Updated: Apr 25
The Dirt Road
I grew up in the hill country of southeast Ohio. I often recall the memories of running barefoot through those hills embracing my inner native. Traversing the numerous hunting paths and deer trails with my grandfather as he passed down knowledge and wisdom of the woodlands that surrounded my every living moment. I lived in that wilderness. It was the one true place I was alive. I embraced my wildness like a lost boy in Neverland. Exploration and adventure embraced me at a very early age. Dirt roads were a very important part of that journey. There was always something special about passing from that paved road into the wild dusty dirt. It was the line you crossed over into the unknown. It was the moment you passed from modern society into echoes of the past. The dirt road. It was in my beginning. It is with me still. So this blog, this exchange of ideas, and thoughts., It’s going, to be honest. It’s definitely not going to be politically correct. There’s a right and wrong about life. In my forty-seven years of earthly existence, this is something I’ve come to understand. Me and this “modern” world don’t see eye to eye on a great many things. It is what it is. This is the “dirt road” this is where bare feet feel wonderous earth in all its dirty gritty honest glory. This is where we connect with something greater than ourselves. So if you’re curious or daring, welcome. If you are easily offended this probably aint the front porch for you to stop by so ya best keep moving on. I wish you well either way. Welcome to my past, present, and thoughts on the future. I’ll impart what wisdom I can share. I hope some stories are inspiring others I just hope bring a smile to your face.
For those of you who are new to this party. Hey there! I hope the world is being kind. If you haven’t guessed by now I’m an artist, a self-employed creative individual. My current concentration is illustration, fine art, graphic art, and leather crafting. I’ve been a professional artist since 1997. After graduating from Marshall University in 1997 I meandered my way through several corporate jobs. Some of these gigs were definitely better than others. I’ve worked for small ad agencies and extremely large corporate entities. I’ve lived and worked in large cities and humble small towns. It’s been an interesting mix throughout my career. If you’ve read my bio then you know 2004 was a definite year of change. By the grace of my Creator, I managed to endure and survive being the victim of a head-on collision. Due to the damage to my body, I ended up losing my employment as Creative Director for a job I thoroughly enjoyed. In every sense of the word I had to start from the beginning. ... More on that later.
My wondrous wife and I started Queens Cove Creative in 2019 after I embarked on an absolutely wonderful adventure to the incredibly wild and quickly fading countryside of rural Florida. Since that time I’ve had the honor to create art for licenses such as Lucasfilm and Star Wars, Topps, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Netflix’s Stranger Things, Ultraman, John Carpenters Halloween, The Hannibal Television series, Fox’s Firefly, and Universals Ghostbusters. It’s definitely been a cool and crazy creative ride through some of my favorite fandoms. These fandoms are some of the very ones that helped forge my love of visual storytelling. I am very much a visual storyteller. Whether I am creating fine art, graphic arts or even delving into my leathercraft I feel the visual story is an important aspect of my creative process. I’ll share more on QueensCove in the future. Concerning my art... oh my precious art. Where do I start? At the beginning I guess. I look back and realize I could have chosen a thousand different jobs for my life. The artist was simply my most natural choice. It’s been a good choice. I grew up in a small town with a very limited amount of exposure to art. The one art gallery in my old town is mostly run by extremely self-pretentious gatekeepers who deem who is worthy and not worthy of art. So I found influences and exposure where I could. The Alcove bookstore. Man, I miss that place. Those who owned it were amazing individuals. The smells of musty books and freshly printed comics still bring a smile to my face. Some of my very first artistic creations hung on their walls. I discovered my love of comics and graphic novels from that store. It was my oasis in a desert and I’m very thankful my friends and I had that one island in our tumultuous teenage lives to enjoy.
My influences? Sure let’s go down that rabbit hole for a moment... My influences as an artist range from the great classic masters such as N.C. Wyeth, Maxfield Parrish, and Howard Pyle to Frank Frazetta, Bernie Wrightson, and Todd McFarlane. Of course, as a lover of art history Van Gogh, Renoir, Degas and Klimt are never far from my thoughts. My style? Well, to be honest, my art is still developing. I’m always looking for ways to define and level up my style as a traditional artist. I’m currently taking 2023 as a year to explore, develop and understand who I am and who I want to be as an artist. If I had to define my style I’d say it’s a complete modern impressionist mixture of abstract chaos and illustrative order. I am a traditional artist. There is something special about actual physical paint and canvas. Digital art in my humble opinion could never compare. Though from time to time I’ve used my knowledge and experience as a graphic designer to create in Photoshop, I strongly prefer the traditional method of creation. As this is an introduction I’m sure we’ll visit this topic in greater detail as time proceeds.
Concerning life... I like simplicity above all else. As my all-time favorite author best stated “It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life.” - J. R. R. Tolkien. I’ll take country air or morning beach walks over city noise and pollution. I always find it ironic that those who live in the city feel the need to tell me how to care for my environment here in the country. I’ll take the honest conversation over false office double talk any day of the week. The simplicity of life is not synonymous with stupidity as some believe. Some of the wisest words I’ve heard are from old men smoking pipes on front porches. Some of the most arrogant asinine comments I’ve ever had to endure have been from the mouths of tenured professors. I once asked an old lady who was celebrating her 95th birthday what the secret to long life was. She replied with an amazingly honest response “Don’t sweat the small shit sugar.” Ah, the zen of enlightenment that day.
I now live in rural Florida. Here I'm surrounded by horse farms, orange farms, and the amazing wilderness of the Ocala National Forest which is just miles from my residence. Here I’ve encountered black bears, giant alligators, deadly snakes, bald eagles, and a vast array of wildlife that often frequents my rural yard. This is my lovely fading Florida. The forgotten Florida as I often refer to it. With the mass influx of northerners escaping into Florida, my little part of heaven is quickly becoming an endangered landscape. If you’re wondering yes I do indeed live on a dirt road. I create and run my little business out of my home here in DeLeon Springs Florida.
So as Sawyer Brown states in their song...
I'll take the dirt road, it's all Iknow
I've been walking it for years
It's gone where I need to go
Oh, it ain't easy, it ain't supposed to be
So I'll take my time
And life won't pass me by
'Cause it's right there to find, on the dirt road Hope you stick around as I share more of my art, my process, and what little wisdom I've garnered from life in all its painful wonder. Until then may blessings find ye on whatever path you walk. L. Jason Queen