"The most challenging thing to me is the unknown"

Interview by Henry Gomez

Q1. You are an artist that works in various different areas. In your own words, how would you describe your art form and style?
I have a traditional illustration background, with a discipline of drawing from life and interpreting art realistically. As a kid I ardently loved comic books and cartoons. While in college and thereafter, I worked in the commercial industry in which I had to adapt to various styles of illustration and animation. Each job had its own uniqueness and it was my job to visually interpret that inimitability.
I also interned in the animation department at Walt Disney Studios in Orlando, Fl. The internship enlightened me to a whole new level of creativity and artistic expression. All the experiences and training molded me into the artist that I am today. I’m like a sponge. I’m always absorbing new styles and ideas.
Q2. What inspired your passion for the arts and who has been supporting you from the beginning?
My parents saw the penchant I had for the arts as a young child. They supported and encouraged me from the beginning by buying me art supplies and an easel. When it came to art, they spared no expense. Both of them were artistically inclined. So the gift was passed to me through the genes.
Throughout my career I’ve met many people who’ve supported and pushed me to become better. I’m part of a nucleus of peers who are accountable to one another and encourage each other to follow their dreams.
Q3. What would you say is the best support out there for artists like yourself who are succeeding as well as artists looking to succeed?
The best support is number one believing in yourself and your abilities. If you have an artistic gift, you have it for a reason. The key thing is to find out what the reason is. Ways of doing it is to discover your passion. What are the things that get your juices flowing. What’s that desire that’s continuously on your mind and keeps you up at night. What is the thing that you would do even if no one would pay you for it.
The second thing is to be true to yourself. Know your boundaries and where you need growth. Always be open to constructive criticism. Use online art forums and social media website to show your art and get feedback.
Q4. Have you always aspired to be an artist, or did you ever dream of following a different path?
My dreams were always art centered. When I was a young child I wanted to draw comics. When I saw “Star Wars” I wanted to do special effects and fantasy art. When I saw John Carpenter’s “The Thing” I wanted to be a creature make up artist, and so on. The positions changed but it was always under the aspect of art.
"Attack Of The Eddies"
Q5. What process do you use to create your work?
From a mental standpoint I try to use the visualization process. I see the completed work in my mind and strive to capture the mental image. From an aesthetic view, the process is creating thumbnails sketches, color roughs, a tight drawing then final color comp.
Q6. Is there anything you are currently working on that you would like to tell us about?
I’m currently working on an animated web series for Mattel, some Garbage Pail Kids illustrations for Topps. and my own animated series.
Q7. What other artists have influenced your style of work?
Various artists have influenced me. From a fine arts perspective I love the classical artists Michelangelo, Raphael and Da Vinci. Illustrators are Frank Frazetta, Boris Vallejo, John Buscema, Jack Kirby, Jack Davis, Mort Drucker, Drew Struzan, John Pound and many more.
I have an eclectic taste in animation from cartoony to anime. I was highly influenced by the animated superhero series coming from Warner Bros. Animation that I eventually ending up working at the studio as a storyboard artist.
Q8. Who have you always dreamt of working with/for and why? How would you go about accomplishing this?
Pretty much I’ll work with people of like mind and vision. Who want to tell stories, make a difference, and share their artistic gift with the world. Of course there are the super-giants like Spielberg and Oprah who I’d love to work with but I’m still trying to figure out how to bring that into fruition.
"Bill Cosby"
Q9. What are the hardships that come with being a full-time artist?
Some hardships are sitting many hours at a desk, unpredictable time schedules and dealing with unscrupulous clients.
Q10. What is the greatest thing about working in the your industry?
Some great things about the industry are meeting and working with wonderful people, being able to do what I love, working in a creative milieu, honing my skills, learning and growing artistically.

Q11. For those looking to work with big companies such as Mattel and Topps can you talk us through the type of process involved in getting work with them.
For example, when you worked with Topps (illustrating the fantastic Garbage Pail Kids stickers), how did you arrange the meeting, how did you present your work etc?

The great thing about the internet is that you have access to many companies. Find a company that you’d like to work with and send them an inquiry email with art samples or links to a website. Make sure that your art is on point, professional and stands on its own. You shouldn’t have to explain what you can do. Your skills need to be manifested within your art samples.

Q12. If you could have asked anyone for advice when starting out;
Who would you have liked to ask?
What would you have liked to ask?
What would be your answer if asked the same question?
Attending an art college answered a lot of questions about preparing a portfolio and applying for a job. The other questions I had were all price related: What’s the going rate at the studios? How much do I charge for my art? These questions are a lot easier to answer now due to the internet. You can do a web search on salary wages for a particular field to find out the going rates.
Q13. From your experience in the arts, what advice could you offer people looking to succeed in a similar field as yourself?
Make sure that this is the career that you want. Do your research. If this is your passion make sure that your skills are up to par. Practice, practice and practice some more. You learn to draw by DRAWING! There’s no other way around it.
Q14. What courses/classes would you recommend someone take if they want to be a professional in the same industry as yourself?
I would strongly recommend taking classes in figure drawing, human anatomy, animal anatomy, cafe drawing, perspective, character animation and storyboarding.
Q15. How many years have you been working on your skill?
I’ve been working on my skill for many years. Since I was four years old and I’m still working.
"Garbage Pail Kids"
Q16. It is a sad and common affair that many talented artists have to face, when an artist spends his or her youth studying and loving art at school and college but end up working in jobs (not careers) that they hold no passion for.
Have you ever come close to throwing in the towel and if so, what was it that kept you motivated and remain inspired and optimistic?
I’ve always in some form worked in the art industry but there have been times where I wanted to give up on a project. Some of the things that kept me motivated were having a support group of people who encouraged me to push through and to have faith in my ability.
Sometimes I would look though art books, watch a good movie or listen to music to acquire the impetus to move forward.
Q17. From your experience, what have you found to be most challenging? And how have you dealt with it?
The most challenging thing to me is the unknown, especially with new technology and computer programs. I just take it one step at a time and learn as much as I can.
"Hollywood Zombies"
Q18. What are you doing to get yourself noticed and make yourself stand out from the many other artists around the world?
Promoting your art is one of the key elements of career longevity and auspiciousness. Getting yourself notice is a lot easier now than it was in the pre-internet days. Back then, I spent copious amounts of money printing up art samples, post cards, hiring art reps and so on to promote my art.
Now, the technological advances of the internet allow me to promo and expose my artwork to the world in the matter of minutes. It saves me time and money. These are the things I do to get myself noticed:
1. I have a website that showcases my artwork and I keep it current by constantly updating it with new samples. The website is more a professional milieu for clients.
2. I have many blogs that pretty much showcase the same things as my website but the blog is more social. There’s discourse and feedback. You meet fascinating people from all over the world and IT”S FREE!!!
3. I have other social media accounts such as Facebook and Youtube, which I use as self-promotion.
4. I’m constantly posting and communicating on art forums and blogs.
Q19. What’s the dream?
The dream is to work on my on intellectual properties and multimedia full time.
Q20. Share with us your proudest moment in your career so far?
The work I did on a direct to DVD series for LeapFrog Enterprises titled “Sing-Along-Read-Along,” has been one of my most enjoyable professional experiences. I was a storyboard artist and flash character animator for the series, which is sort of like “Schoolhouse Rock” in that it uses animation to teach kids. This was a wonderful project to work on because it helps motivate children to read on their own. I’m a big kid at heart and I take delight when I can work on projects that teach, motivate or inspire children.
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1 comment:

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