Jacob Bannon: Distance and Meaning


When I started this site almost two years ago (6/10/2011), there were certain artists that I knew had to be on the site.  Jacob Bannon was in my top ten. His work has been seeping into my brain for years and the iconic images that he has created are burned deep into my subconscious. As the singer of Converge, he has made solid album after solid album, he was voted by Metal Sucks readers as the best frontman in modern metal and through his label, Deathwish the world has been introduced to some amazing bands.  I recommend that you put on your favorite Converge album and read this interview…enjoy!

Who are your artistic influences?
At this point I really don’t know what they are anymore. I tend to be concerned with making things on my own and I don’t look outwards for any sort of inspiration. Generally I come from a background in punk rock, hardcore, and metal. The styling of those visuals will always play a role in what I do, especially work that I found interesting when I was younger.

In watching the Rungs in a Ladder video, all I could think was what an amazing studio space. Do you run the record label out of the same space or is your studio in your house?

The documentary was filmed following me throughout a day in a variety of locations. Deathwish has it’s own floor of a warehouse building where I do a lit of work out of. I have a small room off of the warehouse that I work in usually. I also work out of my home as well, in an extension that we build primarily for that. Some of the footage of me painting is from that space.

Take us through a typical day.
I get up, make coffee, walk the dog, and get to work. Work can mean a variety of things but usually focuses around Deathwish as well as art and music related projects. Though sometimes it’s also processing and packing print orders, writing, etc.

How do you create your work? Take us through the process from concept to final.
It varies from project to project. The conceptual stage of a piece will start with a basic idea of what I want to create.
Then I work out the basic design on paper and then go from there. Every project is different from that point on.

The art you created for the Jane Doe record has become one of the most iconic images in modern heavy music. Do you realize how many people that image has influenced? Why do you think it resonated with people so much
I am aware for sure and very grateful. As to why art connects with people, you’d have to ask them about their own personal connection to those things as everyone has their own unique relationship with the art and music that connects with them.

What is the story behind that image?
It was the main image created as part of a series of mixed media pieces for use in the “Jane Doe” album. They were all created using spray and acrylic paint, photography, Letraset type, among other things.

The “Jane Project” was an amazing concept…How did that come about? Did all of the work sell or can people still buy one
They all sold within an hour or so of making them available to the public. I have one that I am making for a customer in the military, who’s piece was lost in transit sadly and never seen again. That’s all though, there are no more.


Do you use reference materials or does all of it come from your head?
I use anything and everything as reference material if it pertains to a project that I am working on.

What kind of music do you listen to when you work?

If I am working on visuals for a specific band or album, I will listen to them specifically to immerse myself in the project. I’ve been doing that over the last few weeks for a project for the band Modern Life Is War for example. If I am not working for a band, I can listen to essentially whatever I want. I listen to a lot of Podcasts and talk radio, things to keep me connected a bit to the outside world.

Do you have an advice for artist’s who wish to do artwork for bands?
Just do what you love, and find your own voice in your work.


What art are you currently working on?
I am working on a project for a band called Modern Life Is War. I also created the visuals for an album they released in the mid 2000s called “Witness”. Other things I am working on: A Print collaboration with Florian Bertmer, some work for The Misfits, Converge and Wear Your Wounds related visuals, a lot of Deathwish design work.

What art have you done for other bands?
I’ve worked on hundreds of projects. A detailed portfolio is here

Do you have any dream projects in music or art?
Not really no.


Who are your favorite bands of all time and what bands are you listening to right now?
I haven’t listened to anything but my client’s music for the last few weeks. Favorite bands; Judas Priest, Led Zeppelin, Depeche Mode, Motorhead, etc.

Any advice for artists that want to work with bands?
I already answered this above, but I just feel that people should do what they love.
Make art because they want to, not because they aspire to work for band X.

Who would you like to see featured on MBA?
There are a ton of talented illustrators and designers out there, so talk to them all.
Thanks for your time, it’s appreciated.


About Vertebrae33

Through hard work and dedication, Vertebrae33 has established himself as one of the most prolific and exciting illustrators on the scene today.  He has received much acclaim as of late for his innovative designs, attention to detail, and wholly unique, raw style.