Where does the story of John Vogl the artist begin?
I’m not really sure, I guess I was always more interested in art classes than anything else, and never had a problem with spending so much of my time doing it. Everything else in school was always a task that I just tried to be done with as quickly as possible, art was the only thing that really held my interest for a prolonged period.
When did the jump to screen printed posters come about?
I was collecting posters in college while working towards a graphic design degree, some of the first I ever got were Jay Ryan prints. They really flipped a switch in my head about how illustration and design could come together, especially since I’ve always felt more comfortable as an illustrator (with a design sensibility). I stubbornly taught myself how to screen print, and started doing posters for friends’ bands in St. Louis, for essentially free beer and high fives. Things slowly grew from there until I finally made the jump to doing this stuff full time.
I think it’s mainly a comfort thing, I just find nature fun to draw, and I’m better at that than I am drawing people. I like to use animals and such as metaphors for human experiences, but, mostly, it’s just enjoyable.
A lot of you work pulls from nature or touches on themes found in the wild. What initially drew you to explore the outdoors through your work?
I think it’s mainly a comfort thing, I just find nature fun to draw, and I’m better at that than I am drawing people. I like to use animals and such as metaphors for human experiences, but, mostly, it’s just enjoyable. All the patterns and textures that exist in any given setting offer a pretty limitless visual inspiration.
Denver is known as an outdoorsy town. Have you always lived there? Can you talk about what kind of influence the city may have had on your work?
It sure is, and, honestly, it’s pretty embarrassing how little I take advantage of all Colorado has to offer; I spend way too much time in the studio. It’s very easy to get spoiled with the mountains here, and I love the opportunities I do take to explore a bit. There’s such a wide range of topography in relatively short distances around the state, it’s pretty remarkable. Of course, every time I do get out on a hike or something, I get the itch to go back and make something in the studio right away.
Was your process different when creating your Yosemite poster as opposed to a typical gig-poster?
Gig posters are unique in that the direction is usually pretty minimal, if any at all and my concepts usually come from something a bit less-tangible and abstract. This was a fun challenge because I wanted to do my best to have the image feel like Yosemite. So many people have visited the park and are familiar with it, I really wanted to make sure it had the right vibe, and the piece was as accurate as possible. On the same token, there’s been a good number of posters and iconic photographs of the park, I wanted to avoid feeling like a retread as well.
Which park is your favorite and which is at the top of your list to visit next?
RMNP! And I feel strongly that I need to visit Yosemite now…
What's one piece of advice you'd offer an upcoming illustrator or poster designer?
Probably the piece of advice that I have to remind myself of a lot, that’s there’s no substitute for practice, and putting the extra work in if you want to improve.
What's next for you? Which upcoming projects are getting you stoked?
I’ve got some fun stuff with a couple of breweries coming up, and a product design project that I’m pretty pumped about. Beyond that, I’d really like to carve out some time to do some projects for myself and make some more Bungaloo stuff, but we’ll just have to see what shakes out.
Keep up with John via his website and instagram
You can purchase John's Yosemite poster in the shop