Under usual circumstances, an art book is the summation of an artist’s body of work up to a specific point in time. It can span a career. A year. Or simply just an idea. For artist Jason Edmiston, his career is so intrinsically tied to his life — the story of one cannot be told without the other. His book ‘Visceral: The Art of Jason Edmiston‘ unfolds as an autobiography, the camera perched over his shoulder — the view of the man through his craft.
The book begins with an introduction by special effects wizard Greg Nicotero (of ‘The Walking Dead‘ fame), an essay on classic monsters of Hollywood horror and his connection to them, and his discovery of Edmiston, another ‘Monster Kid’ like himself, through this world. In the forward from Mondo art director Mitch Putnam there is Edmiston the professional, the visionary. These opening salvos end with a conversation between Edmiston and Mondo art director Rob Jones, a discussion that runs through Edmiston’s youth, art education, his early years as an editorial illustrator, and his current position as a highly sought-after pop culture painter.
Edmiston is an artist with a clear head, a clear vision for each canvas and each moment he creates. His subject matter of monsters, villains, and other pop culture rogues are rendered boldly in classic over-saturated color, a style Edmiston culled from his love of Frank Frazetta, Boris Vallejo, and the Hildebrandt brothers and made his own.
Throughout ‘Visceral‘ Edmiston acts as narrator, guiding us through his life and career in that clear voice of his — he does not want us to miss a single a detail, a detail that he so thoughtfully put before us. He is as gifted a teacher as he is a painter, and the book offers step by step mini-tutorials on technique and theories used for paintings like ‘Kahleesi: Mother of Dragons,’ ‘Friday the 13th,’ and ‘Raiders of The Lost Ark.
‘Visceral‘ is thick with pencil sketches, digital roughs, and full page spreads of major works — all ending with a sketch of Freddy Krueger by a teenage Edmiston. ‘Visceral‘ is autobiography as text book, with Edmiston in the role of professor. The book is a bold 280 page plus behemoth of creative excavation, letting the viewer see the dirt and bones of Edmiston’s creative process.