Artist Deep Dive
process, motivation and meaning
1. What medium/media do you work in? Why?
I work primarily in Photoshop because it allows me to experiment without using up too many resources. I love testing different color schemes, rearranging compositions, and being able to scrap ideas without the guilt of seeing how much paint or paper I’ve wasted.
2. What's your process?
I use 2-3 brushes on Photoshop and paint each shape separately on a new layer replicating the techniques used for collaging. I took a Color Theory course in college and fell in love with the collage technique- it definitely feels the most intuitive process for me. But instead of cutting out other people’s drawings or photos I draw everything from scratch using traditional illustration techniques. So combining my own illustrations with the collage/paper cut out concept gives the piece a clean cut look.
3. What are you inspired by?
Art wise I am most inspired by a lot of traditional and contemporary artists- subject wise I am most inspired by Japanese and western cartoons and comics
4. What's the reason behind your recurring themes?
I love drawing things from my childhood- especially shows and comics that influenced me growing up. Revisiting each one is an interesting experience; you get to analyze and break down how the show affected you, what lessons you took from it as a child and deconstruct what kind of impact it had on you. Sometimes the lessons are good, sometimes you see where certain bad habits stemmed from. It’s definitely a healing process for me mentally- reaffirming the good and cleansing out the bad.
5. What's your background?
I am mainly self taught with some formal training in traditional mediums. Drawing has been a passion of mine since I was around 3-4 years old so it is something I feel very comfortable doing; many things have changed in my life but drawing and art have remained a constant.
6. What role do you have in society?
At the moment I think I just make cute pictures and I’m okay with that haha. I have always dreamed of creating something meaningful and memorable but lately I’ve learned to just take things in steps. At the moment I create cute/detailed compositions of some of my favorite characters and I will do this the best I possibly can. I think everyone is handed a natural role in life and the only thing that changes is the degree to which you’re allowed to do it. I just try to do my best and affect people positively.
7. What's your strongest memory of your childhood?
Dragonball haha. I had a very secluded childhood with little stability and I think I just clung on to the first thing I found. I was pretty embarrassed that my childhood hero wasnt the same as my classmates though since I was exposed to it in 1991 and it didnt really hit the states until much later. For a long time that show felt like a really personal thing since the internet wasn’t huge, no one around me knew what it was, and you couldn’t find it at any store in my town; the combination of it being the first thing that truly influenced me and that it was something only I knew about made the whole experience very special to me as a child.
8. Describe a real life situation that inspired you.
My family owned their own business for most of my childhood. I hated working there haha. It was like a chore. I was told that it was supposed to teach me good skills and habits for my future but I always felt like they were just taking advantage of cheap labor (it was probably a combination of both.) I worked there during summers, holidays, after school, and times that just felt extremely inconvenient. I rejected the idea of working in that industry; I couldn’t see how it related to my life at all.
Fast forward 15+ years and I end back up at a job very similar to the one my family ran. I hated it. I saw it as a means to an end. But for once I decided to take this job seriously. As serious as I took my art and my career- and the experience was so different. Though I still wasn’t interested in the field I unlocked a limitless supply of life lessons. Through genuinely trying I was able to see certain problems that I would have otherwise missed and after being able to recognize the problem I was able to move forward with a solution. A lot of these lessons were directly responsible for any success I’ve had in my current endeavors. That experience made me realize that it doesn’t matter where you are: the building blocks that are needed for you to take the next step in life are right next to you, you just have to unlock it.
9. What is an artistic outlook on life?
I think an artistic outlook on life is to be able to create something with the little resources you have. Art is definitely an outlet for people who feel they have nothing; whether it’s material, physical, or emotional. Art is making the best out of a bad situation essentially. Some of my favorite sculptures are made of cardboard and wood- some of my favorite films are very low budget- some of my favorite songs were produced in a bedroom. Art is being able to see the beauty in the glass half full or empty. Another trait I really appreciate in art though is honesty.
10. What's the best piece of advice you've been given?
Best piece of advice that I’ve received was that you should start small and start now. I was always a planner and would be more prone to map out details than to actually follow through with them. I was always thinking about grand ideas and then figuring out how to climb all the way up but by the time I finished planning I was exhausted. Even if I did start things rarely go according to plan and the whole plan needs to be redrafted anyways. I’ve learned to do what you can now and do it the best you can. That has honestly been my mantra for the last 3-4 years and has transformed my life dramatically. I’m not so worried about what I don’t have or what I haven’t achieved but rather focus all my energy on appreciating what I have and using my skills to the best of my abilities and that has gotten me further in life than the daydreams I used to have.
11. What subjects provide underlying themes?
Though I love all the characters I choose to work on the subject to me is only secondary to the concept which is to summarize a life into one painting. Each painting is an exploration of a technique to explain a story/life of a character. Choosing proper settings, character placement + expression, color scheme, shapes, and visual metaphors are things I most enjoy about the process.
12. What wouldn't you do without?
To be in the most productive mindset I just need my books, pen, and paper (and an occasional walk to people/nature watch.) Books are my favorite way of receiving inspiration and my favorite places to hang out have always been libraries and bookstores. I spent 70% of my time in college inside the art section of the school library just working on my own things. Books are like a personal mentorship with a ghost haha. You can look into the minds of people from different time periods, countries, social classes, and perspectives; it is truly one of my favorite experiences in life.