We had the good fortune of connecting with Jonathon Kimbrell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jonathon, what makes you happy? Why?
Music, music, music! No matter how crappy the world is, I know I can put a great record on the turntable and make everything better for a few minutes.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
For the longest time I wanted to be a fine art gallery artist. I started out painting and creating Pop Art, after college, which I absolutely loved, and had the wonderful experience of working with some great art galleries around the world. I grew to love the screen printing process, and combined with my love for music, I segued into designing and printing posters and tour merchandise for bands and artists. (Free tickets to a show is not a bad perk!) I work primarily as a commercial artist and creative director, in addition to making work for myself. I spend a fair amount of time working with record companies and artists designing album covers and packaging. I’ve had the pleasure to work with hometown heroes The Polyphonic Spree, as well as Alice Cooper, ORG Music and Sun Records, to name drop a few. It’s been a childhood dream to design album covers for bands, and I feel so very fortunate to get to do that. It’s been interesting to see how my art career has grown and changed over the years. I don’t do much fine art gallery work or concert posters, right now, thanks to the pandemic, but I still stay busy in the commercial world. I find it humorous to think how my taste in art and my process has changed, and the things I thought I wanted in a career, initially, is no longer my end goal. When I’m not working with commercial designers, inundated with grad school homework, or thesis research, I try to spend some of my free time making collage and doing letterpress printing. Both of these avenues have inspired me creatively, especially since the start of the pandemic, so it’s a nice change of pace to have some time to make work solely for myself, again. I’ve always enjoyed my Pop Art painting and screen printing, but I feel like collage has become a real leaf-turning moment for me. It’s fun, it’s therapeutic, and I feel the process also pushes me to be a better designer and creative thinker, as well.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well…Covid has certainly dampened the city’s social experience this year (needless to say.) I do happen to have a pretty swell tiki bar in my back yard, with a great collection of records and rum, so I can’t think of a better spot to hang out in town, drink Mai Tais and spin exotica records. If there wasn’t a pandemic still going on, I think I’d still want to hang out in my tiki bar, anyway. I’m sure some BBQ at Mike Anderson’s would be in order, as well as a few trips to Good Records for some choice vinyl and The Lounge Here for their Old Fashioned and Chicken Friend Ribeye.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Essentially, everyone I have crossed paths with has had some sort of influence on my life and career. My wife, Sloan, has been an amazing cheerleader the nearly ten years we’ve been together. She’s been incredibly supportive and it always pushing me to do my best work and be the best human I can be. I can thank her enough for supporting my decision to obtain my Masters of Fine Arts degree in Visual Communication (summer 2021!) I have several mentors from my grad program to thank, as well, like Virgil Scott, Lee Hackett, and Casey McGarr. They also push me to be a better designer and human being. A shout-out goes to my friend and mentor, Charlie Hukill, as well. Of course, I have to thank my mom, Edna, for all the love and support, too. I’m blessed to have these great people in my life.