Denver muralist Jason T. Graves talks music, art and mustard
Driving around Colorado, you might have noticed the encapsulating geometric murals climbing the walls in every town or city you frequent. You can thank Jason T. Graves for some of those unbelievable works of art. The owner of Apollo Ink began his journey as a screen printer but quickly developed his unique style and took his talents to the larger city canvases, where challenges are plenty and mistakes are costly. While he still works at his shop, you can find him etching his name into the Colorado walls amongst some of the most creative minds in the country. We caught up with the artist to talk about music, art and mustard — everyone’s favorite subjects.
ROOSTER: What kind of education did you take in order to get to where you are?
JASON: I took traditional art classes during my childhood in and out of school. I also studied fine art at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and received my BFA from there way back in Y2K.
R: What are some of the exciting things you’ve seen progress over the years in screen printing and graphic design?
J: I guess some of the new computer aided screen creation software and production technology. When I first learned to screen print we were making screens by hand painting them or using black and white images on printer paper.
R: Do you find the amount of competition out there challenging?
J: Not really, there's so much work out there.
R: What’s the most difficult part of working on outdoor murals?
J: There can be a lot of red tape and logistical steps to handle on some of the bigger projects. I think the difficult part is getting the production to start on time, without having to shift plans and then need to reschedule other jobs.
R: Is there a particular piece you’re most proud of?
J: No, not exactly. I've been fortunate to have been able to lend my artistic abilities to some impactful and for lack of a better word "special" projects. Each time during the course of the production of these murals, there's always a moment where I'm almost overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude and pride.
R: What are the artists you’re listening to most when working on a project?
J: I don't know. I mainly stream House or Techno mixes and just let it play out until someone around me needs a change of pace.
R: When you screw up, what do you do first?
J: Admit it.
R: What is it about geometrical / contemporary art that piques your interest?
J: I like the challenge of it and the lack of a forced narrative. I like it's versatility and the creative freedom it allows by being non objective. I like the task of taking something that is fundamental and finding a way to make it unique and intriguing.
R: Where do you see art going in the next 5, 10, 15 years?
J: The mural work that I do and the work I do with my art partner Remington Robinson has already transitioned a lot. Projects are now a little less focused on initiatives and are more centered around the art and styles that I / we create. I consider myself to be a fine artist, so I don't intend to limit myself to a certain style. I see it most likely continuing to progress as it always has, that being in the directions that interest me the most.
R: Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you and what’s upcoming this year?
J: Lets see, what to know about me... I really appreciate all the support I've received and the opportunities that art has allowed me. I've spent half of my life living here in Colorado and I'm proud to be a part of one of the most vibrant and talented creative communities in the country. I do have several public art projects in the works, an expansion of Apollo Ink's services and production space that will be keeping me busy for the next few months. You'll also be able to find me painting with Remington at the Fraser Mountain Mural Walk, back in Vail expanding on our recent public art project as well as a return appearance at The Crush Walls festival in Denver.
R: One last important question: Favorite condiment on a sandwich?
J: Are Chicago hot peppers a condiment? If not, I'll say, not yellow mustard.