Every now and then, you come across a talent that simply blows you away. Sarah Rugg aka Jackolyn, is one of those. I simply love the work she does (c’mon it’s the Joker and Freddy – my heroes), and how she brings her subjects to life, on wearables with airbrushes.
I simply had to get in touch with her to find out more about her and her work.
When did you begin as an artist?
I have always had a passion for the arts, but the day I knew I wanted to really go after it was in my Grade 10 year. I had the most inspiring teacher one could ask for, and he pushed me as an artist and gave the the confidence I needed to truly per-sue it.
How did you settle on t-shirts and wearables as a medium?
It was actually one of our assignments in High School nearing the end of the year. We had been airbrushing for the better part of the semester, so as a final assignment my teacher gave us a shirt to airbrush on. Most studends used stencils to lay down their image, but my teacher practically forbid me from using them and that’s when I first began freehanding my work and it just stuck.
The fabric of the shirt is so forgiving, and I can get as much detail as I need without worrying about the surface area ruining the paint – such as airbrushing on metal or canvas. As far as wearing the artwork is concerned, I’ve had many people tell me that they framed it, and others who just love wearing it! But just because it’s a t-shirt, you’ve still gotta treat it like a piece of art or else it just won’t last.
What do you do when you’re not painting?
I am currently a full-time student attending my fourth year at the University of Sakatchewan in the College of Education. I’m studying to become a secondary teacher – Major in Visual Art and minor in English Language Arts. When I’m not at school, I’m working at the best comic book store in the world (Amazing Stories)!! Or working on my mountain range of homework…
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Pop-Culture, Horror Movies, Video Games and Fantasy art. My favourites being Pirates of the Caribbean, A Nightmare on Elm Street, League of Legends, Alice: Madness Returns, Batman, a bit of everything!! I love collecting books showcasing concept art from movies and video games, as well as taking inspiration from popular comic book artists and fantasy artists.
I take inspiration from almost everything around me. If I see something I like, it sticks to me like crazy glue and really builds into who I want to be as an artist, and what I want to be able to achieve.
Which piece of work took the most amount of time? How long did it take?
That would have to be one of my earlier pieces. Early on, the process of airbrushing free-handing terrified me, I was very careful and took as much time as I needed to make sure I made no mistakes. I’m a perfectionist and that really slowed me down when I was still getting a grasp of the medium. Now, I can usually make a t-shirt to satisfaction in 3-4 hours from beginning to end.
The longest piece is probably my Barbossa shirt — around 9 – 12 hours — but one that I still believe to be my best work to this day.
Other than t-shirts, what other medium do you work on?
I really love to paint acrylic on canvas. Sometimes the process of setting up my compressor and cleaning out the airbrush after every colour can become tedious, and I just want physical paint on a brush. My favourite examples of this would have to be my Pinhead piece, and Guerrero (Jackie Earle Haley) from Human Target. I also love working in pencil as well, and is how I actually started out as an artist!
Which is your favourite piece of work to date?
It’s a close tie between my Barbossa shirt as mentioned above, and my airbrushed Pinhead T-Shirt.
Which is the biggest Comic Convention you’ve been to so far?
I’ve only actually ever been to four, and have been an artist at two. The biggest one I went to as casual was the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo back in 2012. The biggest one I’ve been to as an artist was the Saskatoon Comic and Entertainment Expo this year! (Robert Englund (AKA Freddy Krueger) was at both…coincidence?)
Which was your favourite?
Probably Calgary, because as amazing as it is to showcase my art here in Saskatoon, I was dying to just wander the convention floor and spend all of my hard earned money in record time.
Do you receive many requests?
I do get a lot of people asking for commissioned work and asking what I can do. Basically, I do whatever the client wants, be it a personal portrait or a favourite vido game character.
What’s the weirdest request you’ve received?
My mothers insistence for me to always airbrush butterflies and pretty things. My artwork doesn’t really lend itself to…butterflies.
What would you say is your greatest accomplishment as an artist?
Winning both first and third in Airbrush Action’s Annual Airbrush Excellence Competition in 2013!
Who’s your favourite artist?
Oh my gosh, this is a hard one. In the comic book universe it has to be Alex Ross, and Stjepan Šejić. Fantasy wise, it’s got to be Louis Royo and Hajime Soryama.
What’s one of the key skills/traits that you need?
When it comes to airbrushing, it’s definitely got to be patience, determination and persistence. Especially when first starting out, you need determination and patience to learn the tool, and to wrap your head around techniques to use it to the fullest potential. There were many a time when I was ready to quit because it was frustrating at first, but I kept at it.
What advice would you have for someone who’s just getting started?
Take your time. Watch tutorials, and look at other artists for inspiration. Take aspects from artwork that you love and make it your own to find your voice. And don’t be afraid to make mistakes! My best work wouldn’t exist if I didn’t learn from where I went wrong when I was starting out.
What’s next on your project list? What should we look out for from you?
Once school calms down, I’m hoping to get back into the studio and start working on commissions and personal projects. I also have a GIANT piece of black fabric illustration board that I’m just dying to airbrush on…I’m thinking a Pirates of the Caribbean mural!
I don’t really have a favourite hero, I’ve always had a closer affinity for the bad guys, so for Villains it’s gotta be the Joker. I mean…come on. He’s to blame for where I am now! And then there’s Freddy Krueger! The man of my dreams!
If you could have one superpower what would it be?
I’ve thought about this a lot, and as much fun as telekinesis or flying would be, I’ve gotta say Teleportation. Mainly because I would save thousands of dollars on plane tickets to visit my boyfriend (who lives across the country), and I would never have to worry about being late for school or work ever again. I would love it!
Marvel or DC?
I knew this question would be here!! I’ve gotta say DC. As much as I LOVE the Marvel Universe, I can’t deny that I just have a closer affinity to the DC Universe. It’s what got me into comics to begin with, and I love the darker and grittier stories, as opposed to bright and bombastic universes.
I’m a DC gal, but I have n0 shame watching Guardians of the Galaxy or X-Men 2 a hundred times over!!
What the best way for fans to get in touch with you or purchase your work?