Can you recall the first time you realized you were going to be an Illustrator? What were your erarles impresionas?
I first realized I wanted to pursue illustration during my time in art school, while studying graphic design and photography. For many of my design projects, I would look for ways to add illustrations to compliment the design work. It did not take long for me to move from looking for illustrations to creating my own. I was incredibly drawn to the unique ability that illustration has to tell a complicated story in a single image.
Who or what influenced your art when you were young?
Very early on, both my immediate and extended family was a big influence on me. They were very encouraging of the art that I created, and I would always have my sketchbook with me at family parties to share all my recent work.
Do you remember what your first artwork looked like? Do you still have it?
Some of the earliest artwork I recall making was redrawing album covers for bands I really liked. Some albums were hard to find, so within my group of friends, we would make copies to share, and I would recreate the album artwork by hand and make the cassette or cd insert. I still have a few of them stored away too!
Why did you choose illustration as your life’s work instead of, for example, filmmaking, law, or even medicine?
I have always been drawn to the creative field, photography, graphic design, illustration. I knew from early on, before high school, that I would head in that direction.
Did you study art in school?
Yes, I went to Tyler School of Art, and studied both Graphic Design and Photography. While I was there, I developed my initial interest in illustration, and it continued to grow after graduation.
Where does your inspiration come from; your impulse to make art? Do you have a source for your ideas?
My inspiration comes from so many different sources. Living life every day, reading news articles, from my family and kids, from seeing the inspiring work of other illustrators, designers, artists.
How would you describe the process of creating art?
For me it is about finding the concept first. This can sometimes be immediate when reading a story or reacting to the assignment. But more often it can be a process that takes time to formulate, and then all of the sudden the pieces snap together. Most of the time, I start with writing notes down first, before I start any actual sketches. The combination of the different keywords associated with a project are where most of the ideas that I create come from. I use those lists of words and thoughts to make connections to everyday images and visuals to try and turn them into something new that tells a story.
Do you have a favourite artist? What is it about that artist’s work you like?
No clear favorite artist, but I am drawn mostly to work that is unexpected, conceptual, and humorous. A lot of editorial illustration falls into this category.
If you could do something else, other than creating art, what would it be?
Such a tough question, but at times I have wondered what it would be like to produce a movie or tv show, to act, write novels, or create a video game. So it would probably be one or a mix of all those!
Do you remember your first set of paints, pens, or markers?
I do not, most likely a box of crayons if we are going back that far.
Do you have a favourite artist supply, a favourite method, or favourite location, where you like to create artwork?
I do not, I am generally in my work space at home when I sketch or create my work, but I could be anywhere. The main thing I look for when working is a place that is quiet and distraction free.
If you could give a viewer clues to understanding your art, what would you say?
I would say that often my work will have a secondary message or meaning to it, so to look at the big picture and details again.
Do you think illustration has the eye of the public or could public awareness of this field be improved upon?
My impression is that illustration is definitely recognized more now for the unique position it holds in the creative world, however the public awareness could certainly be improved upon. This is simply an assessment made by the many conversations that I have had where a follow-up explanation is needed after I mention I am an illustrator.
Why does art matter to you? Why might it matter to the world?
Art helps make sense of the world, it is better because art is around. It can be beautiful, funny, thoughtful and inspiring, among countless other things. Art matters to the world because it can transcend language and other barriers.
If you could look back or forward 100 years, do you think the life of an artist was or will be better than today?
I think that the life of an artist today has the potential to be better than it was 100 years ago, simply because of the ability to share it with so many people around the world in the way we can now digitally. Artwork and ideas inspire people, they shape or change views, and for an artist this can be an incredible position to be in.