Jason Recker is a Mixed Media Artist from Leamington who now lives and works in London, ON. Most days, he can be found at Recker Art on 796 Dundas Street. It is a creative space that Jason shares with Wes the Barber.
Previously, Jason was best known as a graphic designer, but when his business "dried up" in 2020 due to the pandemic, he had more time to pursue other creative outlets. As he explained, “I was ready to move away from the computer screen and try something else. What started as having fun in my basement soon caught the eyes of followers on social media and requests to buy my art started coming in. I had never considered selling my work, so this kind of took me by surprise. I was just doing these pieces for myself but they were obviously getting some attention, so I started to take commissions and selling online.”
Early on, Recker began re-creating famous magazine covers from Rolling Stone to MacLean’s in his own unique style: “…Pop art, music and culture have been big influences in my life and they have helped shaped me to be where I am today in my creative career. I’m growing and exploring as an artist and just getting started…. I mostly use acrylics on wood panels but also use spray paint, pencils, markers, crayons and anything else that makes a mark.”
On top of that, he uses resin, varnish and a foil technique known as “Gold Leafing” in order to give his work an extra shine. He noted that “there are many other colours aside from gold” such as the metallic red he uses on the iconic Rolling Stone logo: “I paint on a layer of glue called ‘sizing’ that the leafing sticks to and then I brush off everything that isn’t stuck down. It gives a really cool feel with all the other textures on these pieces.” Each image he uses is printed on a large piece of paper which is glued onto the panel and then “manipulated from there”.
Jason agreed that using such recognizable photographs in his work is definitely a “grey area” when it comes to potential copyright infringements. However, he said that he gets permission whenever possible and that most images are now in the public domain. He added that usually his pieces are sold to individual collectors. He does not intend to mass produce his work on items like t-shirts and phone cases. “Using a public image to recreate a new art piece usually isn’t a concern. If I were reusing an image as it was first intended to be used (e.g. reselling a photograph), for mass production, and not getting permission or license, there would probably be an issue.”
That being said, Recker has had nothing but positive feedback so far. Artists like Eddie Vedder and The Tragically Hip have liked and shared his work online. Additionally, Jason has been in contact with The Hard Rock Hotel, which is currently under construction at 100 Kellogg Lane. They would like to feature some of his magazine covers. It is possible that he might also be asked to create new pieces, including a mural.
Outside of his cover art, Jason has created several other pieces that incorporate abstract backgrounds with hand-painted letters. As a graphic designer, Jason was taught that everything had to be “tight” and precisely done. Now he is able to explore “loose” backgrounds, but he has discovered that his typography skills tie everything together. Each letter is traced on using a projector and then hand-painted. This takes several hours, but for him, it is a therapeutic process.
“Painting the backgrounds is a fun part. I kind of have an idea of colour when I start but I never really know where it’s going. I know it’s done when it just feels right. I’ve learned to tap into my intuition and trust it on my creative journey…. The advice that I got from my mentor is just start doing it. Simple as that. Do it because you want to and it feels good. That’s the best thing about being an artist—all I have to do is feel good when I’m done.”
As his creative journey continues, Jason Recker admitted that his current piece is always his favourite but that he also looks forward to the next one.
For more information, please visit: www.jasonrecker.com.
Photo courtesy of Jason Recker.
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