Welcome weird wunderkinder!
How’s your creative genius treating you this morning? Mine has gone into hiding, thanks to the mental magnificence of Swiss illustrator, Jared Muralt. I had the pleasure of interviewing this tremendous talent and it was clear to me that the content of his character is as colorful, multifaceted and exceptional as his body of work.
Whether he’s doing freelance work or running the business rails of his Blackyard Studios, a co-founded Swiss design collective, he really has a people-first approach to his craft. It’s so interesting how microcosm moments, like a young 5-year-old mind crashing headfirst into a sci-fi adventure comic book, can create a relationship with life that no one would’ve seen coming. I’ll let him give you the gritty details, but Jared dispels the illusion of easy art with joy and grace. His tone is playful, yet serious. Much like his style, his insights come alive with a sense of innocence, vulnerability and an undeniable respect for the craft. Join me as we jump off the page and share in Jared’s love of Moebius, Star Wars, nature, and Indiana Jones (except Crystal Skull of course).
Chris: Hey Jared, I understand you’re from Bern. Did that community have an influence on your style? Did you find art or did art find you?
Jared: No, I wouldn’t really say that the community had an influence on my style, but when art found me was when I found art. When I was five years old, I found a comic book by Moebius, “Le Garage Hermétique,“ that belonged to my mother in our living room. It must have been around our house for much longer, but this is when I found it and when it found me. I was instantly mesmerized!
Chris: I understand you started with sci-fi drawings, did any early sci-fi stories influence your developing style? FYI: I came across Grand Moff Tarkin on your Instagram – AMAZING!
Jared: Again, sci-fi stories by Moebius. Of course, my early fascination and affixation with Star Wars is undeniable and prevails to this day, but I know I am not alone with this!
Chris: Tell me about your year in art school. I’ve been told it’s nothing but criticism. You either grow from its constructive nature, learn to create despite judgment, or maybe both. Was that your experience?
Jared: What I really took from art school was the realization that I was too young back then, too young to take life and my education and my career seriously. The following year, I worked as a cashier in a supermarket and that was much more valuable life experience than my year at art school – in that it showed me what I don’t want to do. And that I really, really have to accomplish myself and work on my skills and career unless I want to end up in a job I don’t want to do for the rest of my life. After years of school and then art school, it was this very real work experience that showed me the responsibilities that come with being an adult. It made me thing seriously about a career and how to get one.
Chris: I also understand you have a preference towards the stippling technique. Can you share a little about what that is? Do you find creative power in the world of dots?
Jared: To me, it did indeed start with stippling and this helped me to convey surface and structures in a black-and-white drawing. It doesn’t really need to be points – it could be cross hatching for example, but it is a good technique to successfully create the illusion of three-dimensionality in a black and white illustration.
Chris: I understand your mom gave you your first sketchbook. How did your parents influence your art?
Jared: My father didn’t, he ran out my mom the second he found out she was pregnant, so I never knew him. My mother is herself a creative person and her creativity influenced me and I was raised in a creative household/environment. My mother supported me in living my creative impulses as best and as fully as she was capable. She once called herself my lab assistant because she was always supplying me with everything I needed to follow my creative instincts.
Chris: Do you have a favorite story or comic that has stuck with you or influenced you over the years?
Jared: “Le Garage Hermétique” by Moebius as I mentioned before. The whole Star Wars franchise as well of course. The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé. And let’s not forget Steven Spielberg’s original Indiana Jones trilogy (let’s forget “Crystal Skull“, please), just to name a few.
Chris: I also understand that you work with some graphic designer and art friends as part of your team now. How has collaboration played a role in your success?
Jared: It very much the key point in my career. Since they are not only graphic designers but also illustrators, the creative exchange with my friends/colleges/coworkers brought me to the point where I am now.
Chris: What are your passions outside of illustration?
Jared: Walking and trekking and working in the garden and swimming in our beloved river are, though I only swim in it during the summer. Generally being outside and in nature is what I love to do.
Chris: What accomplishments are you most proud of up to this point?
Jared: Generally, that I can make a living as an illustrator – and whenever someone lets me know that my works inspire them, that makes me very proud.
Chris: Do you have any exciting upcoming projects and what is the most exciting thing in your life right now (even if it doesn’t have anything to do with art)?
Jared: The most exciting thing in my life would be my impending fatherhood – my girlfriend and I are expecting twin boys next month! And my other, (hopefully) soon to arrive offspring, my upcoming comic book series “The Fall“ should be mentioned as well.
Jared, I’m so appreciative of our time together. Thank you for your honesty. Your love of this profession gives us permission to use our imaginative energy without fear of losing our sense of responsibility. You are living proof that art is both a fountain of youth and a pool of wisdom that prepares us for life, freedom and family.
For more of Jared’s awesomesauce, check him out on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jaredmuralt.
Here’s a link to his design collective: https://shop.blackyard.ch and be on the look out for his new post-apocalyptic comic series, “The Fall,” to be released soon.