The Art Of Furiosa: Interview With Mad Max: Fury Road Artist Tristan Jones


“Bringing the Mad Max: Furiosa Origin Story To Life”

Finally, Mad Max: Fury Road – Furiosa has arrived! Released on June 17th, the prequel comic is #2 in a line of origin comics based on various Mad Max: Fury Road characters. Writers Nico Lathouris and Mark Sexton create an intriguing story with surprising twists and turns I did not expect. Artists Tristan Jones, Mark Sexton, and Szymon Kudranski help bring this compelling story to life with beautiful yet gritty art work. Bam Smack Pow had the privilege to chat with artist Tristan Jones on his favorite artist, and artistic inspiration.

Bam Smack Pow: Who are your favorite artists and why?

Tristan Jones: God, there are a lot. I really started exploring things when I first saw HR Giger’s designs. Alien kind of opened a doorway into this bizarre world, and that got me rethinking how things should go together. We always had 2000 AD available in news agencies here, and there’s a lot of stuff in those early books I love, but I remember going into a proper comic shop for the first time and seeing things like Hellboy and Sin City, the Mirage TMNT, and all my horizons just immediately blew out. It was like having a veil lifted. A lot of the comics I’d read were things like Spider-Man and Batman from the 80’s and early 90’s, and there was a general look to it all, so seeing all these artists working for Dark Horse in the early days particularly opened things up. From all these, I found guys like Jorge Zaffino, Mike Mignola, Geoff Darrow, Killian Plunkett, Cam Kennedy… All guys that really inform a lot of what I do now, but I really f—ing love guys like Sean Murphy, James Harren … there’s a few guys doing things now that blow me away every time they do something. Oh, and Noriyoshi Ohrai! I cannot EVER get enough of his art!

BSP: What do you love most about being a artist? The least?

Jones: Probably the storytelling. I really love finding new ways (for me at least) to tell stories visually. I love that I’m constantly learning new things, and I think there’s a tremendous sense of camaraderie amongst artists in comics too, because we all have our own way of doing things. The support I’ve received from other artists I know and look up to has been amazing, and probably a big part of why I’m still here. The least? There’s a frustrating sense of exploitation. It’s great when people know that this is actually work, but a lot of people (as I did earlier on) take that and its worth for granted.

BSP: How did you come to the decision that comics would be the medium through which you expressed yourself?

Jones: There’s a tremendous amount of freedom available in terms of conveying ideas in storytelling that isn’t available elsewhere. There’s no end to that appeal for me. The possibilities in comics, particularly now that it’s gone beyond print and into a digital medium, are almost limitless.

BSP: How did you get connected to the Mad Max: Furiosa project?

Jones: I was asked! I think my name was put forward by Mark Sexton, who has been a storyboard artist at Kennedy Miller Mitchell since Fury Road. Being one of the few Australians working on international comics, and Mark’s history in the local comic scene prior to his film work, made us both aware of each other prior to my coming aboard Furiosa. I think it was my work on Silent Hill that made him go “How about this guy?” to DC.

BSP: How did the story help you shape your artistic vision for the comic?

Jones: The story wasn’t at all what I was expecting when I first read it. I was hoping for a bit more classic Max action — cars and the like, but a lot of it was character play, which is hard to carry for 38 pages in a single setting. Gave me a whole new appreciation for 12 Angry Men, that’s for sure! Basically that character interaction, and the development of the relationship between Furiosa and the wives kind of informed character placement, which then affected how they were lit, which then obviously affected the tone and so forth and so forth. So it was very much about knowing who was where and when.

BSP: What were some of the difficulties, or, challenges you experienced while working on the comic?

Jones: We had a relatively tight deadline. I’m not the fastest artist if you want the best work out of me, but I was doing okay. I had decided to go all digital for this because of the timeline. So I’m working on my Cintiq, when suddenly my computer decides to reboot itself because Windows apparently decided to update itself in the background. Okay, fine … I’ll wait for it to start back up. Only it doesn’t. Turns out the company that put the thing together didn’t do it properly, and I lost a massive chunk of time trying to get my machine fixed. I was literally about to drop half the pay of the book to buy a whole new computer while the other one was being repaired just so I could recover. Just shy of a week, the computer guys get my rig back, but that week was crucial. Thankfully, Szymon Kudranski stepped in and covered for me on those pages!

BSP: Will fans see more Mad Max comics manifest in the future? Maybe an ongoing series?

Jones: I’d like to think so. I know writer Mark Sexton has been pushing to make it happen for years, however, George Miller is very guarded about Max. It’s his baby. But he and Mark have been friends for a long time, so I can see it happening. I guess it just comes down to what happens with the films. Probably won’t involve me though.

BSP: Can you provide any advice for up-and-coming artist looking to do this for a living.

Jones: Make sure you really look at it all. It seems easy, but it’s not. You’ve got to be willing to take a lot of shit and put in a lot of hours to even start wheels turning.

BSP: What can fans expect from you in the future?

Jones: I really wish I could say. I’m working on something right now that I’ve wanted to work on since I first started collecting comics. This project is with a writer whose work I really love. I think when the project gets announced people are going to scream, “Holy shit!”  Beyond that, I have a story about animal poaching I was actually gearing up to tell before the secret job came to me, and I’ll still be doing covers for people here and there hopefully! And dinosaurs! I guarantee you there will be be lots of dinosaurs on the horizon!

It is always great to know what drives every artist and makes them tick. I appreciate Tristan Jones for taking the time to chat with Bam Smack Pow about the much anticipated comic Mad Max: Fury Road – Furiosa. Definitely looking forward to more issues! For updates on Jones, please click the links below.

Tristan Jones Tumblr
Tristan Jones Deviant Art
Tristan Jones Twitter

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