1. Can you recall the first time you realized you were going to be an Illustrator? What were your earliest impressions?
I never realized illustration could be an actual career until after I graduated college. My plan before that was to get rich and then retire early so I could make art. Eventually I discovered that one could actually make a career from drawing pictures and I decided I wanted to do that instead.
2. Who or what influenced your art when you were young?
Animals, stacks of art books, Disney animation, and fantasy and sci fi films. My grandfather was my first patron and supported my growing career through the purchase of how to draw Disney character books. He’s still my biggest supporter.
3. Do you remember what your first artwork looked like? Do you still have it?
Yes. I grew up on a farm with horses so my first works were almost exclusively of horses. My mom has one of my first drawings framed. It shows a mother horse and a baby horse in a field. The perspective and anatomy needed practice but the passion was there.
4. Why did you choose illustration as your life’s work instead of, for example, filmmaking, law, or even medicine?
Before I chose illustration I actually worked in international business. Shortly after entering the field, I realized that if I didn’t leave to do exactly what I wanted to do, I would wake up miserable in ten years’ time. I quit my job immediately to become a “creative”. I worked as an art director for a while before becoming an illustrator full time.
6. Where does your inspiration come from; your impulse to make art? Do you have a source for your ideas?
Everywhere really – Movies, books, stories, real life, and other artists. I think most of my ideas come in the form of daydreaming to some degree, inventing places and scenes in my imagination.
7. How would you describe the process of creating art?
A hurricane of cryptic marks that somehow end up as an image.
9. If you could do something else, other than creating art, what would it be?
Primatologist. When I was a kid my dream career was either primatologist or illustrator. If I chose another path I would be studying orangutans.
10. Do you remember your first set of paints, pens, or markers?
I had one of those big artist starter sets for kids when I was very young. Me and my cousin would play “office” by drawing the animals from our Zoobooks onto printer paper. We would sit in the same room and make our older cousins “deliver” the drawings between each other and nod and approve.
12. If you could give a viewer clues to understanding your art, what would you say?
For me the joy in making images comes from a desire to build and imagine. Most of my work could be described as snapshots into imaginary universes that comes to life as I’m building it.
14. Why does art matter to you? Why might it matter to the world?
For me art is a way to add to the long lineage of our collective thought as a species. Whether through images, movement, sounds, or any other medium the act of artistic creation is necessary to help us understand the truths of the world and ourselves in ways where language alone is insufficient.
15. If you could look back or forward 100 years, do you think the life of an artist was or will be better than today?
If I’m remaining optimistic, 100 years into the future I’d like to imagine that humanity has moved beyond the need for human powered labor and as a result has decided to provide for every individual who can then devote themselves to pursuits of the mind, heart, or soul. The artistic voice will have become much more valuable as it remains one of the few things that a machine cannot truly replicate. In this vision of the future, the boundaries of gender, race, and class evaporate and art can serve as a truer representation and outlet for society.