Justin Schultz believes that Jackson's arts scene is exceptionally supportive.
"There's such a plethora of talent around this town," Schultz says. "It's a really neat place for an artist to be, because it's so easy to do things here. The people that are into art are really into (it) and supportive and appreciative."
A freelance graphic designer, Schultz,28, was looking for an outlet to share the illustrations he does in his free time, when photographer Matthew Brantley came to him with the idea of compiling a limited-edition arts magazine to feature the work of the Jackson artists they both know.
The resulting publication, "The Night Drop," features contributions from Schultz, Brantley and a host of other local artists. Schultz, who also designed "The Night Drop," says that his goal was to create something that would serve as an attractive artifact.
Schultz grew up in Brandon and studied graphic design at Mississippi State University, graduating with a bachelor's degree in 2005. After graduation, he returned to the Jackson area and worked for a variety of advertising agencies, including the Godwin Group.
In late 2007, searching for a creative outlet, Schultz started designing concert posters and album art for his friends in the (now-defunct) Jackson rock band Roosevelt Noise. That led to more design work for other bands.
Now, concert posters bearing Schultz's distinctive sensibility are a common sight in Jackson-area nightspots. Populated by cuddly monsters, animals, reptiles and robots, much of his illustration work conjures up memories of children's picture books, but skewed slightly.
Schultz says that he often tries to lure viewers in with superficially charming images. "Then, when you get up close and actually look it at, it might be heartbreaking or daunting," he says. "I like the contrast of familiar, happy imagery in a sad situation."
A year ago, Schultz struck off on his own, starting his own independent studio, The Flying Chair. View his work at the-flying-chair.com
The "Night Drop" release party is from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. today at Sneaky Beans and features musical performances by Ice for Eagles, Taylor Hildebrand and the Delicate Cycle. Admission is $5.