Originators: Jon Vermilyea

Pick up Issue 52 or 53, flip it around and understand that we have a deep appreciation for art here. It’s why we let artists design our back cover. We began as a graffiti zine, and as our scope widened to other art forms, so did our interest in art itself. In line with that sentiment, we introduce Originators, an ongoing series that profiles visual artists working behind the scenes to produce the art, television, and work we can only describe as dope.

The works of Jon Vermilyea could be literally described as vomit. Seriously, everything this dude makes oozes with puke, dripping from every orifice down between the edges of his candy-colored nightmares. Inanimate objects have faces that ripple with leakage, while his made-up characters are seemingly lost in make-believe worlds where trees are painted with vivid neon colors and melted bubble gum flavors. He’s a damn great illustrator that loves creating bizarre pieces featuring monsters and beasts.

Verilyea currently resides in LA and holds a degree from New York’s School of Visual Arts. He mostly does freelancing work, making screen prints and creating pieces of apparel for companies like MISHKA and Better Days. His work has been featured in multiple zines and comic books (including a sweet Simpsons “Treehouse of Horror” comic), and he’s even got some animation credit for creating Animal Collective’s trippy and beautiful “My Girls,” music video. His debut comic book, Fata Morgana (a complex form of a mirage), was published in Noveber 2013 by small pub, Koyama Press.

Screen shot 2014-01-06 at 11.52.45 AM

Mass Appeal: Why’d you move from Brooklyn to LA?

Jon Vermilyea: I moved to LA to work at Cartoon Network. Ben Jones from Paper Rad had just started production on his show “The Problem Solverz” and needed a background artist. I knew Ben from working at PictureBox Inc. and was familiar with his style. It was a chance to work with one of my favorite artists in an industry that was new to me so I took the opportunity. Since then, I’ve worked on a bunch of shows including “Adventure Time,” “Robot Chicken,” “Rick and Morty,” and currently “Uncle Grandpa.” I wasn’t expecting to like LA as much as NYC but it’s really grown on me. The desert is unexpectedly my favorite place to visit.

MA: Who and what are some of your inspirations?

JV: I really like artists that evolve how they draw and what kind of work they do. Developing one way to draw and sticking with it forever doesn’t sound very exciting to me. Gary Panter is a good example of someone who’s constantly doing new work and experimenting with how to do it. I also really like artists like Richard Corben, Gustave Dore, Peter Max, Mobius, Philip Guston, and FriendsWithYou.

MA: Favorite record from 2013?

JV: Mike Krol, Trust Fund

MA: Do you have a fantasy collaboration or project you’d like to be a part of?

JV: I’m always looking to collaborate on new things and see where it leads. I want to work on projects I never expected to get the chance to do. I’d love to work in video games, design vinyl toys, and do illustrations for board games or pen/paper RPGs.


Related Articles


Originators: Brian Luong


Latest News

2017 Draft Class Sports

The Major Takeaways from the 2017 NBA Draft

Last night we watched men both younger and way more talented than us become way richer than us. Welp
Sizzla-DJ-Khaled News

The Untold Story Behind DJ Khaled and Sizzla’s “I’m So Grateful”

Khaled and Kalonji go way back
Eric B. & Rakim will reunite to celebrate 30th anniversary of Paid In Full. Music

Eric B. & Rakim Announce First Show Together in Over 20 Years

Finally let the rhythm hit 'em
essex-market-featured Art

‘Market Surplus’ Gives a Building on the L.E.S. One Last Jolt Before Demolition

Mural art show features Faust, Lamour Supreme, ELLE and more
Silicon Valley: The Soundtrack is available now. Music

Stream ‘Silicon Valley: The Soundtrack,’ Featuring Nas, Run the Jewels, Wu-Tang ...

A Mass Appeal and HBO collaboration, streaming now
Jay 305 talks about Suga Free's 'Street Gospel' album. Music

Jay 305 Preaches on Suga Free’s Classic ‘Street Gospel’

Sebastian Gorka News

Trump’s Top Advisor: There’s Only Radical Muslims and Those Soon To Be Radical

Trump's top advisor doesn't confirm he hates Islam, but does tell us he doesn't like hip hop
vince-staples Music Video

Everything’s Up For Interpretation in Vince Staples’ Video for “Rain Come Down”

...except for his feeling about Sprite
Tyler the Creator suggests he may be dropping a project soon. Music

Is It About to Be Tyler SZN?

chance the rapper apologizes to dr. dre News

Chance The Rapper Apologizes to Dr. Dre For Clowning Aftermath

Chance no longer thinks Aftermath "Can't Do Math"
squidnice, trap by my lonely, video, staten island Music Video

Squidnice Drops Sleek New Video for “Trap By My Lonely”

The Craccen gets nice
eto-portrait Music

PREMIERE: Eto “Ritual” prod. by V Don x Kill

That fly or die block shit
Putin/Trump News

Lyin’ Trump: I Don’t Know About Russia Hacking The Election

Everyone Else: They Did
sonic-hedgehog-daily-op Tech/Games

Twenty Six Years Ago, Sonic the Hedgehog Sped Into Our Lives

Gotta go fast!

How Prodigy Changed the Game With ‘Return of the Mac’

Every rapper in the internet age owes a debt to P
power-sikora TV

About That Night “White Tommy” Dropped The N-Word on ‘Power’

It wasn't even in the script