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COJO: CHOPPIN' IT WITH THE ART JUGGERNAUT
Cojo is the enigma behind Maxim's "A Day In The Life" comic strip and the mastermind behind some very dark and gorgeous portraitures. Sit in as we talk about Leonardo DeVinci, the missionary position and Marvel Comics...
Who is Cojo? Some say a writer. Others might hip you to his dope illustrations. Or his graphic designs. Or you might only know him as a killer fine artist. What can be said of Cojo that would properly explain his style and talent? Sheeot...fucked if I know. All his website bio really tells us is that he graduated with a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) from The School of Visual Arts in NYC and that he is about to revitalize the court with a set of new Nike basketball shirts this season plus the fact that his work has appeared in The Source Magazine thirty times or more.
Okay, but does he have a day job?
Well, technically, Cojo is a freelancing artist, so he could be working for Complex Magazine one day and VIBE the next. However, he does write and illustrate his own popular comic strip (see: A Day In The Life) in world famous men's magazine Maxim on the regular, in addition to smaller comic strips for other periodicals. He is a gifted artist and writer, and as is evident by the celeb pics on his website, a person well-regarded among those he is commissioned by, or that he associates with. Except, of course, for the celebrities he disses relentlessly in magazines and his newsletters. Does that help at all?
No?...well, maybe you'll understand this enigmatic figure a little better if I apprise you of his rank in the visual world: COJO is the Art Juggernaut. Alright, so that doesn't really give us much to go on. But at least it sounds cool, right?
"Ya damn right!"
Thanks, Mr. McConaughey! You're a real sport! Bang on them bongos and here! Smoke my bong!
But I digress. Right!
So maybe all we have to know about Cojo is that we don't need to know anything. Just look at his art and it will speak for itself.
NO! BUT YOU DON'T WANT TO DO THAT, DO YOU?! DO YOU?!
So you had to go and make it hard for me, huh?! Oh, sure! Fine, then! I'll just get all the info for you so you can just sit there drooling. Fine! Fine! Just remember, you owe me!
Cojo "Art Juggernaut," Cojo is short for Colin Jorgensen. Keep it short and sweet, people can remember it, I've been Cojo for years, nobody calls me Colin but my mom.
I am wearing some of your gear as we speak! I have a Fat Albert shirt on that I believe you did the drawings for.
So you draw some sick designs for Fubu for their Fat Albert & The Cosby Kids line. How did you get hooked up doing that?
I doubt you are wearing one of mine, FUBU was making the Fat Albert Platinum clothes for like 3 years before I started working with them, but yeah, I did Fat Albert shirts for like six months then they stopped the line. That was some fun shit to do, different then my norm, cause when I draw in my cartoony style, the art can look like whomever I want it to look like, cause I'm making it up. But when you are drawing licensed characters, that shit has to look like Fat Albert. I got the connect with FUBU back in college (SVA, SCHOOL OF VISUAL ARTS- BFA 1999) I had a roommate, Vern Incognito, who got a job as a designer at FUBU. He hooked me up with a project they were going to run with, FUBU got shirt rights to put A.B.A. logos on a line(American Basketball Association) which was basically 70's style big afro, short shorts, and tube socks B-Ball players on the court doing their thing. After I did all the drawings for it, they bumped the project and it never got printed. I took those drawings I made for FUBU's line and showed them to the art directors at THE SOURCE. They loved the drawings, and tested me out with an assignment. It came out sweet, so they gave me the Dr. Pain section, which I did the artwork for each month, for two years. My career kinda just took off from there. I got in touch with Bobby Joseph at FUBU last year, and they still remembered me and now that I had a name and wasn't just a student, they hooked me up. Vern is now kicking ass as one of the head art directors at Mecca USA. What up Vern!
Where did you hear that? To tell you the truth, I've hardly done any art for advertisements. The only things I can think of off hand is this new ZIMA campaign I'm doing with Complex Magazine. And this Heineken sponsored event I did for the Cleveland Scene last year. I do work with a lot of big corporations, and have my work in a lot of big magazines, but I haven't really tapped the advertising world. Any advertisers reading this interview, and think I would be dope for your next spot, hook me up! As far as craft or money- A good advertisement that reads well and gets the point across is most definitely done for craft, and the notoriety that comes along with doing good work and getting your shit seen. It also doesn't hurt the wallet.
With all the genres and sub-genres in art nowadays, where would you say your work belongs?
My style fits into many genres. I've done work for the "VANS WARPED TOUR" which is a punk/skateboard festival. I've done lots of work for almost all the major hip hop magazines: VIBE, COMPLEX, THE SOURCE, XXL, YRB, KING. I design LOOP bags that NY fashion diva chicks buy in trendy stores like URBAN OUTFITTERS. I write and draw my own full page comic strip for MAXIM MAGAZINE called "A Day In The Life." I like to think my style fits a lot of genres. And if my cartoony style doesn't, then maybe my more realistic style will. Back in 2000 someone asked me what my target demographic was. I told them, I just did two drawings this week, you tell me. One for THE SOURCE, who's target demographic is 18-30 year old black males, and another for JUNIOR SWIMMER MAGAZINE, who's target demographic is 9-12 year old white girls who compete on swim teams. My fine art work, on the other hand, belongs in galleries, or to art collectors, and on high roller's walls. Listen up: Bentley's depreciate, you got a Cojo piece in your crib, you aren't playin.' I've collaborated on paintings with Jay-Z, Ja Rule, Redman, Usher, Lil' Kim, Ashanti, Mario, Cam'ron. I'm working on a new show for later this year. When that's going to drop, Bob, I'll let you know, then we can do another one of these and shift focus to the acrylics.
If you had to compare yourself to one artist in history, who would it be?
That's a tough one, either Leonardo DiVinci, without the science, math, or inventions; or Andy Warhol, without the quirks. Well, maybe a few.
In freelance commercial art, your influence comes from what the art director is looking for. A lot of my work is influenced by who is hot in the entertainment world. A lot of my print work involves dissing celebrities, or spoofing them with drawings. The more famous the celebrity, the more times I've probably been paid by different magazines to rank on them.
Is there an underlying theme to your work that people should be aware of?
Since we are talking commercial art, I will say, just my style. The style is the one consistent in my work, no matter what the project. Then they wonder where it is derived from. When people usually look at my work, they see the comic book influence (I started out as a comic book colorist, coloring comic books for Marvel Comics at age 16) they also see the strong street/ Graf influence. I also got a lot of my early influences from my parents. I guess you could say I was directed towards the arts from birth. There is a cartoon influence (dad is a political/ editorial cartoonist) and a graphic design influence (Mom is an art director/ designer). I actually majored in graphic design at SVA contrary to what people might guess. Graphic design really taught me composition, improved my layouts, and gave my style a graphic edge.
Favorite sexual position?
Ha! Tried and true missionary. The fun part isn't all about position, it's location.
I, like almost everyone else I know, have an eclectic taste in music. I will listen to different music for whatever mood I'm in. Hip Hop, Rock, Jazz, Blues, what have you. Sometimes I will get into the groove of one song and loop it all day while I work. Kinda zone out to it. Like an Eminem Joint or some shit. If I'm doing a photoshoot for reference for a piece, I'll try to play the type of music I feel the finished piece should resemble, to ya know, get the model on my wavelength. If I'm having an intimate dinner alone with my girl, some Miles, or Billie Holiday. But I can rock out to Nirvana or Red Hot Chili Peppers too, no problem.
I think what she's doing is a great thing for New Jersey. NJ doesn't really have a central focus for good poetry and hip hop. I was raised in Jersey, and am glad to lend a hand with her event, even if it's just showing up and meeting a few cool kids coming up in the biz.
Give us a brief description of your aesthetic and intentions!
My art is meant to be something worth looking at and diggin'. Sometimes so detailed that you have to explore it and find all the little funny elements. Sometimes so simple that it hits you in an instant and just says "cool." I intend to hit the mainstream fine art scene bigtime in 2003-2004. Watch out for that, cause it's gonna be a trip.
What can peeps expect next from you?
I'm doing a new series of boombox/ ghetto blaster bags for LOOP/ Parcel right now. I got a set of NIKE basketball shirts coming out this season, look for those, they are tight. I've always got new comic strips in Complex, and Maxim, I'm doing a nice spread for the fall issue of Black Book Magazine, and for the next few months I'll be in the studio working on the paintings for my next gallery show. Expect a lot more album covers from me in the near future as well.
If there is one goal that you have yet to achieve what would that be?
I gotta set higher goals, my big life goal was get my own strip in Maxim, but now I do that on the regular. My new goal is to be "the next big thing" in the NY fine art world. Will it happen? Anyone who wants to see what's next in the life of an art juggernaut can contact me through my website www.COJOart.com. Click through and hit my update list, and I'll send you out an update about once every two weeks. My life is twisted, this is just the surface.
© Cojo l All images are property of this dope artist. Pretty please do not copy or use without asking nicely :-)
© Shice l 2003 Elevation Suite Music Group
|Cojo The Art Juggernaut will have his art on display at the "The Eclectic Acoustic Soul Series For Peace" presented by P.P.C.A.N.J. (Promoting Positive Cultural Arts of New Jersey)
Saturday, May 24th, 2003 9pm to 2am
There will be a lot free giveaways. Taste the music! Sugar Hill Golden Ale courtesy of The Harlem Brewing Company. Merchandise donated by Third Eye Apparel, Sonic Foundry, Na'meen Clothing and Loop Designs who donated bags that where designed by Cojo The Art Juggernaut.
...COME IN PEACE!!!