Cover art is an essential part of the music industry right now. Eye catching and something to talk about, cover art is the first thing you see when a new song drops or when your favourite artist announces a new project and with so many amazing graphic artists around like our very own NIPZ and previous guest on our “A Pizz With…” series Bailey, really securing their styles, it may be hard for some artists to find something they can call their own. Although this may be the case, one thing is for sure, today’s guest has really found a very unique way to place himself in the graphic design spotlight. We at DatPizz had the delight in joining travisjpeg for a chat about himself, his unique style of art bridging the gap between pixel art and the music scene and much more. Read below to see what we had to ask and what the Atlanta graphic designer had to answer.

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Can you start by telling us who travisjpeg is for those who don’t know?

travisjpeg is a digital artist who’s super handsome and good at almost anything to do with photoshop or illustrator.

How did you get started doing graphic design initially?

like 5 years ago i was really into trickshotting and the call of duty community. i was tryna brand myself with my name to look professional and i needed a header/ avi. i realized everyone was paying and i didn’t have bag kinda money to buy one so i downloaded a photoshop crack and created my own. and ever since i been making beautiful art pieces on it.

How did you end up in the hip-hop scene after starting in the COD scene? And how did you go from making art for yourself to doing commissions?

uhm the cod community just got boring. everyone only got me up for free shit and i sorta wanted to start over. so i made a new account and started doin alternative and concept covers and just personal artworks using photos of rappers and i eventually got some traction to a point where people wanted to pay for my art.

Who are some of the biggest artists you’ve worked with so far?

bigbabyscumbag, yung bans, og maco, larry june, matt ox, lil wop, young nudy, hoodrich pablo & bigbabygucci

How’d it feel to go from working with smaller artists in the scene to artist like Yung Bans and Hoodrich Pablo and is there much of a difference between working with smaller artists and working with bigger artists?

you build more of a connection with the smaller artist than bigger ones. when i worked w dudes like yung bans and hoodrich i barely talked to them. i got some ideas from what they wanted but there wasn’t much of a connection between me and them. it was strictly business.

Do you prefer working with bigger or smaller artists?

bigger. to be honest building a connection with younger artist is coo but majority of the time they aren’t serious about their craft and most of the time the music isn’t good so neither of us are achieving anything. nonetheless some smaller artist are great and i feel like truly care about the music they put out. but i say bigger artist bc they allow more range within the cover art, the bag is bigger and more people can see my art bc of the fanbase the larger rapper has.

Why did you start doing pixel art over the normal graphic design we usually see for covers and why do you think the pixel art style has become so popular with artists recently.

it’s a lot more unique compared to illustrations, 3d renders and normal design. it’s something no one has really seen all throughout the history of rap cover art. as well as it looks cool when it’s done. i started doin it bc a client wanted something pixel cover art. and ever since then i’ve gotten more into it.

Yeah your style really caught my eye at first because I used to be huge into video games and seeing someone take a style commonly used in games but on cover arts was really cool.

thank you. i think that’s why it got so much hype as well. majority of rappers now of days grew up on video games based off a pixel style so it sorta resonates with them now.

Would you say you popularized pixel art in the hip-hop scene or would you attribute that to someone else?

i don’t wanna say i popularized pixel art for covers bc it’s sound egotistical but i do think i brought it to the light. but when u think about it no one consistently made pixel cover art in the rap community like i was.

Does it bother you when you see people taking your style and using it themselves or are you indifferent about it.

i do care but i don’t if that make sense. i know that they are doin the pixel style bc of me. but they can do whatever they want with it. one thing i do hate when seeing people do pixel cover arts are when it’s terrible quality. like they didn’t put any time or quality into it, and or they just got the pixel images from google so they really didn’t make it.

Speaking of time & quality on average how long does one of your pixel art covers take for you to make and what was the most amount of time you spent on one cover?

it usually takes about 5ish hours. the most i have ever spent on one cover was the *drippy* cover for terrance escobar. we went back n forth w drafts and it took about 8hours.

What do you currently charge for a pixel cover?

$100. was $75 like a week ago but just went up. i’m tryna be more exclusive.

Do you think thats a fair price for the amount of time you have to put in to make a quality cover?

yeah if anything it’s a generous price. i put a lot of time and energy into the pixel covers. i saw a thing where creative should charge anywhere from $40-$50 an hour so if i stayed true to that it’d be a couple hundred for a cover.

Sorry I meant fair to you, not fair to the customer.

yeah it’s fair to me. when i first started pixel covers they were like $50 a piece. so i’ve doubled and i can imagine as they get more popular the price will go up. but i believe $100 is fair for right now. since my pixel covers aren’t perfect but they are good quality.

you create a lot of pieces on the side so its obvious that you get a lot of personal satisfaction out of your work. are you currently working on art full time, and if not, do you aspire to eventually?

yeah. i just quit my 9-5 like a week ago. i plan on doin uber eats to help with money but other than that i’m doing art. i hope one day i can live off my art and move to nyc.

Why do you want to move to NYC opposed to more popular spots in the scene, for example LA?

i’ve lived in az all my life and i feel like LA isn’t a place i want to move to. i’ve gon to melrose tons of times and it’s just not somewhere i want to be. sure there is networking and people who can help me grow but every time i’ve gone to nyc i’ve loved it. there’s about the same as of opportunity in nyc as la but personally i love the city.

i’ve noticed a lot of surrealist motifs in your personal artwork. where does your inspiration for these pieces come from, and who or what are your biggest artistic influences?

farris and sakutaro world are big inspiration for me. but majority of the time my inspiration comes from things i see on tv and the internet and all around me. and i blend it with memories and colors more fun things. it’s just a mixture of now and when i was younger. and i combine it all and work w it to make it look cool.

Do you prefer working solo or collaborating with other graphic artists

solo. sure workin w other people to get other ideas is cool but i like not having to worry about someone ruining a piece or making it so much better i can’t keep up. plus when i work on a piece by myself it ends up looking the exact way i want it to look.

How did you get involved with neilaworld?

uhm i saw they tweet that they needed designers and i really fw the people in neila world like turbo and fbk and grenate so i hit they dms and they fucked w me.

Thats tight, who are some of your favorite graphic designers currently?

sakutaroworld, vr3tro, trapghanistan, math, joey, cg, agst, and bluez

Couple more questions before we wrap this up. Do you have any plans for the rest of 2018?

just make art. maybe work with some more bigger artist. i really wanna work w father and ilovemakonnen.

Have you thought about releasing merch? Some of the covers you’ve made would look really good on shirts

i have but my main focus was to drop prints. which i just dropped on society6 i might drop some stuff on shirts soon.

If you could work with any current rapper, who would it be?

hmmm. i feel like i’d love to work with or they care a lot about cover art and i feel like our creative minds would clash pretty well.

Is there anything you’d like to say before we finish the interview? Any shoutouts you wanna give?

uhm thanks for the interview. i appreciate it a lot. i love y’all at datpizz. shoutout to all my art friends and and shoutout the extra large gang way. oh and shoutout  for helping me grow.

Made possible thanks to:

Questions by: 5kirr & Colby
Edited by: 5kirr
Other Words by: FXLLEN