Justin Maller Interview
Chapter XXI: Deluxe I
- Ari Wenkle
Chapter XLV: Primal
- Lucas de Alcântara
Chapter XLIV: Echoes
- Vesna Pesic
Chapter XLIII: Time
- Niklas Lundberg
Chapter XLII: Obsolete
- Karan Singh
Chapter XLI: Mirror
- Raphael Vicenzi
Chapter XL: Mythic
- Rik Oostenbroek
Chapter XXXIX: Eve
- David Mascha
Chapter XXXVIII: Freestyle IV
- Leigh Flurry
Chapter XXXVII: Her
- Phil Dunne
Chapter XXXVI: Heist
- Jonathan Foerster
Chapter XXXV: Noir
- Matei Apostolescu
Chapter XXXIV: Idio
- Kervin Brisseaux
Chapter XXXIII: Requiem
- Cristiano Siqueira
Chapter XXXII: Temple
- James Wignall
Chapter XXXI: Freestyle III
- Theo Aartsma
Chapter XXX: Empire
Chapter XXIX: Untitled Dreams
- Bart van Leeuwen
Chapter XXVIII: A Trip to Elsewhere
- Jeff Huang
Chapter XXVII: Vivid
- Eric Sin
Chapter XXV: Freestyle II
- Gavin Hislop
Chapter XXIV: Calibre
- Christian Jehle
Chapter XXIII: Lounge
- Justin Maller
Chapter XXI: Deluxe I
- Gavin Moore
Chapter XX: Voodoo
- George Smith
Chapter XVIII: Human
- Antti Sinisalo
Chapter XVII: Freestyle
- Justin J. Bacon
Chapter XVI: Element
- Nik Ainley
Chapter XV: Habitat
- Bart van Leeuwen
Chapter XIV: Verve
- Alistair Uz
Chapter XIII: Infinity
- Bharani Kumar
Chapter XII: Evolution
- J Braam
Chapter XI: Submergence
- Vincent Lai
Chapter X: Symphony
- Pete Golibersuch
Chapter IX: Technica
- Thomas Larsson
Chapter VIII: Fantasy
- Alston I. Cabral
Chapter VII: Re-Birth
- Tony Graf
Chapter V: Foundry
- Gavin McGinn
Chapter IV: Nemesis
Hey Justin, thanks for taking the time for this interview. To get it started, tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Justin Maller, I'm 22 and I live in Melbourne, Australia. I'm a Leo, I like Michael Bolton, long cuddles and getting caught in the rain' Star signs aside, I've been bashing around in Photoshop since I was 14, taking it seriously since I found deviantART in 2001. I study Creative Arts at Melbourne University, which is a good course for people like myself who are jacks of all artistic trades ' I get to take photos, study art history, write stories and act. I work casually for a mobile phone company, where I spend equal portions of time juggling, checking email and selling phones. Hey, bills have to get paid, and for someone who spends so much time designing I have an unusual dislike for working for other people' Apart from work and school, I play competitive basketball twice a week, shoot a lot of pool and chill with friends.
How has art impacted your life?
Art has made a massive impact on my life. I spent my entire school career being rubbish at (and hence not taking) any visual art classes. It was only after I was in late high school that my skills began to develop in to anything worth noting, and the creative release I found was amazing. I’d spent my whole life acting, playing music and writing stories, and I finally found something I could have full control over in terms of artistic expression. I think I have lost years, literally years, to Photoshop. It isn’t unusual for me spend eight or twelve hours in front of it, and I would have done that thousands of times over 8 years… Scary really, but when I think about it I couldn’t have really done anything more productive…
What is the most important aspect of art in your opinion?
This is a tough question – there are so many facets that comprise a ‘good’ work of art. To give a blanket answer, the most essential aspect of art is composition, especially in abstract, and most especially in digital abstract. You can have excellent forms, brilliant colours, and sweet typography, but if it isn’t arranged well in terms of an overall composition then all of your good work is lost. It’s the thing I spend the most time on in terms of my own work, and the hardest thing to really nail.
Are there other artists you look up to?
Absolutely, thousands upon thousands. I admire artists like Duchamp and Breton for their amazing vision and lateral thinking, the way they visually manifest their artistic philosophies in their work. I admire people like Russell Drysdale and Dali for the way their minds just seem to bleed on to the canvas, the way they can visualise something and recreate it with such clarity. In terms of modern artists, I admire guys like Heiko K. (aka jesar from dC and devart – don’t print this, maybe make it a link or something?) for similar reasons to the surrealists – he has this amazing ability to take a thematic concept and make it real. In terms of my abstract, I’ve always wanted to be Jonathan Forester (aka cugar from dc and devart – might wanna look up spelling, his surname always escapes me). His 3D is still amazingly fresh and innovative, three years later. Amazing innovation and execution – and you get such emotion radiating from his pieces, it’s incredible…
What inspires you to do what you do?
I’m streaky with my art. I’ll go through phases where there’s just no stopping me. All September and early October this year I was a man on a mission. I must have been a terror to live with, waking up at like four in the morning, walking down to the computer and firing something up. My girlfriend would be asking me where the fuck I’ve been for three hours…I’ll just have mad rushes with ideas racing around my head, no chance of sleep because I have to write this story, take this photo, render this model, work with these colours, design this t-shirt, whatever. I even went out and spent a couple hundred dollars on paints and sprays because I had to get this one idea down on a canvas or I would have gone nuts. I drove all over town trying to find a store that was open…
But then there’s phases like March through June this year where I have nothing. I’m a bit lacklustre the past couple weeks as well – it’s all relative to how much time I have to dedicate to art. Unfortunately, when I get in the swing of things there’s no room for anything else. No time for schoolwork, no time for family, it’s art time. Every now and then the real world intrudes, and I just can’t get fired up on art, so I have a dry stretch, like now.
I realise that’s a slightly circuitous answer that doesn’t really
cover the question, but I think the mindest I have is the true inspiration
behind the work, more than the music I listen to or the sunset I see on the
train home, because when I’m charging artistically I’ll see and
hear these things and only appreciate them in terms of how I can capture
them. Melbourne becomes one massive muse, I’m channelling it or something
wanky like that. It’s a bit manic really…
Living in a remote country like Australia , how does this influence your work, if at all?
Believe it or not, Australia is a first world country. Did you guys know that? Where I’m from is the culture capital of Australia, so I feel incredibly connected to the world’s artistic scene. We have exhibitions and festivals year round, creative culture is really embraced here, which makes it easy for someone as creatively driven as myself.
I think Australia always puts it’s own distinct spin on it’s art, whether the artist is conscious of it or not. Australian music is just fantastic, especially our hip-hop. We have MC’s who put the big time American guys to shame, it’s not even funny. It takes a couple of listens (even for an Australian) to get past the accent, but the hip-hop culture here is amazing, totally different to it’s US counterpart. I’m incredibly proud to be Australian, and really privileged to be coming up in such a charged artistic atmosphere.
Australia in general is fairly laidback though. I hear these horror stories from my American friends about how competitive school is, how people will be friends with you just to network and make a connection. That’s such an alien concept to me I can’t even explain it, that mindset just doesn’t exist here.
Prior to digital art, did you have experience in traditional arts?
Nope. I’ve had a massive amount of experience and education in theatre, writing and music, but no formal education in either traditional or digital art. I’m completely self-taught in digital art, and have no traditional background.
In your art we see 3D, vector and Photoshop brushwork as well as typography and photo manipulation. Did you at one point work with each individually and got fed up and decided to throw them altogether or was it just an obvious move on your part?
I think it’s just a natural evolution. As you get better and better at one aspect of digital art, it’s natural and necessary to branch out. You can plateau in one discipline, and if you just sit there and keep pumping the same crap out you’re going to get repetitive and lose interest. If I found that I was just rendering the same thing, I’d learn how to brush it to make it different. If the brushing was always the same, I’d try and add some vector. After this, I’d go back and do some more 3D, discover something new, the cycle repeats itself. Where abstract is at the moment, we have no choice but to start working photography in, because that’s the one big untapped discipline we have left to make the genre new and relevant again.
You are known to be deviantART's resident Pimp Daddy. How did you earn yourself that title?
Messing around with Kevin one night, I think I was telling him about the massive pimps and whores party I had for my 21st birthday. The joke got a bit out of hand, and he changed my status to deviantART Pimp. It seems to have stuck, which works for me because no-one can actually fathom what it is that I do around deviantART from the title...
Tell us a bit about depthCore.com. How did it come to be?
Like a bunch of other guys, I started an artgroup because I got rejected from one. I think it was Breed… You know, fuck you guys, I’ll make my own, and it’ll be the bestest ever! I’m just one of the guys who actually managed to make something decent, which is entirely due to my amazing fortune in stumbling upon Kevin Stacey and Brian Smith…
Basically, depthCORE is an international art group with an abstract focus. For a more indepth answer on this, read the about on the site, but it’s basically just a private, creative group that exhibits sporadically and has a great deal of fun putting packs together. We really feed off each other’s energies and ideas – it’s an amazing creative environment behind the scenes there, kinda like having a homecourt advantage in the playoffs, know what I mean?
Being on the topic, how did doing group projects influence your work? Does being part of a collective group like that push you to try harder?
Oh hell yeah, especially as the ‘founder’ or whatever. You don’t want people to think you’re only in the group because you started it, you’ve really got to earn your spot, release even better work because you’re focussed on just a little bit more. Apart from that, I serve as a kind of central conduit for the group. Not being arrogant, but if I’m having one of those slow months I mentioned before it’s rare that the group gets firing on the pack. I think there’s a discernible difference in terms of energy and quality in the packs I haven’t participated in. When someone releases something exceptional, I just eat it up and I’ll get pumping, which sets someone else off – total chain reaction mayhem, which you only get in a collective like dC.
In various depthCORE packs you contributed audio submissions as well. Is this something you do professionally or is it just a hobby?
I’ve been playing percussion since I was 13, but only ever for fun. I listen to heaps of music, but I’m a quintessential drummer – awesome rythym, no melody. My music sucks pretty bad in my opinion, but I have managed to fluke a couple of listening tracks. Until I get my band started, electronic music will suffice as a hobby.
JUST FOR FUN
What's your favorite music?
I’m all over the shop. Hard rock, Australian hip-hop, deep trance and house, mixed with classic rock like Hendrix and Creedence.
JUST FOR FUN
Do you have a pimp hat?
Yep, sure do, left over from my pimps n whores party!
JUST FOR FUN
Would you ever do an abstract picture of a koala bear?
Haha, unlikely… Maybe a wombat though…
In closing, is there a message you want to shout out to the crowd?
Yeah, when are you all going to get over anime? Give it up already… But in seriousness, much love and thanks to everyone who I’ve worked with over the last however many years, it’s been a blast.