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Meet Jefferson Muncy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jefferson Muncy.

Jefferson, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve always enjoyed creating art but never thought of it as a career path until my senior year in high school. Around this time, I got to focus more on painting, and I found out how much I enjoyed it. When high school ended, I decided to attend Memphis College of Art, where I started taking art much more seriously.

I enjoyed my college experience, but the type of painting I was interested in was different from what the department wanted. I was always met with a lot of resistance from my classmates and instructors because I loved painting in a more representational and illustrative way. But almost everyone around wanted to focus much more on abstract work; the concept mattered far more than the execution.

It wasn’t until I started taking illustration classes in my senior year that I finally got the type of critiques I’d been wanting, and my work was much more accepted for what it was. I was introduced to major illustrators working in the industry and really identified with what they were creating at the time. Before then, I had no idea there were so many illustrators still working in traditional paint.

While going to school in Memphis, I visited Dallas for the holidays. Every time I came back, I was interested in how the DFW area had been growing. So, after graduating from college, I decided to return to Dallas because I wanted to see what opportunities the city had to offer… plus, it was just a little cheaper than California or New York.

I started working in an art supply store for a little over a year. During that time, I struggled with what I wanted to do next. Since I had just recently discovered illustration, I tried to develop a portfolio but had a difficult time motivating myself with the stress from my day job.

Trying and shake things up, I decided to attend the Illustration Master Class, a yearly workshop where illustrators from the industry teach a handful of students. It was life-changing. After the workshop, I started pushing myself more, and in the next few months, I got a few well-paying commissions, which allowed me to take the risk of freelancing full time.

I worked full time as a freelance illustrator for around a year before I had the opportunity to work as a graphic designer for The Epic in Grand Prairie. I was excited because it was an opportunity to use my skills in a different setting and help find ways to strengthen local art communities. I’m still showing in galleries and selling work at conventions while balancing my graphic design work.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Wanting to paint representationally in a department that focused on abstract work was difficult at times because I was always encouraged to only create work that fit the department. I still have a lot of great friends from my painting classes, but the work created there just never resonated with me.

The hardest part of my career was right out of college when I started working in an art supply store. This was a cool experience because I got to geek out with other artists about different art supplies. But at the end of the day, every time an artist would come to get supplies for their job, it was a reminder of what I hadn’t been able to accomplish yet.

I hadn’t been able to make it as a full-time artist yet. Even though I was just out of college it felt like I had done something wrong because I hadn’t “made it.” After a while, this feeling of failure started setting in and lowered my confidence, and I got really depressed.

I wish there wasn’t the expectation to be successful in the industry right after graduating,

My partner Maysa, was always incredibly supportive. I honestly don’t know if I would have gotten out of my depression if she hadn’t encouraged me to take the Illustration Master Class.

Please tell us about Jefferson Muncy Art.
I’m a freelance illustrator, I create images for private commissions, album covers, book covers, anything that helps the client represent what they want to present to the world.

I specialize in painting but really love working in the horror genre. I’m sure why all I know is that it’s the genre I keep coming back to in my personal work. The horror communities I meet at conventions like Texas Frightmare Weekend are some of the most supportive people I’ve ever met.

One of the main goals through my work and my career is to bring more appreciation to the horror genre. It brings up some great questions and insights, but people ignore this because of the stigmas around it.

Horror authors like H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King-inspired some of my most popular paintings.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I wouldn’t have been so hard on myself outside of school and learned to just enjoy the journey.

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