Interview | Graphic Artist + Designer Jeff Manning

The marriage of sound and sight conceives his art. Tapping into the vibe and pulse from the music that surrounds him, he materializes his thoughts, dreams, and emotions onto the digital canvass. His "mellow" and "laid back" demeanor recline peacefully on the surface of his works, but between the pixels of the images, another aspect of his personality shines through.


Muted, yet vibrant, colors of red and pink bursting out from a grayscale photo and soaring into the negative space of the image-- reaching higher and higher to a destination not yet seen, but constantly hungered for. A look at his art reminds you that one's inner beauty-- inner flower-- blossoms outwards, permeating into everything they do. It can also be a photographical "flow chart" of his process. He infuses music into his veins, letting it course through his body, fueling his mind and soul to emote his interpretation into a final piece.

The combining and uniting of images and colors, reality and fantasy, lights and shadows, reminds us one immutable truth about both art and the few who partake in it: Possibilities are endless.

Anything can be achieved. Any thought, any dream, any hope, any vision. And out of the billions of people on this earth, no one has vision like artists do.

From the city of brotherly love, Graphic Designer and Music Enthusiast, JEFF MANNING.

Specific field of art? How did you find your way into this? Graphic Design is the specific field of art that I am in. As for how I found my way into graphic design, I actually became interested in the field at age 16. The thing that really drew me in was seeing certain album covers from some of my favorite music artists . I would look at those covers and say to myself "Wow.... How can I do something like this?".  For example, I was really amazed when I saw the cover for Kid Cudi's "Man on the Moon: The End of Day" for the first time. That's when I really solidified my decision to study design. Around that time, I decided to start taking a Graphic Design course in high school while taking the time to study different techniques about Graphic Art during my spare time. 

Kid Cude Man on the Moon serves as inspiration behind Jeff's work.    Source: 

Kid Cude Man on the Moon serves as inspiration behind Jeff's work.  


Many artists view their birth place or current location as a main source of inspiration. How is this so for you? If not, what does serve as inspiration? I would definitely say that the city of Philadelphia has inspired me a lot over the years. As an artist, I just love being around the people and culture in Philadelphia. I have met an networked with many of great people the past few years. Even the food is great haha! These things inspire me artistically and personally.

As detailed as possible, describe your process; the journey from blank canvas to finished piece. Is there always a finished look already in mind? Does your work end up the way you want it, or does it evolve by the time you're done? How do you know when a piece is finished? How do you deal with "artist" block along the way?  My process for designing usually starts with some sort of inspiration that I may come across. I gather up all of the inspiration that I gained, then brainstorm on how I can develop an art piece from those inspirations. I am normally able to come up with ideas in short amount of time. But, there can be times when I run into "artist block" and won't be able to come up with concepts off the top of my head. To answer you question on how I deal with "artist block", I instantly step away from designing for a few hours, and engage in other activities like; reading magazines, listening to music, etc . There are also times when I take a "power nap" to refresh my mind and energy. 

How much of your personality, opinions, and flaws are hidden within your work? Any recurring themes? The work that I create reflects my personality 100%. Even the color palettes that I use reflect that. I consider myself a calm/laid back type of person which is why I love to use mellowed color schemes in my work. 


Artists have always seen the world differently than most. How do you see it? What do you do change/add to it both personally and artistically? Yes, that is in fact very true. I see the world as a place with endless opportunities and possibilities. Especially in today's world where we have one of the main resources; Technology. It's amazing to see how this generation of artists and entrepreneurs are using the internet to present their ideas and brands to the world. If I could change/add to anything in the world, both personally and artistically; it would be to motivate others (especially the youth) in the world to be more aware that they can do ANYTHING that they set their minds to do. Even though it's a very cliche saying, It is very easy for people to lose track of their self-worth and purpose in this very backwards society that we live in. 


Do other forms of art (music/dance/movies/etc) influence your approach to your work, or ignite something within you? How so? Music has a HUGE influential impact on my work. All of the pieces that I create are inspired by the mood/vibe that I get from a song that I listened to on that specific day. 


Which art form would you merge yours with, if the opportunity presented itself? How would you do so? If I had to choose any art form to merge with mine if given the opportunity, It would definitely be Music Production. As you should notice by now, I am a huge fan of music haha! As for how I would merge Music Production with Graphic Design, one of my top goals is to be the art director for upcoming projects from some of my favorite producers. I would create an art piece for each of the tracks on their project if given the chance to collaborate with them.


What's the goal for your art? What does it set out to accomplish above all else? The goal for my artwork is very simple, I want to share my thoughts and ideas to the world through my work. In addition to that, I want to showcase in many galleries all over the globe. Motivating myself to work hard every day will be key in my quest to achieving those goals. I am a firm believer that everything great happens in due time.


Both artistically and personally, where do you go from here? Both artistically and personally moving forward, I want to continue to keep doing what I love in life, progress, inspire others, expand globally, and experiment with new ideas for the "Jeff Manning" brand. I also want to continue to collaborate with other talented individuals from all over.