We recently announced the line up to our 2014-2015 Artist Print Series, featuring 20 artists from around the world. Every two weeks we'll be releasing a new print from artists on our roster, each work will be extremely limited and only 25 prints will be released. To kick things off we're premiering the print by Miami-based artist/illustrator, Jose Mertz. We recently sat down with the man to get some answers regarding his process, inspiration and execution.


What are you currently working on?
Right now I am working on a series of new larger drawings and mixed media works on paper.  Spending time exploring my own visual language and playing with mediums to get new effects and
textures. I am also working on some new t-shirt graphic designs, stickers and album covers. By the end of the year, a wave of new work should be surfacing.

Tell us about your process from inspiration to execution?
I spend most of my time these days invested in the "idea"of what it is I want to communicate in a piece. I doodle a bunch of compositions based around a idea or theme and then I will refine it.
I will shift faces, arms and shapes around to see how I can play with the space. Sometimes, I keep it very clean and simple. I will look at images online or a book for inspiration. Sometimes I just start scribbling and things will just emerge from getting loose. Once I have something that snaps,I then will draw it bigger. Then one last time in a clean, refined version on a light table. Lastly, I will color it.

What have you been listening to lately?
I have been jamming to Machinedrum, Schoolboy Q, Run the Jewels, 7 days of funk (snoop and dam funk ), the weekend, bonobo, flying lotus.. stuff like that. :)

School vs. Self Taught?
School is good but it will only take you so far. It's a good place to springboard off of and learn how to throw your jabs and get your skills tight. Also, to learn history and know what the field is all about.
When you use visual as your form to communicate, there are crucial things a artist needs to keep in mind. Color, Form, Composition, Mood, Technique..etc. School is good for that. To have someone or a group of people to help you understand those dimensions and to be able to turn "graphite into water or a rock". Like learning martial arts in a formal setting where it's safe and someone to coach you along the way.

Now self taught is a bit more wild and it can be aggravating but amazing things can happen that will rarely happen in a formal setting. It's hours of relentless experimenting and accepting mistakes as possibilities.

I feel a artist needs both to be confident and healthy in communicating visually. An extremity in either will either make you too rigid or too wild and uncoordinated. I believe a visual artist should study and understand the world we live in visually first. Do still lives, draw the human form and study life form and space. Don't concern yourself with a "style". It will happen naturally from investigating. Then set time to explore and distort and manipulate mediums, form and space. With time everything will unfold on its own.

If your work had a soundtrack, what would it be and why?
Man.. so many songs I like that I get excited to work when I have them on. I'm going to
pick Kruder & Dorfmeister - Speechless  // that drum and bass feel is the move. :)

What do you want people to take away from your work when they see it?
I want them to feel inspired and curious at the same time. To be introspective about what they saw and question what it means to them or what they might think I was trying to communicate. To investigate and ask more questions than answers.

What does the future hold for you?
Only time will tell.

Where can we find you?
josemertz.com / instagram- @josemertz // fb- josemertz - email: mertz@josemertz.com

July 14, 2014 — Jason Drake