From the beginning, American Backcountry has taken great pride in providing our customers with destination-specific tees designed by talented artists. This unique approach allows us to offer apparel that truly speaks to our customers and their individual journeys and adventures. None of this would be possible without the artists behind the tees.
Today, we are excited to shine a spotlight on one of our artists, Jeff Markowsky, who created some of American Backcountry’s early designs back in 1997 and has since rejoined us to continue sharing his remarkable artwork.
How did you get started with American Backcountry?
Frank and I met in 1997 in Savannah on the street when we were both walking our dogs, Snoofie and Justiin. As fellow outdoorsmen, we hit it off immediately. I was transitioning from jobs and he was just getting started with American Backcountry. He hired me to do some part time screen printing in their studio warehouse along with some of the early destination illustrations for AB. I have done some art for AB since then but more comprehensively and continuously over the past year. I was a full time professor in Savannah and painter, but in 2022, quit full time academia and embarked on living a nomadic life, traveling the USA painting the landscape, participating in plein air events and illustrating for AB. It's been a full year to this day as I write this.
What do you do for American Backcountry?
I illustrate primarily black and white line art for AB a majority of which are for national and state parks and monuments. It's awesome because it aligns beautifully with my career in plein air painting and my travels. I am quite traditional in my approach and over the past year transitioned from old school pen and ink to using an Ipad Pro. Drawing digitally has streamlined the process for me but I still love sketching and keep a sketchbook. I find inspiration almost anywhere outdoors. Anywhere from the rich allure of colors of the pacific coast, the strada formations of a desert mesa to the gnarled unruly textures of an old tree. It may be a cliche but I find inspiration in the infinite abundance of nature.
You can see Jeff's step-by-step art process: here.
What do you think sets American Backcountry’s designs apart from other brands?
ABcountry T’s set the tone for outdoor inspiration! I think the big difference is that they are or can be site specific. What can be a better reminder and expression of one's journey and experience in nature than wearing it on your back? It can be like a walking journal entry. It's a powerful statement of what is important to a person. AB's variety of trend setting artwork and colors gives the person a broad range of aesthetic choices. The sublimation printing process is revolutionary and endures over time.
It’s truly an honor to have an artist onboard such as Jeff who lives and breathes the American Backcountry lifestyle every single day as he travels the country creating art. We look forward to seeing what comes next from this talented artist. In the meantime, be sure to check our fantastic designs here.To view Jeff’s collection of plein art paintings and line drawings visit his website here.