Wax On, Wax Off: Catching Up with Jason Maloney

Hurley artist Jason Maloney studied illustration and painting in college, but he believes his career had already started early in high school, when seniors would approach the then-freshman to make fliers for their keggers.

“Of course, I wanted to get fucked up with them, so I did all these like punk rock kind of fliers,” he remembers. “They'd say, you know, like 'five kegs' or whatever. But I was so bad at sports, I figured why not do this for a living.”

Actually, since he enrolled in watercolor classes at age 8 “with ladies with blue hair,” he figures he's pretty much been an artist his whole life. He put down the brush long enough to talk about his life's passion . . .

Orange County Weekly: How would you describe yourself as an artist?

Jason Maloney: That's kind of a hard question. I've done stuff all over the world–Rome, LA, Orange County although there aren't very many galleries here. I was at the Juxtapose Retrospective in Laguna in summer of '08. I don't know, people have kind of grouped me in the pop-surreal movement. . . . I don't like the label. Frankly I think that whole surreal thing is getting pretty fucking old. It's like, if I see another girl with big eyes and a tiny little nose and mouth, I'm going to vomit. You know? I don't know . . . I just make art. Let the critics figure it out.

What is your connection to the action sports world?

I don't surf. I used to skate, but I pushed with the wrong foot. I'm not good at it, and I'm just not good at action sports, period. But I'm good at painting, I'm good at art. That's what I bring. I'm an artist. I'm happy to be employed by [Hurley], and to be doing stuff with other artists, but I established myself way before that, too. In a way it works like a sponsorship. They've kind of given me a platform to basically do whatever I want. . . . I've developed these characters over the years, like the elephant you've seen around. Compared to working with Disney, where they wanted their characters to come to life, Hurley wants my characters to come to life, which is rad.

What were the Munny World events all about? How does that relate to the rest of your stuff?

That was about the community. Action sports has a lot of potential for that. I'm actually a designer now. . . . I mean, clothing? Who would have thought?

Public murals. My dream is to have a show where I can bring to life my characters. Like a 20-foot fucking neon elephant. How awesome would that be? I guess there are a lot of people out there trying to make coin, which is cool. But for me, some art has almost lost its fun. I just want to have fun again. I always was inspired by Keith Hering. He was big into public murals, showing the community that art matters. There are a lot of walls in Orange County that could be covered with art. Kids get stoked on that stuff.

What's coming up next for you?

I've got a lot of killer special projects coming up in the next year through Hurley. I just came out with the Elephant toy. Definitely going to do some vinyl toys, and more plush toys, too. It's going be stuff for the kids, although there might be a need to create a separation because there's a lot of adult humor.
Other than sticking to the cars, railings, light poles and parking meters of Southern California, where else can we see your work?
On my website, JasonMaloneyArt.com. The Jack's [Surfboards] holiday windows in Corona Del Mar, and the Wahoo's murals in Costa Mesa and Laguna. There are links to everything on the website. Just check that out.

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