Follow Taj Francis
For Jamaican visual artist Taj Francis, his interest in art came in stages, starting from when he was a young child. He has since cultivated a diversified interest in expression through illustration. The multifaceted Edna Manley College of Visual Arts graduate’s artwork has been featured in several local and international art exhibitions and creates pieces that explore the subtle nuances of human behavior and identity, with a concentration in African ancestry.
Francis enjoys the versatile nature of illustration. His work centers nature, ethereal elements, and technology — informing the visual style of many of his pieces. He believes the juxtaposition of these details act as a vehicle to carry the message of subtle human experiences, in an almost dream-like form. His artistic style was by no means developed in a vacuum. It has been cultivated by constant iteration and inspiration from a variety of people and sources. To learn more about Taj, please visit at www.tajtenfold.com.
Q&A WITH TAJ FRANCIS
1) How did you approach the cover art for each episode?
It was a process of visual (and literal) note taking when watching each episode, then sketching around those ideas. I think you could watch just one episode over and over and get something new from it each time, which is always my favorite thing about art. Then it’s really interpreting that into one image that can give a vast overall idea of an episode, but also subtle nods to the smaller details.
2) Which episode were you the most excited to create cover art for?
This is tough to choose, but it would probably be Episode 103, “Holy Ghost." Every episode has such iconic energy, but that one almost instantly gave me inspiration for what to make. Seeing this particular time period through a lens of all these different genres Black people aren’t normally seen in, the parallels between then and now, and the subtle spin on a haunted house scenario that was very unique made it exciting to work on. I think if I had another, it would be Episode 107, but Selena already killed that piece so it was already in great hands. Please don’t tell the other episodes.
3) What was your favorite part about working on this project?
I was told that I get to binge watch an amazing show and then draw about it, so there are no losses in sight. Honestly, the best part was getting to create alongside other amazing artists, it was always exciting to see what they would create every week, and being a part of that.
4) What challenges did you face while working on this project?
I had a hard time trying to NOT spoil the episode for viewers by drawing my favorite scenes. But, maybe more than that was really creating a piece that can tell a story without being too heavy-handed. I challenged myself to make it like creating an interpretive trailer and the trailer is just one image that captures the essence of the particular episode.
5) When did you first realize you wanted to become an artist?
If I’m honest, that realization came in stages, because one of the earliest memories I have as a child was of me drawing. It was just always what I wanted to do, but realizing what that means, and what form that might take came later on in life. It was a realization that I grew up with, and it grew with me.
6) What inspires your art?
The inspiration for my art constantly changes and shifts, it could be something as simple as a chair in particular lighting, to a specific conversation and behavior of people. Black people for sure are a constant inspiration though, whether it be through certain nuances, or interesting interactions, or just a feeling someone gives off. Architecture and nature are definitely up there as well, I feel like there's so much to draw on, from the minute details to vast concepts found in these subjects.