We ask the world’s top designers and illustrators to answer 13 questions and create a visual response to one of their choice.
John F. Malta is an illustrator and art director based in both New York City and Kansas City, Missouri, with an irreverent, punkish aesthetic and a penchant for skateboarding monsters, sci-fi snakes, and belligerent skeletons. Malta works on projects with Adult Swim and produces a web-comic series for Vice called Herman the Elder, simultaneously editing and publishing an annual comics and art anthology aptly entitled Universal Slime. Basically, we cannot get enough of it. Do yourself a favor and follow him on Instagram @johnfmalta.
Describe what you do in four words or less: Visual artist punk storyteller
When did you know you wanted to be a designer? When I was in high school I designed cassette tapes, gig posters, stage banners, and merch for punk bands I was in. I eventually developed a portfolio that I used to reach out to larger clients.
If you weren’t a designer, you’d be: Touring with a punk band.
The typeface you love/hate/love to hate: I love the blocked out and bold typeface hand-drawn for the film They Live. A similar font I use on a regular basis is an all caps, extra bold version of Myriad Pro.
Your dream design (or redesign) project is: I would be so psyched to illustrate a cereal box and design the toy inside.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received (and who said it)? “There are no big breaks, celebrate the small victories.” Marshall Arisman told me this after I published my first illustration in the New York Times. I think about it every time I submit a new project final I’m psyched about.
The quality in others you most admire is: Earnest positivity. Support your friends and compatriots. Art and design is a brutal but rewarding path to drift down. There’s enough room in the river for all of us to keep swimming.
You’re secretly really good at: Interior decorating—I love designing the spaces I live in. Me and my partner Siobhan’s Ridgewood, NYC, apartment was recently featured on Apartment Therapy.
The biggest design cliché right now is: I can’t believe there are still illustrators and designers drawing pizza.
What keeps you awake at night? Not living long enough to meet my future children.
What contribution will you make to the creative community in the next 10 years? Telling stories, painting, and making zines; I’ll continue to do that in whatever form it takes.
What question are you dying to answer that we haven’t asked? Since this interview is mostly focused on me there isn’t much of an opportunity to talk about my girlfriend, partner, and collaborator Siobhan Gallagher, but Sio is a massively talented illustrator and a huge inspiration to me as a human being and as an artist.
What’s the answer? Be Excellent to Each Other.