Every day we come across inspirational stories of amazing humans following their passion and leaving their mark. It was no different when we met Jer Collins, a prolific and talented artist, storyteller, climber and outdoor enthusiast influencing all those he comes across on a global scale. Take a look as we designate Jer Collins a Rustico Mark Maker.
Where are you from and where do you call home?
I’m from Kansas City, Missouri and still call it home despite being on the move a lot.
Tell us about your family?
My mom grew up in Guatemala, the child of US missionaries. She had an adventurous upbringing, living with the K’iche’ Indians and playing on the sides of volcanoes. She apologized often to my brothers and I for having such a boring suburban american life. I’ve tried my best to make up for it as an adult and drag my kids out on adventures constantly. I’m consistently jealous of their childhood, much like I was of my moms.
When did you start drawing?
I started drawing at the same time as everyone else – in kindergarten when I learned how to hold a crayon correctly; you know- not in a fist. I just never quit drawing.
Did you attend college? If so where did you go? What was it like for you?
I tried. I was living in Tucson Arizona, half in my van, half in my friend's garage. I was traveling and climbing. I eventually started working for Rock and Ice magazine as a roving staff artist. College was left behind.
What are favorite drawing tools of the trade?
You know, I’ve played with just about everything, but a few years ago I realized I had simplified my work to the essentials- pen and paper and minimal watercolor. I have sold or given away anything but that at this point. My go-to pens are Sakura Microns 02, 05, 08, and #1, but I like trying new things to keep it fresh. Lately I have been playing with my line style in Virtual Reality using Googles TiltBrush.
What kind of paper do you look for? Favorite art medium/materials?
I use three different papers for three different purposes. For elaborate strictly ink pieces, it’s a Bristol, generally 11x17. For writing and notes, which I tend to do a fair amount of, I use a basic unlined journal paper. Then for full blown ink and wash pieces I like a stout cold press watercolor paper. This is what we have used for the Traveler journal collaboration.
You helped launch Legendeer, can you dive more into what it is?
Legendeer was Sterling Hundley's brainchild, but he came to me to make sure he wasn't crazy. He certainly was, but in a good way. Legendeer is now in its fourth year of providing an online community and annual expeditions where we take groups of artists out on week long journeys in national parks engaging with mentors, guides and thought leaders to find their story. Our intent ultimately is to encourage the creative community to live their story and embed artists back into the world rather than hiding in their studios.
Favorite landscape you’ve drawn?
Hands down it was a portrait of Half Dome in Yosemite. I’ve had a long love affair with the place, and its the largest on location drawing I’ve done. It went on to be on the cover of a patagonia catalog, on shirts at the Yosemite mountain shop, and as the poster for the Valley Film Festival. It’s my “freebird”.
Best traveling experience overall?
My standard answer is “my favorite trip is the next one” because it’s more of a posture of hope rather than nostalgia. However, my journey to the Mackenzie Mountains in northern Canada stands out as one of my all-time favorites. The remoteness, the vast untouched beauty, the good friends and the challenge of an unclimbed mountain added up to perfection.
Hardest thing you have ever done?
Coolest collaboration project you’ve done aside from Rustico ☺ ?
An upcoming blanket with Rumpl is pretty exciting. We built a story around the art which resulted in a few days in the Sierras which was nice.
Projects/Experiences you are looking forward to?
I have a film and book project I have been researching for a year and a half now and honestly I can’t talk about it, both because I don’t want to jinx it and I don’t want to give away the story too soon. Stay tuned.
We appreciate Jer carving some time out of his regiment to chat with us as we get to know him a little better. Just this year, we launched the Jer Collins Rustico Collection, be sure to get familiar with the first two pieces to be released, the Traveler Journal and a custom 4" vinyl graphic sticker. Stay tuned to see more pieces to be released throughout the year. To keep up with Jer's expeditions, be sure to visit his Instagram and check out his site.
Got a Mark Maker in mind? We want to hear about them at firstname.lastname@example.org.