hole in my life!
Never too much screen-printing talk. Any final words?
You can see more of Jesjit's work at http://jesjitgill.com/ and his posters here.