An interview with Atomic Rocket – RIPT Apparel’s featured artist for February 2015

Atomic Rocket Interview

RIPT: Hey Jesse!  I’m incredibly excited about your featured artwork in our online artist store.  A whole month dedicated to you work!  Thanks for joining me for an interview!

RIPT: In your own words, what do you think the Atomic Rocket brand is most well-known for?
Probably my love of hotdogs

RIPT: Where did the name Atomic Rocket come from?
A while back I wanted to make a kids line of clothing and it was going to be a brand name. I wanted it to represent old school sci-fi and fun but it never got off the ground so I adopted it as my artist name.

RIPT: What is your art education background?  Is art a fairly new thing for you or have you been drawing since you were a young child?
I’ve been drawing since I could hold crayons. I eventually went to Columbia College in my mid 20’s to pick up some new tricks but I’m primarily self taught.

RIPT: How has your current path differed from what you thought it would be when you started pursuing art as your career?  What other goals or hurdles do you see in your future?
When I was young I wanted to be an animator working at Disney. I NEVER thought I’d end up as a t-shirt designer. Making mashup/pop culture art is a blast. I’m a genuine fan of the subject matter I design but I can’t imagine pumping out this kind of work forever. I’d love to one day use my knowledge and experience to guide other artists in this field. Oh! And write a comic book. I’m DYING to write a story worth telling and then illustrate it.


RIPT: While working as a screen printer, did you learn any major elements of the printing process that helped you as an artist or designer?
Definitely. Knowing the t-shirt process from beginning to end has had a huge impact on my design work. Learning how inks react with each other & the benefit of under basing some inks while not under basing others has really allowed to level up. I have Whitney at RIPT to thank for all of those knowledge bombs. Also, while working as a screen printer, I learned just how physically taxing it is to print shirts. I have a new found respect for the process and all the people involved in producing a graphic tee.

RIPT: What are you favorite types of designs to create?  Would it be mash-ups, illustrations, parodies, logos, portraits, or something entirely different?
I’m a product of the eighties and I enjoy a good joke. So I’m partial to parody designs.

RIPT: Which design was the toughest to get right start from finish?
I thinking was the first design I made as RIPT’s staff artist. One Eyed Willie’s Boat Tours. I had a lot of rust to shake off and I second guessed every line I made. Luckily it all worked out in the end.

RIPT: Personally I really love the design featuring Link called “SHUT UP Already”.  Is there any design of yours that is your personal favorite?
Currently it’s Dead Polo but that could change in a week’s time.


RIPT: Is there any artistic area that you want to further explore in terms of content or styles?
I’d love to learn how to oil paint or woodblock print.

RIPT: I’m sure there are plenty of artistic new comers, veterans and fellow artists who follow your work and are inspired by what you do.  Are there any artist that you follow and admire?
Harebrained! design, Winter Artwork, Karen Hallion, Megan Lara, TeeKetch, Jake Parker, Mondo, just to make a few. If I listed them all this interview would be 20 pages long.

RIPT: What is it like for you working at the crazy RIPT Apparel Headquaters?
It’s great! I think my art has improved dramatically in just over 6 months and I have a collaborative environment to thank for that.

RIPT: Devastator or Omega Supreme?
Omega Supreme  for his ethics, Devastator for his street style

RIPT: Cats or dogs?
Dogs IRL, Cats on the internet

RIPT: Listening to music or podcasts while you work?
I’ve become a podcast junkie since starting at RIPT.   I’m currently listening to

  • The Bugle
  • The Thought Bubble
  • Nerds on Draft
  • Nerdist
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