Raised in the Heber Valley, Jason Quinn is a 1991 graduate of Wasatch High School. His close connection to the valley doesn’t end there, as two of his murals still grace the walls of area schools.
Quinn’s work expresses an optimistic and youthful style that is at once precise and unbridled. His mural at Rocky Mountain Middle School features a woodland scene filled with references from 50 beloved children’s stories. The 25-foot-wide, airbrush and acrylic piece took six months to paint after two years of conceptual collaboration — the final product an imaginative rendering of Jason’s original idea peppered with input from the county school board and other community stakeholders.
Standing in front of it, viewers are submerged in a world of fantasy and wonder. His playful style and precise technique bring to life a world that feels as real in person as it does in a child’s imagination.
It’s clear that Jason Quinn is a family man first; we spend a lot of time talking about what it means to have creative children. Quinn’s 17-year-old daughter, Lucy, was recently honored as her school’s Sterling Scholar in art. He knowingly explains that she exhibits the hallmarks of a young artist. “I try to encourage her to find the love in the work — to do it because it gives her joy,” he says, reflecting on perfectionism and other implacable features of the artistic temperament. His eldest son, Sullivan, is currently attending BYU Hawaii, and Simon, his middle child, is currently serving an LDS mission in the Dominican Republic.
His studio, Mighty Quinn, takes illustration and signage commissions from clients all over Utah and the U.S.
Quinn exudes a reassuring practicality and centeredness that no doubt dampens the stress of being a full-time freelancer. With that said, the normal pressures of production and commerce do seem to bubble up at times, just beneath the surface. “If you’re not scrambling for work, then you’re scrambling for a deadline — or scrambling to get the right kind of work,” he explains.
At the same time, it’s clear that his career has reached a kind of cruising altitude, where priorities take their place and the work flows freely. “My whole life, I’ve always just made time to take everything,” he says, “but now, I’m a little more careful. If I’m not excited about [the work], then I don’t have to do it.”
In 2011, Quinn was hired to install a mural at Wasatch High School and worked closely with then-principal Paul Sweat (who is now the district superintendent). Quinn’s outsized artwork illuminates the academic and athletic heritage of Wasatch High, giving form to fabled Wasps that made local history. In celebration of the architectural timeline of the district, the piece also features renderings of each of the three school buildings constructed over the last 100 years. Taken in as a whole, the mural masterfully displays Quinn’s distinctive, balanced hand: whimsical geometry applied to meticulous proportions, exaggerated gestures tempered by patient technique, a graphic novel unwrapped and presented page-beside-page.
Jason Quinn’s work is a case study in balance, his vivid imagination made even more impressive by his keen sense of restraint. Every vignette is a memory frozen in time – not just the scene, but the emotion, energy and atmosphere embodied in each captured moment.