As we start gearing our way back into convention season—or Geek Season, as the late summer is starting to be called around these parts—many artists are starting to work on their stockpile of nerdy collectibles to sell to an audience clamoring for more. And who can blame them, as Utah has some of the finest artists creating original concepts on classic characters. One of the more colorful names that's coming up is Jupiter Falling—the business name for SLC-based designer Lindsey Cowley, who has made an awesome career over the past few years working as a freelance artist, painter and graphic designer for the past four years. Today we chat with Cowley about her artwork and the specific style that she has created. (All pictures courtesy of Jupiter Falling.
Gavin: Hey Lindsey. First thing, tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Lindsey Cowley, the creator of Jupiter Falling. I am an artist, illustrator and graphic designer working in Salt Lake City. When I’m not creating, I’m usually watching hours of Netflix while fearing an unrealistic zombie outbreak.
Gavin: What first got you interested in art, and what were some of your earliest influences?
I’m a really shy person, so art naturally became an outlet for me at a young age. What I wasn’t able to express in words, I was able to create with images. That idea influenced my educational path and lead me to a degree in Graphic Design. Luckily, I was fortunate enough to be supported by my parents, friends and some really special teachers who saw potential in me. This support really influenced my confidence and allowed me to find my voice in a world of millions.
Gavin: What specifically drew you toward illustration and design?
In all honesty, I was terrified I wasn’t good enough and would starve to death trying to be an artist. So naturally I gravitated to design as a career path. In perspective, I wish I had been brave enough to seek out an illustration and painting degree, but my background in design has really influenced my work.
Gavin: You received your BFA from the University of Utah in 2011. What made you choose the U, and what was your time like in their program?
I come from a family of proud University of Utah attendees, so naturally the U is where I wanted to go to school. I had heard they had a great art program, but I didn’t know a whole lot about their graphic design program. At the time, the graphics program was still in its early stages. I learned a great deal, but left feeling unsatisfied with my education. From what I understand, the year after my graduation they completely overhauled the program, and it’s now top-notch.
Gavin: What pushed you to go more toward graphic design work, and how was it honing your skills in that area?
Like I said, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to support myself as an artist, so graphic design seemed like the logical choice. I guess you can say that is what pushed me towards graphic design: I would be hirable out of school and I would still be able to be creative. Since graduation, I have worked in a variety of design positions. At each one, I learned something new, and with each job I developed my design and illustration style even further.
Gavin: Once college was done, what was it like for you breaking into the local art scene and finding work?
I’m still trying to break into the art scene. Design work is fairly accessible, but illustration and painting work is very hard to acquire. I wish there was a manual to tell me how to be successful, but that’s the thing about art—it’s very subjective. For some, like myself, it’s hard to get a foothold.
Gavin: What made you decide to start your own design business, and where did the name come from?
I started my own business because I wanted to be successful because of my talents. I wanted to prove to myself that I could be noteworthy in an industry that has a stigma about it. The name Jupiter Falling is a bit unusual I admit. It came from the idea of Greek mythology. Zeus, also known as Jupiter, is “The God of the Sky.” In my mind I was reaching for something unobtainable, so I had to bring it down to Earth. Hence, Jupiter Falling.
Gavin: Where do you tend to find inspiration for your designs?
I’m highly influenced by the cinematic industry and books. I love movies and books; they take you places you can only imagine. They allow you to be immersed in a completely different world from your own. I like to take characters out of these fictional places and interpret them in my own way and style.
Gavin: What's the process like in creating a new piece, from concept to final design?
It really depends. When it comes to digital illustrations, I don’t really plan out in much detail. I’ll usually just jump in and hope something beautiful comes from it. That can be due to the fact that the computer is very forgiving. You can undo something with a press of a key. On the flip side, I plan in great detail when it comes to paintings. Painting usually springs from my imagination, and I sketch the idea until it’s something I’m proud of. It’s only after I map out shapes and lines that I will move on to the canvas to paint. Since my paintings look almost digital in style, I have to plan in great detail to not make a mistake, since it’s hard to fix later.
Gavin: Do you find yourself changing things as you go, or do you like to stick with the original idea?
I’m pretty flexible when it comes to digital illustrations. If something isn’t working, I’m happy to change directions and try something new. Paintings, on the other hand, I rarely deviate from my original sketch and concept.
Gavin: A lot of what you create is very bold and colorful, both in design and painting. What would you say most influenced your style?
I have a hard time pinning down what influenced my style. I act like a sponge. Over time, I have picked up elements from a variety of places and artists, and it has all come together into the style you see now. I always have to laugh, because my bold color choices stemmed from me being unable to replicate believable skin tones. I have since figured that out, but I now love working in bright colors. I like the idea that my work can brighten a room.
Gavin: In 2013 you won Visual Artist Of The Year from the RAWards. What was that experience like?
It blew my mind! I’m not joking when I say I have never won anything. I’m usually an Honorable Mention if anything, so to win Visual Artist Of The Year filled me with a glee. RAW is a great organization that helps showcase emerging artists within the community. It’s fun, and it gets people seeing your work. I have actually been invited to participate in the upcoming June 18 event. If anyone is interested you can buy a ticket here
, and I would be most grateful for the support. FYI, I can see who buys a ticket, so stop by my booth and I will give you a free print for your support!
Gavin: As you continue to grow, do you plan on expanding your business or genres of artwork you do, or are you pretty comfortable with how things are going?
I would love to keep expanding. I think if you stay comfortable, you stop growing and learning. I never want to stop learning. I would really like to try my hand at a mural next. I have no idea how to paint a mural, but I’m excited to learn how.
Gavin: For those interested in getting something custom-made, how can they get in touch with you and what do they need?
If you are interested in a custom order, visit my contact page. I will be happy to talk with you and trade ideas and thoughts! I’m also happy to provide payment installments. I know art can be pricey at times, so talk to me about a payment plan. In the end, I want you to be happy, and I want you to have the opportunity to have a custom piece of art! You can also contact me on all my social media accounts which can be found on my webpage as well.
Gavin: What can we expect from you over the rest of the year?
My goal this year is to find a gallery to show in. I have never shown in a gallery, but only events like RAW and Comic Con. I think it would be great fun to show all my work in one place and to meet like-minded folks and supporters! I want to say a heartfelt thank you to all those who have supported me over the last two years. I would be nowhere without you, and I can’t thank you enough!