Published on

Q&A with Jared Schorr

Illustrator from Southern California

My name is Jared Andrew Schorr and I cut paper.

How did you get started in illustration, what is your background?

I’ve always been a person who draws. Always doodling. But when I got out of high school I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I never thought of Art as a career so I did a lot of different jobs. One day I found Souther Salazar’s work and it was transformative to me. I thought

This is brilliant! I will probably never do anything this good but I HAVE to pursue this.

So I made this weird little comic/art/collage book and I did something that goes against every fiber of my being. I sent it to Souther in the mail! He liked it and I almost exploded from giddiness. Because he liked it but also because maybe just maybe I could do this. Then I found all these other artists that I really liked had gone to the same school, Art Center College of Design. So that was where I was going to go to school. Period.

Where did you study? Looking back, would you recommend your path to beginners in design/illustration?

I studied at Art Center College of Design. It was life-changing. It was intense and fun and invigorating. It was an amazing experience because I was conscious of the absolute gift of being there. I was like Will Ferrell in Elf. Every day was gumdrops and candy canes. I took everything in as if it was a new experience and walked around with bright eyes and a bushy tail. That being said, I ALWAYS thought that the school was going to figure out that I wasn’t supposed to be there. Like I was some kind of clerical error. I still may have been but I snuck through. But it was also so fucking…what’s the word…expensive. College is an investment in ones self. I think going to art school a little later helped me. I started when I was 25 and I was already old there. haha I had already done jobs where I knew that is NOT what I want to do. So I worked really hard in school because there was no Plan B. ONLY PLAN A. Because of that my work ethic was, and still is, rabid.

What is a turning point in your professional career?

I think I’ve had two turning points (so far) in my career and they both happened in school.

The first turning point of my professional career happened because I was horrible at drawing. haha At the time I was struggling with how I wanted to express my voice. More than anything it was a materials issue. There were a lot of people doing like this ink/watercolor thing that didn’t really feel natural. It felt like me, using someone else's voice. So I took a publishing class taught by Esther Pearl Watson and Mark Todd. They had an assignment to interpret a song using a material you haven’t used before. I choose King of Carrot Flowers pt. 1 by Neutral Milk Hotel and Esther suggested collage to me. I decided to just use flat paper because it was easier than choosing photos. It immediately was right and exciting. It felt like I had genuinely discovered something.

The second turning point happened at the end of my junior year of college when my wife had our first son. Now, I believed that I was already motivated to make art and have a “career” but oh man. Having a kid was a shot in the arm. I had this other person I had to take care of and who’s life depended on me. With that in mind, I graduated and hit the ground running. I sent out promos and looked for illustration work wherever I could find it. I got my first illustration job 5 days after I graduated and I’ve been doing it ever since.

What is your ideal work environment? Do you work in your studio all day long or prefer to mix a few activities?

My ideal work environment is quiet and cool with lots of counter space. I’m most comfortable in the eye of my own little controlled chaos. When i’m doing a project I like stuff everywhere. Shuffling paper and glue and pencils is nice. Then when the project is done, cleaning up the chaos is the gift you give yourself for a job well done.

Where are your favorite places in your city or outside?

My favorite place in the city, probably any city, is the library. Heaven is a library.

Who are the designers and illustrators, colleagues you admire most?

Today if I had to play duck duck goose with illustrators (sitting them boy girl boy girl) I’d pick Meg Hunt, Andrew Kolb, Phoebe Wahl, Christian Robinson, Erica Sirotich, Adam Nickel, Alyssa Nassner, Souther Salazar, Lydia Nichols, and S. Britt is the goose. They are all doing amazing important work. There are many more, but then we’d have to play dodge ball or some other game.