Illustrator and art director Justin Maller has landed a new role as chief creative officer of DeviantArt. We caught up with him to find out more
Illustrator and art director Justin Maller discusses his new role as chief creative officer of DeviantArt
This year has been a busy one for digital illustrator Justin Maller. He’s just become chief creative officer of DeviantArt, has released an LP with his band Book Club, which he also created artwork for, and has moved from New York to Los Angeles. We found out more about what’s inspired such big changes.
How did your new role come about?
I’ve been a part of the DeviantArt community since 2001 – it’s where I got my start as an artist. I’ve maintained a great relationship with the site and its admins over the years, particularly with Angelo, the CEO. He broached the idea of me taking the role prior to us going on a trip, and after a few long conversations, I started to see the fit.
What will your new role involve?
I’ll be working with the in-house and Tel Aviv studios, as well as across product and marketing to develop new tools for the community and then share them with the broader world. I’ll also be working on offering more to artists, and ensuring that everything is done with artistic credibility. There’ll be a lot of strategy development that goes in to all that, of course.
How do you plan to balance your new job with other projects and freelance work?
I’ll take some jobs here and there to maintain my standing as a working artist and the relationships I’ve developed, but it will be a much smaller part of my day to day. I hope to make more personal work, and DeviantArt is very encouraging about that!
Tell us more about your new LP...
Making that album was one of the most intensely rewarding creative endeavours. I made the artwork to accompany the songs because we’re a new band with no label, no PR, and up to now, no music online. Accessing my art audience was the best shot we had at getting the music heard, and creating a new series inspired by the tracks felt like an honest way to broach the subject.
How do you think you’ll adjust to life in LA?
Leaving my friends and the life I built in NYC over eight years is really hard, and I’ll miss it. But I’ve done it before, moving from Melbourne, so I’m sure I’ll adjust again.
You mentioned on Twitter you’ve had some personal issues lately. Do you think it’s important to be open with your fans?
To an extent, yeah. I don’t bring a lot of personal stuff to my social media. However I think people got used to seeing a certain volume of production of art, and due to personal circumstances I was way below my usual levels in 2017. I wanted to remind everyone that I am still a human being, and their Goku wallpaper might have to wait.
Any tips for keeping on top of projects?
Flail frantically at them in a frenetic and disorganised fashion until you’re exhausted. Then take a nap.
Justin Maller is an Australian illustrator, art director and musician. www.justinmaller.com