Q: Do you begin with a theme in mind, or does it emerge while you are working? What inspires your work, the current political conditions, the environment, the books you read, your dreams, or a conversation with a friend… In other words… does your inspiration come more from internal or external sources?
A: For most of my work, I like to begin with a general theme in mind. Sometimes this idea can take days or weeks to come to full fruition. Brainstorming is a big part of my process and I like to have my ideas solidified before sitting down to draw out the initial sketch. This isn’t always the case though and at times I will just sit down to draw and see what flows naturally. Other times I will slowly add to the idea as I go along. Taking a step back from the initial sketch can offer me a new perspective. From there I may decide to add or change something and let the image emerge on its own. As for inspiration, this takes many forms. Recently most of my inspiration has come from a road trip I took over the course of three months late last year. This trip has inspired me like no other thing in my life ever has. By seeing new and amazing things, I fell in love with a fresh perspective I never had before and because of this, I was able to channel something I never knew was possible through my work. In all, I enjoy taking inspiration from my life experiences, whether these are traumatic or eye-opening in nature. Every piece tells a different story as to where I was mentally and emotionally when I composed it.
Q: Is there any Artist, living or dead who has inspired you to be more passionate as an artist?
A: When I first began my journey into watercolors, I would delve deep into the online art community in search of inspiration. One of the artists I found at the time that still inspires me to this day is “Agnes-Cecile” (real name Silvia Pelissero), who’s delicate, often ethereal watercolor work, took hold of me and never let go. She is the biggest reason I started working with watercolors because her work struck a chord with me in both an emotional sense and visual sense.
Q: Do you need to have the right environment or setting to create a powerful image? If so, what preparations do you make to prepare the surroundings you work in?
A: I’m quite finicky when it comes to where and when I will paint. I like to have a calm place where I can become completely absorbed in my process and where outside stimuli is completely shut out and the world just melts away. Mentally, I need to be prepared to lose myself in the painting, which at times can be difficult if there is too much going on in the surrounding environment. To combat this, I always wear a set of noise cancelling headphones where I can play my favorite music, have good lighting to help increase my ability to accurately represent colors in my work, keep the windows open for fresh air, turn off any surrounding electronic devices, and keep my work space glowing with different house plants and aesthetically pleasing décor. I also require my desk to be tilted at a particular angle to achieve the most comfortable position when working.
Q: Due to the pandemic, and recent political upheaval (in some countries) there seems to be a need for a new perspective. A New Beginning, Rebirth, A Clean Slate, The Advent of Something Better…. Do you feel it is the artists duty to inspire change? If so in what way do you hope to make a difference in your community or the world at large?
A: I feel that we, as the collective human race, have been given the incredible ability to express the inner workings of our mind through various creative avenues, but whether or not it is an artist’s duty to inspire change, I am unsure of. I believe we all should aspire to inspire the change we wish to see in our communities and the world around us. We can all do this in various ways, whether that is through activism, art, music, writing, theatre, ect; If our message is strong enough and enough people back our cause, we can bring together entire nations to fulfill this change. I hope that through my art I can inspire other people to pursue their passions and that those passions may turn into something that will change the way we see and interact with the world.
Q: As an artist, what do you feel indicates success? Is it financial, or a good review, the inclusion in exhibitions, a solo show, publication? Does the bar continue to rise? Or do you feel that success is more internal, a confidence in your craft, a degree of self-satisfaction?
A: As an artist my degree of self-satisfaction is always changing. There is always something to improve on, or something new to try that hasn’t been attempted before. Because of this, that bar is always moving forever higher. As soon as I think I’ve reached my peak, there is another mountain to climb. In one way or another, all of these things can indicate success; each person is different and may define their own set of internal guidelines as being successful. For me, improvement is a life-long thing that will be never be satisfied. I can always do more, always reach for something bigger than myself and find success in doing so when I step away from something I’ve been working on to see I’ve improved. I believe all of these things play a role in how successful one may feel, but overall I think it’s important to find satisfaction in your own work and where you are at currently and where that might take you in the future.
Q: Do you have formal training?
A: I do not have any formal training. I am self-taught.
Q: Being self-taught, do you feel that the lack of formal training has hindered you in any way? Did you find any road blocks due to a lack of a degree? Do you feel there were advantages by not having a formal teacher, such as a unique perspective without other influences?
A: In some forms yes but in other ways no. Not having any formal training has left me to my own devices. I’ve always been a person who enjoyed working alone and doing things in a way that I find best fitting for myself. There’s always a little bit of curiosity about what I could have learned if I had attended art school, but at the same time, this time alone with my craft has given me the ability to focus solely on what I want to create and not worry about anything extraneous. I try to challenge myself, especially recently, to explore different avenues of expressing myself in the watercolor medium. I’ve done a great bit of work in the past few years to improve my anatomy, such as working on drawing/painting hands, which were never a strong point of mine. If I had attended art school, I may have learned about other techniques I still know nothing about, but at the same time, I’m perfectly happy with my choice in choosing my own route. In this way, I never felt pressured to meet deadlines, or felt worthless up against my peers.
Q: If you had the power to change the world, to create a new beginning, what would it be, what would you change?
A: I’m a huge advocate for climate reform and the way in which we as a species take advantage of this precious planet and its many resources. If I could chance anything, I would change the way in which we view our home; as a place to keep healthy, clean, and sustainable. I find the usage of single use plastics to be a despicable waste of resources that dirty our lakes/oceans/streams and forests, the clearing of pristine forests/land for new development/agriculture to be saddening and unfair to the creatures that already live there, the oil and gas industry money hungry and a major contributor to climate change, ect. I’m a bit horrified at what kind of planet we are leaving our children and all other animals. I wish to create a place where governments and big companies were responsible for the mess they make; a place where everyone is aware of these issues and goes out of their way to make a difference.
Q: What advice do you have for young artists just starting out?
A: Practice, practice, practice! In order to make it as an artist, don’t expect success to come overnight. You must first refine your techniques and be inspired by your craft. Draw every day, live your art, make creativity a priority in your life. Once you have the basics down and feel ready to start selling, try different avenues and find what works best for you. Focus on the details and don’t get wrapped up in just trying to promote yourself. Create new and innovative work that captures the imagination of those around you. Create things that make people feel something, even if that feeling is a less than desired one. If you stand out amongst the crowd, people will start to notice. But in order to do this, it all starts with passion! Don’t lose yourself to the idea of marketing.
Q: If you could have a conversation with anyone from our past, any era, who would it be and why?
A: I’m a huge fan of “The Grateful Dead,” and have always had an affinity towards Jerry Garcia. If I could to speak to anyone, I would love to have a conversation with him. He was a true artist, in both the musical and painterly fashion. I feel as if he could bestow some true wisdom onto me.
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