When did art become a pursuit for you?
At a very young age I was absolutely infatuated with comic books, and dreamed of one day being an artist within that medium. As I developed a passion for performing music as a teen, my creative path shifted towards graphic design and that’s what I’ve primarily made a career out of. These days I’ve come rather full circle by incorporating my love of illustration into both my personal and professional design work.
Are you self-taught or formally educated in visual art?
My mother taught me a great deal about drawing as I first developed my skills, whether it was illustrating coloring pages for the local hockey team or delighting me with renditions of my favorite video game characters. Near the end of my high school career I was fortunate enough to enroll in a commercial art program that exposed me to a wide array of mediums I could actually leverage as a career, and I soon after completed a Bachelor of Science program for graphic design at the New England Institute of Art.
How did you first become involved with ArtsWorcester?
I believe my first exposure to the organization was when I saw a call for submissions for a show at the Davis Gallery. Becoming both a gallery artist and more active in the local art community were things I was really itching to try, so I figured I would give an ArtsWorcester membership a shot. I was a little hesitant that a heavily tattooed nerd with a penchant for drawing ridiculous things wouldn’t quite fit in a fine art circle, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Since day one I’ve felt welcomed with open arms and absolutely adore being a part of an organization that cares so deeply about this area and the artists creating phenomenal work with its confines.
What medium do you currently work in, and how did you choose this medium?
I tend to merge physical and digital with essentially all of my work. Pen and ink is my go-to for most illustration (again stemming from my love of comics), as I’ve always been a very tactile guy and just need that initial physical attachment to my work rather than devoting the full lifecycle of a piece to my computer. It’s not until I move to color and text that I gravitate towards digital. I have a really strong comfort level working digitally and feel oddly free to do some of my wildest experimentation with moderately low stakes. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I still make time for the valuable creative warmup of pencil sketching though, and have a weekly illustration blog called Monday Mosh Monsters strictly dedicated to that medium.
What is your creative process?
I have two pretty distinct processes, depending on if I’m working on a formal project or just one of my weekly Monsters. I start bigger works by researching inspiration and mood through a little online digging and a lot of flipping through my personal library. After that sparks some ideas, I’ll crack open a sketchbook and draw loose concepts until I’ve locked down something I feel confident moving forward with in a more cohesive direction. My Monsters, however, are almost always stream of consciousness. I use them as a creative exercise to kick off my week, so that usually consists of me sitting down with a pencil first thing on Monday morning and seeing what happens.
How do you choose your subject matter? Are there themes that recur throughout your work?
The bulk of my output is still client-based, so my subjects typically depend on the brief and the creative problem I’m tasked to solve. For my personal work, though, I really draw inspiration from everything around me and try not to ever stick to one particular subject. Whether it’s entertainment I’ve consumed, something that’s influenced me situationally, or just my emotional state at the time, I never feel at a loss for ideas to draw on. Looking at my work objectively however, I’d say it does typically range from pretty dark to pretty whimsical (and frequently a healthy combination of the two).
What living artists are you inspired by?
Gosh, too many to list. Comics are still a huge part of my life, and we’re in an incredible time where there are a plethora of artists really pushing the limits of the medium: Jock, Sean Gordon Murphy, Fiona Staples, Rafael Albuquerque, and Lee Bermejo, to name a few. I also get a lot from following design studios like DKNG and Forefathers Group, and will always have a profound love for lowbrow art by guys like Alex Pardee. That all being said, there is still no better living artist than Drew Struzan.
Do you own any art by other artists?
Screenprints are one of my favorite things to collect, and I’m proud to have a load of work from artists all over the world including Dan Mumford, Ken Taylor, Justin Erickson, Jeff Sheldon, Olly Moss, Billy Baumann, Godmachine, and many more.
What other media or directions would you like to explore?
There’s still so much that I want to accomplish and try, it’s just a matter of actually dedicating the time to do so. I’d really love to finally explore some work in comics, and have chatted with a couple writers already to get moving on some projects. I’ve been outsourcing all of my screenprinting needs, but would love to do that myself at my home studio to both improve my profit margins and add that extra personal touch to the prints I sell. My biggest pipe dream though is to get into the world of designer toy-making. Working in sculpture like that is completely foreign to me, but it’s a creative realm that I absolutely love and really want to challenge myself with someday.