Thanks to Lamono Magazine for the great interview and feature in their publication!
Below is the text from the interview:
Chimeric creatures captive from a dark innocence invade the hallucinatory universes of the work of the young artist born in South Korea. With pen in hand, Jon MacNair creates phantasmagoric images that reveal stories of parallel worlds observed by giant eyes. The artist, who lives in Michigan nowadays, prints on his fine arts as well as on his illustrations, his sinister hallmark. To Jon MacNair, the sea is another amazing scene where mythical characters live. In the depths of the thick waters, enchanted beings and demons play with the stars and the mysteries of the night. T. María Luján Torralba. Puedes leer la entrevista completa en español aquí.
How do ideas come? What inspires you? I’m inspired by many things, like Medieval art, botany, mythological creatures, fairy tales, ghost stories, music, ancient civilizations etc. However, some of my ideas come from things I see in everyday life. You’d be surprised how you can create a pretty elaborate concept from just a seed of an idea. Over time, I’ve established a cast of creatures/characters that reoccur in my work, and the personalities they’ve developed over time help me to come up with new scenarios to illustrate.
By what criteria do you use color only in some drawings? There’s not really any specific criteria for when I use color, unless I’m creating a piece for a show or exhibit that specifically calls for it. I usually just get the urge to try something other than my standard monochromatic palette. It’s nice to keep things interesting.
Which artists of other disciplines inspire you? I’m really fond of the films of Jan Svankmajer and the Brothers Quay.
What illustration technique do you feel most comfortable? I’ve worked quite a bit with pen and ink over the past 7 years, so I’m pretty comfortable with that medium at this point.
Why do you say that your work is “narrative”? A lot of my work seems to tell a story. Most of the stories I depict are only partially formed, or inconclusive. It’s rare that I will show a beginning, middle and end all in one image. It’s open ended and left for the viewer to fill in. There’s no right or wrong answer.
How is it different, from the creative process, your illustration to fine arts? My process isn’t really that different. It’s just that with client work I am usually more limited in what I can draw. You need to meet the needs of the client and sometimes they already have an idea of how they want things to look. There is also the whole aspect of getting things approved and negotiating fees etc.
How does technology influence your work? As far as creating my fine art, it doesn’t factor into things that much. I do everything by hand. The only time where technology might come into the equation is when I’m researching something or looking for reference photos on the internet. My illustration work is another story. I use scanners and Photoshop for part of the process (mostly coloring).
In your works “Hijacking on the High Sea”, “Convening on the Full Moon”, “The Acquisition” and “It Rose from the Depths”, as others, different stories happen at sea, what led you to create these characters? How do they differ from terrestrial beings? What feelings does the sea arouse you? All the characters were kind of a gradual evolution. They developed over a number of years and underwent a lot of changes. I don’t consider these creatures much different from terrestrial beings. They just live in a different environment. I think the sea evokes great feelings of mystery and mythology. I’m very intrigued by how different cultures regard the sea in their own mythology and folklore. Also, I find the power of the sea kind of frightening. It’s so gargantuan and totally unbiased in the destruction of human life, while also being extremely beautiful and mesmerizing.
What does it mean to you the fusion between animals and humans? I think the fusion of humans and animals is actually a pretty logical one because we’re not as different as we think. We all have some inherent animal instincts somewhere deep down that strive for self-preservation.
We can appreciate in your drawings the presence of stars, moons and celestials bodies, what is your relationship with astronomy? How valuable are the stars in your life? I’m still on the fence about whether I really believe in the Zodiac and all that stuff, but it’s fun to speculate about it. I have however always been interested in the moon and the planets and stars as natural wonders. They are something we share as a human race and can all gaze upon no matter where we live. They connect us in a strange way. If terms of thinking of the stars as some kind of metaphor for fate, I don’t really believe in that. I think actions determine the future more often than not.