The World Is His Canvas'You can find so much inspiration everywhere you walk. From the art to the restaurants to the people — you name it.'
You might not know Jayson Atienza by name, but if you've ever seen his artwork, his signature style is unmistakable. "It's sort of kind of like stained glass," explains the 35-year-old graphic designer and artist. "But at the same time it's like a virus taking over whatever the object is."
His work lights up a multitude of canvases, whether they're clothing, accessories, posters or billboards. And it has literally gone global, with an impressive client list that includes Pepsi, HBO, FedEx, Guinness, M&Ms, AT&T, GE and Adidas. These clients and others have sought Atienza's talents for a variety of projects, including TV commercials, print ads, digital interactive marketing and guerrilla advertising. "It's pretty much all across the board," he says.
Originally from the Philippines, Atienza came to the United States at age 2 and grew up in Jersey City, New Jersey. He attended college at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, where he first began experimenting with materials and themes. "It really kind of helped me to work with different mediums, and that's how I developed my style," he says. "I love playing with tape. I love playing with watercolor and ink. Using the combination of watercolor and ink was when I discovered and started developing my style."
Atienza, who lives in Tribeca with his wife, Annie, is constantly mining the cityscape for new ideas. "You can find so much inspiration everywhere you walk," he says. "From the art to the restaurants to the people — you name it."
He enjoys checking out the fabrics and notions stores in the Garment District. "You can be in a button store and there's so much color," he says. "You think of buttons as black and blue and white, but there's so many colors to buttons. You go into [these places] and you find the different textures of it and the details of certain holes on the button."
Seeing items en masse anywhere informs his work — for instance, viewing plants in the flower district, located mostly on West 28th Street between Avenue of the Americas and Seventh Avenue.
Atienza's favorite way to explore the city is by bike, which is how he often finds New York's hidden treasures. "I like riding my bike all around the city because you discover new streets that you don't normally walk through or drive through, because you weave in and out of places really easily," he says.
Rarely will he pass up an alleyway, no matter how forbidding it looks. That's how he's found obscure graffiti walls and little gems like Freemans Restaurant at the end of an unused alley off the Bowery.
When he wants to relax, Atienza takes a leisurely ride on the West Side Highway along the Hudson River up to near the George Washington Bridge, then back down to Tribeca. "Just seeing water is inspirational to me because it clears your head," he says. "The Hudson River, it reminds me of where I came from when I'm looking across the water at Jersey City, and how I got to where I am and all that stuff. So that inspires me too."
Check out Jayson's New York City.