Post-Industrial Electronic Hip-Hop artist The Persona is a true collaborator. After hearing about his comic book EP “In a World” we asked about the process.

The Persona - In a World: A Comic Book EPART: Persona, when you had the idea to merge music and art, what struck you about the comic book format?

P: I’m interested in breaking down boundaries in general: genre boundaries within a media, as well as boundaries between media. I intend for all Persona projects to be released in different multimedia formats—hopefully I have a few more surprises up my sleeve.

The inspiring idea for the comic book EP was how similar the physical structure of a vinyl single was to multi-story comics I read when I was younger. Just as a vinyl single has an A-side and a B-side, I remembered comics that had two covers, where you would read one story to the staple, flip the comic, and read the second story to the staple. The jump to a comic book EP was natural from there.

ART: How did you choose who to collaborate with?

P: I reached out to musicians and curators for recommendations, and then I Internet-stalked them to see if their style would sync with what I pictured for each song. Ruthie and Anissa perfectly fit what I envisioned for their respective songs.

ART: Why is it important to have a visual aspect? Are you steering people towards the correct interpretation of the song?

P: I think of it much the same way I would think of a music video—early music videos were often literal interpretations of song lyrics, but modern videos tend to offer a new perspective on a pre-existing piece of art. The comics are intended to be independent art pieces that use the songs as a frame of reference.

ART: Anissa and Ruthie, how would you describe your styles of illustration? Did you adapt your style in response to either the song or The Persona’s script?

A: I would describe my art as varied and at times, surreal. I use a lot of different traditional mediums in my work and approach the materials differently depending on the effect I want. I worked mostly in watercolor for illustrating The Persona’s script.  He saw my work on AnissaArt.com and contacted me specifically because he liked my style. My style in watercolor was not adapted so much as it was applied to his story.

R:  I feel like my style is pretty simple. I like simple comic strips that are black and white and to the point. I feel like I am reading the script and drawing simple frames to stick to the point. The script is funny and I hope I can bring the story to life in a simple style that gets the point across.

ART: Visual artists, more than most artists, often have to interpret the non-visual direction of others, whether to create an illustration, a tattoo, or a comic. Do you prefer specific direction or freedom? What techniques do you employ to make the most of the direction you receive?

A: I like loose direction more than precise direction when it comes to commission work. I’ve encountered some individuals that have an exact vision of what they would like, but are unable to communicate that verbally, which can cause some frustration for all parties. I appreciate when someone trusts me to create something beautiful for them like the Persona did. When someone gives me a general direction and says “go” I find that I put more of myself in the work, become emotionally attached to it, and go above and beyond to make that person I’m working with happy. He has been absolutely great to work with and I would happily do it all over again.

Meeting in person to sketch out concepts helps me tremendously to get an idea of the individual I’m working with and what they would like to get out of my art. We have met up twice to discuss the direction of the work and we were both able to give and receive real-time feedback. I sketched out concept art with him and came with my suggestions too. I love working this way. A lot of communication gets lost over email or the phone so I’m glad he’s been happy to meet up with me.

R: I prefer precise direction. I like to know what someone is expecting. Persona and I visited a comic book store to look at different styles and sizes to sync up. That really helps me know that we both are on the same page. Pun intended.


Find more and purchase “In a World” on thepersonamusic.com.

Metaphors art: Ruthie JuntoPassarola art: Anissa Bryant

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