Your Manifest Creative Director 2017

Published on Dec 06, 2016

By Ashley Wolfgang

The results are in! We are happy to announce that JJ McLuckie is your Manifest Creative Director 2017. JJ is a senior Illustration major from Coal City, IL.  

Are there any classes or professors who have influenced your design and illustration work?
My illustration classes have influenced me more than any other that I have taken here; Chris A, Chris E, and Ivan B are incredible at what they do. Of all my illustration classes, Ivan’s Cartooning and Reading Graphically have inspired me most to delve deeper into creating comics and more layered work. 

What types of art/illustration inspires you? Are there any artists that you look up to?
Art that inspires me most are pieces that require you to slow down and study it in order to fully understand it’s meaning, whether that be illustration, music, books, writing, or anything. Most of my inspiration stems from closing my eyes and listening to music, then trying to recreate the colors and patterns that I visualize to music. I spend a good portion of my day walking to and from the train station and during this time I always am listening to music while studying the nature around me in order to try and understand the significance of every pattern I see. These patterns eventually end up in designs in one way or another. When it comes to visual art though, my biggest influences are the psychedelic gig posters of the 60’s and 70’s by artists like Rick Griffin, the large paintings and studies in repetition of artists like Bridget Riley and Yayoi Kusama, and the unique storytelling styles of underground and alternative cartoonists like Robert Crumb and Michael Deforge.

JJ McLuckie, winning poster design.  JJ McLuckie, winning star design

What are you most excited about for this year's Manifest design?
I’m most excited to see how wild I can get with the designs this year so that I can hopefully inspire others to not be afraid to get just as weird, if not weirder, with whatever they create or do.

How do you stay creative?
The best way that I’ve found to stay creative is to, as cliche as it sounds, never stop making what you love. Listen to music you never thought that you’d like, wear the clothes that make you happy even if they contradict trends, read new books, study sciences for inspiration, groove, go for long walks with no goal in mind, be peaceful, stare at the sky, dance how you want, don’t be afraid to feel awkward, talk to strangers, daydream, doodle, improvise art, love, trust instincts, try your best to enjoy life, think up new ideas and solutions, work with whatever materials you have — the only thing that stops you from being creative is starting to think what others will think of you. If you make what you love and are honest in your endeavors, imagination and creativity is limitless. Plus, you’ll have a hell of a lot more fun making things and that shows in the final product.

What is your favorite thing about Columbia?
My favorite thing about Columbia is that it is located in Chicago and allows for an endless amount of possibilities. If Columbia wasn’t where it was, I would have never been able be a part of Manifest, been able to help visiting muralists with the Wabash Arts Corridor and eventually paint my own mural, volunteer at CAKE (Chicago Alternative Comics Expo) every year, or be able to participate in even a portion of the things that only Chicago can offer.2017 Manifest Creative Director, JJ McLuckie

Are you involved in any organizations on campus?
I’m currently the Executive Marketing Officer of ISG (Illustration Student Group), a member of IC3 (Illustration Columbia College Chicago), have worked for DEPS (Department of Exhibition and Performance Spaces), am a volunteer for the Wabash Arts Corridor, and am a co-editor of Linework Comics Anthology (organized by Ivan Brunetti).

Fun Facts
My cat’s name is Dr. Noodles, MD.
My favorite articles of clothing are flannels, tie-dye shirts, and baja hoodies.
My favorite record is It’s a Beautiful Day (1969) by It’s a Beautiful Day.
Necco wafers are delicious!
My favorite cup is a hand blown neon green glass I got for a dollar from a thrift store; everyone should have a favorite cup.