Jean Saiz, Illustrator
Medium(s): ink, paper, digital
Based in: Miami, FL
Years Active: 2000 – present
Most Recent Clients: Idle Hands Productions, Churchill’s Pub, Destroyer Fest
Current Albums in Rotation: Boduf Songs “How Shadows Chase the Balance”, Beastmilk “Climax”, Dead Can Dance “Spleen and Ideal”, Death Talisman VII “s/t”, Swans “Filth”
It is a distinct pleasure to have you at our moonlit table, The Queen of Aesthetic Mean.. Jean! You have graced the presence of gig posters, album covers, cotton, and stages with your style. Your artwork is often very akin to styles and themes from b-movies. What attracts you to that visual side of things? Also, what are your top 3 flicks of the genre? Do you have any favorite artists / designers from the golden eras of horror artwork?
There’s a certain inherent silliness and over-the-top style to b-movies that I enjoy, plus my Partner-In-Crime is a HUGE b-movie fanatic, and specifically chooses films to watch based on how terrible their cover art is. A lot of the cheesy covers from Roger Corman movies are instant attractors. If we’re talking golden era of horror art, Basil Gogos pretty much sums it up for me, but there are lots of artists that I find inspiration from, classic artists like Jack Kirby, Frazetta, Jean Giraud (Moebius), etc, plus newer artists like Skinner, Gary Pullin, Alan Forbes, Benjamin Marra… I’ve been heavy into these zines that feature low brow art & underground culture, like Nightwatch, PORK, Chips & Beer. There are so many people out there creating badass work, it’s been inspiring and has lit a major fire for me to get cracking on drawing, doodling and creating in some aspect on a daily basis.
As for top 3 horror flicks, that’s real difficult! Cheesy horror I enjoy would be like Tales from the Crypt movie/show, The Howling series, Stephen King flicks like Night Flyer, Tales from the Dark Side, Pet Cemetery … basically anything made from 1980 up to about 1998 with an unknown cast and dubious VHS cover is fair game. My favorite horror movies in a more serious tone definitely skew towards the classic and demonic, like The Omen, Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist and the like.
Lately, on your social outlets, you have teased at experimentations within new mediums for your artwork. Are you able to share any details from your upcoming works or even successes/failures of your experimentations?
I bought a couple of wood panels that I did illustrations on for the Out of the Woods exhibit. The panels tie into the theme of ghosts or spirits of the woods. There was a bit of a learning curve for me while drawing on the wood – just the nature of the medium and how it absorbs and reacts to the ink. It was a different effect and a little bit of departure for me style-wise, but I wanted the pieces to have an older, primitive feel. In that aspect, I considered them a success, and I’m looking forward to experimenting with different treatments to the wood prior to drawing and seeing how that goes. I work in stages, so I try to always have a route of escape to avoid complete failure on pieces. This summer I began working with wood and resin making a bar and bartop for my backyard, and ever since taking on that small build I’ve been in the planning stages of doing some three-dimensional pieces that incorporate illustration, found objects and resin. I’m also planning on some paper maché experimentation too, so I’m looking forward to taking things into a three dimensional realm.
Primitive Violence, your outlet for all things creative both visual and musical, was founded about 2-years ago now. Tell our audience more about it: how and why was PV founded? Where does the name come from? And what plans do you have for the future?
I’m not sure where the name came from – possibly from a dream, or just random words or phrases I write down and forget, only to re-discover months down the line. It’s got a nice ring to it, at least I thought so! I originally started Primitive Violence as a way to do releases for my band Shroud Eater and also have a moniker with which to release my illustrative work. By next year, I’d like to have screen-printed posters and other merch with my drawings and illustrations, so the illustration side of the label is still very much a work in progress.
As for the musical side, I wanted Primitive Violence to be a specifically cassette-only label, and there are a couple of reasons for that. Firstly, cassettes are an affordable medium to produce and mail both in the U.S. and abroad. There are lots of color options on the cassette shells, and there’s a lot that can be done with the design and packaging. It would be great to do vinyl, but it’s just too cost-prohibitive at the moment and CD’s lack that bit of nostalgia and mystique, so cassettes were the perfect middle-ground. There are obvious disadvantages as many folks either hate the medium, or don’t have a way in which to listen to the cassettes. Personally, I really enjoy the gritty audio artifacts that are produced on cassette – it’s a very unique character. Aside from the cassettes, I also wanted each release to come with a certain number of limited & special packaging – to date I’ve done a death charm for the Shroud Eater release, trading cards for the Orbweaver release, and an engraved stainless steel knife for Forest of Tygers.
Right now I’m shooting to do two releases per year, I’m really trying to get PV04 released this year, but that’s looking like it will be early next year. I will definitely be doing represses of the first releases, so those will be back in stock before the holidays for sure. I don’t like to show off everything I’m working on, so I’m not gonna give too much light on the fourth release, the only hints I can give currently is that it’s a Florida band of thrashing drunk punk marauders and I’m really excited about what the limited edition cassettes will have included.
You also play music. Aggressive, ridiculously awesome music that really compliments, if not coincides, with your body of artwork. In that, you not only write with your guitar but also lyrics for your songs. That’s 3 creative outlets combined: art, music and words. How do you find a way to balance all of these creative crowns you cycle through? As a professional in these realms, it seems a daunting and difficult task to undertake. With that, all the responsibility involved and commitment to quality of each realm (as you prove through persistence in your pursuits), do you have any spells or elixirs to share in how you never lack in production value?
There isn’t a magic pill, you just have to work hard if you want to keep it real. I’m fortunate to have a great support system in all of my creative endeavors that offer encouragement and honest critique, which for me is crucial to be able to grow and develop as a musician, illustrator or hot-sauce maker, hah! It’s good to surround yourself with folks that have drive and ambition, and honestly, with a very finite timeframe on this planet, I just don’t have time to to sit around and NOT do – the time is NOW. It always is – attack this life with fervor.
Participating in this year’s Midnite Communion on November 15th at The Complex in Los Angeles, Jean is not only a fantastic artist but also a shredder and vocalist in Florida-based Shroud Eater who have a new single on our recent compilation “Midnite Congregation: Verse II.” Her work, and further endeavors, can be seen and commissioned at www.primitiveviolence.com. Follow her on Instagram: @entheojean.