Wriggle into the dark intricate forest that is Faceless art. Vine-like coils, vomiting feet, and eyes peering around every corner occupy the world freelance designer and illustrator Justin Hethcoat, also known as Faceless, has created. Working primarily in black and white, Justin’s pieces, although stunning upon first glance, are complex and chaotic, and require an in-depth exploration to fully appreciate them. Format chats with Faceless and finds out a bit about his history, and why his illustration might be so dark.

“To be honest I don’t really know where it comes from. My work is mostly sporadic, where I try to not think so much and just let it flow.”

Format: Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Faceless: I’m Justin Hethcoat, self taught, part time design and illustration freelancer. I go by the art name of Faceless.

Format: How did you get started in design and illustration?
Faceless: I would have to say I started drawing and illustrating by getting into graffiti when I was around 12 or 13. When I was 15, I started gaining other artist friendships which in turn inspired me and influenced me to look at art in different perspectives as well as different mediums. I kinda experimented for a few years did some design until I started to get noticed for my collaged drawing style that began to emerge just a couple years back. David Gensler from KDU picked me up and I been going since then.


Format: How did you ultimately end up choosing illustration and design as a career?
Faceless: I never really chose illustration and design. I was pretty much unsure what I wanted. I knew wanted to do something in the art world, made a bad choice at a design trade school that never really taught the elements of design, just the technical aspects of the software. Near the end of the schooling I started to get interested in the whole personal web page styles of design such as Mike Young, GMunk and Mike Cina. From there it just grew into an immense explosion of digital and analog art that just really did it for me.

Format: A number of your works are dark, bordering on horrific. Where does this aesthetic come from?
Faceless: To be honest I don’t really know where it comes from. My work is mostly sporadic, where I try to not think so much and just let it flow. My guess would be that I have a hidden deeper dark side, or perhaps growing up younger as a catholic, being taught to be scared and what is evil and good.


Format: Your work, even when bright, still maintains dark elements. How do you find a balance between light and dark?
Faceless: Well, I usually just start off with one liners then I slowly start adding the dark, using thicker pens and what not. It’s just a process, something you have to go by eye I suppose. Especially black and white, `cause if you don’t have dark, then things won’t pop so much and its easy to have your art get lost in the maze.

Format: Here Today, Here Tomorrow was an exciting project. What inspired the site and how come it is no longer being updated?
Faceless: HT_HT was and still is a great project idea, it will one day resume itself, But basically Jozias of Otra and Other Design and I had plans to make a portfolio site mixing the two styles of illustration and web as well as a online store to purchase art, but both our careers kind of took off around the same time. We both have full-time day jobs and side freelance has taken off consuming a lot of our play projects time. The blog was meant as a temporary thing that was fun while it lasted.


Format: Please explain your experiences with the KDU. How did you initially get involved? What has the experience been like?
Faceless: KDU is a giant network of artists from all around the world. This means you get to talk to a lot of top artists in the industry, collaboration, exchange ideas and get cool jobs through its extensive network. Dave really helps to get you exposed and that in turn helps him out for his cause, it’s basically a you scratch my back, I scratch yours kind of deal and the experience has been nothing but positive.

Format: What are some of the projects you’re working on right now?
Faceless: I just finished a Tank Theory Tee, A Buckle and a New Tee with Kinky Form. I am also going to get back into the G13 Brand Clothing line I got into through David Gensler as well as some collaborations with my friend Abe from Exist 1981. He is doing a lot of fresh clothing and he has basically asked me to jump on board. He is opening a shop here in downtown San Diego.

Format: If you could do anything with your life, career-wise, what would you be doing right now?
Faceless: If I could do anything I would be drawing and designing on the beach of Costa Rica doing 100 per cent freelance. My fiancée is from there so it’s not too far of a stretch from the imagination! Could be the future Faceless Headquarters.

More Info: http://www.facelessart.com/


Shane Ward

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