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Tim Frazier Submitted January 5th 2014

“Fashion photography, when done properly, has a way of flaunting certain attributes of the human body, while, at the same time concealing the majority of the body. Fashion photography has a tendency to compose models attractively and almost always leaves the viewer with a powerful and mysterious attraction to the way the person photographed looks. I can only hope that I have accomplished this within my fashion-influenced photography.” -Tim Frazier Name Tim Frazier Age 20 What is your current location? Aurora, New York Where are you from? I am from a lot of places. I was born in Florida, but I roam around a lot. What is your current occupation? I like to consider myself a Freelance Photographer. But, I’m still in the process of finishing up my degree. So, I’m technically what Fox News likes to call a “freeloading good-for-nothing college student”. I work as an assistant photographer for Wells College and I recently became the look book and media photographer for North Carolina based clothing brand, The Benjamin Bear. I also regularly take on other various commissioned work. Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? In High School I took an intro to Darkroom Photography class and then an independent study in the same class, right after. I’m currently in the process of getting my degree in Visual Arts. So, yes on one hand I have had quite a bit of formal education. Most of this was focused on learning and understanding basic functions of a camera-aperture, shutter speed, ISO settings, and how to properly capture and manipulate light in a Darkroom. On the other hand, I consider myself self-taught,

in the sense that I had to actually go out and teach myself how to compose a photograph and best capture light. I suppose the simplest way of putting it is that I have a formal education in film photography and am very self-taught when it comes to actually going out and making photographs with a camera. What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most? As far as people go, I have a whole list of photographers/artists I draw inspiration/influence from. I really enjoy the works of Ansell Adams, Jack Brauer, Samuel Bradley, and Dakota Gordon. Andreas Golder, Salvador Dali, and any other abstract painter/ artist will always have a special place in my heart. There’s a boatload of other people that should be on these lists, but I can’t remember their names. I spend a lot of time searching around the web, scrolling through various channels of other people’s photographic genius. I wouldn’t be doing this question any justice if I didn’t include the members of Radiohead and Alan Watts. Books: The Book On Knowing the Taboo Against Who You Are, by Alan Watts. What’s It All About? Philosophy and the Meaning of Life, by Julian Baggini and anything and everything written that is pertaining to eastern philosophies and religions are always excellent reads. The first films that come to mind: Donnie Darko, Pi, Requiem for a Dream, Trainspotting, and Lock, Stock, & Two Smoking Barrels. I appreciate anything weird that will make me think abstractly about a given topic. All in all, I would have to say that my own subjective experience of life is what inspires me the most. What materials do you like to work with? Cameras. I especially enjoy film cameras. Any camera I can get my hand on, I will always end up growing some sort of attachment to. For the last year, I’ve been very anti artificial lighting and would only shoot using all natural lighting. I’ve been experimenting with different strobe and other studio lights more recently. Lighting is always fun to work with, artificial or not. Oh, can’t forget about disposable film cameras and pointand-shoot film cameras. I would also enjoy getting back into painting, again.



What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? I’ve been doing a whole lot with fashion photography lately, photographing for various clothing brands. I’ve signed-off on a few more of these, for the near future. I’ve been itching to work more with photojournalism. Side note: I really dislike how large corporations, such as Wal-Mart, will shoot hyper-happy looking promotional photography/videography collections. Every single time I have ever been inside of a Wal-Mart, nearly every single worker there looks absolutely miserable (not to mention that the type of people who actually shop at Wal-Mart are never truly displayed in their promotional, corporate work). Frankly, I think that’s bullshit and I’m going to shoot a series displaying a more realistic look at the people you run into Wal-Mart. I’m also trying to do more work with music/live performance photography. What music do you listen to while working? I don’t listen to music during photo shoots or when I’m out photographing things. During any digital editing or darkroom development, I’ll listen to music. This mostly consists of all things Radiohead, Atoms for Peace, Thom York’s The Eraser, Moby, Nirvana, The Knife, Jimi Hendrix, Rage Against the Machine, Rush, and I occasionally enjoy really drugged-out, hippy rap music. What I listen to simply depends on my current mood. Previous Work

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Where do you like to work? I mostly do on-spot location shoots. I prefer being out in nature. I am working on putting together my own studio and eventually hope to own my own darkroom. So, I’m sure I’ll like working in these hypothetical places. What is one of your earliest memories of making art? I’m sure I have plenty of earlier memories, consisting of myself making shitty, childhood drawings/macaroni-pasted paintings, but here’s one of my earliest/favorite photography memories: My dad got myself and little brother into hiking when I was around 11 years old. We lived in Tennessee. We went out to hike Fall Creek Falls State Park. My dad let me use his shitty little silver Nikon Coolpix to take pictures.


Jennifer Muir Submitted January 29th 2014

“It was made by painting the image with water and then dropping ink onto it. I then added the lines in pen” -Jennifer Muir Name Jennifer Muir Age 20 What is your current location? Scotland Where are you from? Scotland What is your current occupation? I’m a student. Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? I’ve done some short courses in illustration but I’m mainly self taught. What materials do you like to work with? Mainly inks and watercolours, and I’m starting to use pencils more. Where do you like to work? It changes every now and then. Currently it’s the floor next to my desk.



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Declan Lee Submitted January 24th 2014

“The Weimar republic experienced a “golden age” of culture in the 1920’s epitomised in Louise Brooks’ “Pandora’s Box”. In classical mythology. Pandora’s curiosity led her to open a jar that unleashed the evils of the world. The Weimar republic would, like Pandora, unwittingly become a precursor to Nazi Germany, unleashing the evils of humanity. The image imagines Pandora as the classic 1920’s ingenue, her porcelain beauty and haughty expression were inspired by the Greek maxim that “beauty is cruel”. She represents the seductive nature of knowledge symbolised in the third eye on her pendant - which weeps a tear of blood as all things have their consequence. Creating an image of subtle contrasts - both a seduction and a rejection, to represent that we are often drawn to that which will doom us.” -Declan Lee Name Declan Lee Age 40

What materials do you like to work with? I work in pastel on paper - somewhere between drawing and painting. What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on?

What is your current location?

I am currently working on a series of images of imaginary saints inspired by the mystical, esoteric and occult.

Adelaide, South Australia

What music do you listen to while working?

Where are you from?

I like to work listening to music, lectures and films that suit the mood of what I am working on…

I was born in Liverpool England to Irish parents. What is your current occupation?

Where do you like to work?

I am a professional artist and illustrator.

The studio is my workplace, refuge and prison - depending on the situation.

Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? I have studied both classically in the fine arts and have a degree in illustration. What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most?

What is one of your earliest memories of making art? Finger painting in Kindergarden, the tactile quality of the paint and the pleasure of undiluted colour have stayed with me since...

The film work of the Brothers Quay and German Expressionist cinema, the art of Ingres, Hans Memling and Takato Yamamoto, the writings of Bruno Schulz, Aldous Huxley and the poetry of the Chinese late T’ang.



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Marta Monteiro Submitted February 1st 2014

“The illustration is a personal recreation of the ear scene from “Blue Velvet”, a film by David Lynch. Instead of doing an image that is about an universal idea of alluring I did one about something that I’m attracted to: mysterious and neo-noir films. ” -Marta Monteiro Name Marta Monteiro

What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on?


I’m working on a new book inspired by short stories and poems of a portuguese writer.


What music do you listen to while working?

What is your current location? I live at Penafiel, a small town at the north of Portugal.

I’ve been listening to the Savages latest album over and over again. But when I need to focus and think I don’t like listen to music at all.

Where are you from?

Where do you like to work?

I was born in Portugal on the same town were I live.

At home in the attic there’s a small room that is just the perfect place to work.

What is your current occupation? At the moment I’m a freelance illustrator. Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? I have a degree in Sculpture but unfortunately never studied Illustration.

What is one of your earliest memories of making art? Like all children I used to draw a lot and my parents kept some of those early drawings. The oldest were done before I knew how to write but I only remember making art latter, when I was at the fifth grade.

What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most? Andrei Tarkovsky films and Coetzee books are some of my all time favorites. But inspiration can also come from everyday life and unexceptional things. What materials do you like to work with? I used to enjoy drawing with a pencil or using several media like felt markers, color pencils and china ink. Currently I’m addicted to digital drawing and painting.



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Clinton Van Inman Submitted January 18th 2014


What people, books, films, (etc‌) inspire you the most?

Clinton Van Inman

Edward Hopper and Andrew Wyeth and poet TS Eliot


What materials do you like to work with?


All mediums except Acrylics

What is your current location?

What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on?

Sun City Center, Fl Where are you from? Born in England, raised in NY, NC, and CA What is your current occupation? High School teacher Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? BA in Philosophy, self taught

A complete Hopper collection where I add a few figures into his works for fun. Also a complete collection of abandoned farms watercolors What music do you listen to while working? Cool jazz, Dave Brubeck Where do you like to work? My studio What is one of your earliest memories of making art? Drawing my first composition of the Parthenon in ink...



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Eugénie Archambault Submitted January 3rd 2014

“I wanted to do a retro-inspired shoot. I had that idea of a young and wild modern version of a”flower child”, but in a sadder way. It’s important for me to show a kind of connection between the human and the nature, with beautiful location like this one. I want to create a dreamlike world in each photograph, which evokes a great combination of vintage, modern, emotion, stories and dreams...” -Eugénie Archambault Name

What materials do you like to work with?

Eugénie Archambault

Natural elements. I’m a fan of natural light, and it’s very important for me to use this light in every photo I take. I also love to create things with my hands to include in a photograph, it become a fun part of the creating process. And I can’t go outside taking pictures without my 50mm lens!

Age 16 What is your current location? Crabtree, Qc, Canada. Where are you from? Crabtree, Qc, Canada. What is your current occupation?

What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? I have a lot of new ideas and concepts for upcoming shoot. I just have to do more organisation and planning before shooting. What music do you listen to while working?

Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught?

I often listen music when I edit my pictures, but not while taking them. My music style is really diversified. Usually, I listen to the music that inspired me to a photo shoot. Mostly calm and acoustic music, it can goes by Mumford & Sons and Laura Marling to Coldplay, Muse or even classical music.

I take photography lessons on internet, it helped me a lot!

Where do you like to work?

What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most?

Outside! Mostly in the forest, on a cloudy day.

I’m inspired by music, fashion, stories and by the past. I really love history. I love to learn about the past and I’d like to share the vision I have from those past times through the elements of a picture. But I think nature inspire me the most. I like to walk through beautiful landscapes and find great location for a photo shoot. Otherwise, I’m really inspired by photographer like Tim Walker, Marie Zucker, Sofie Olejnik...

What is one of your earliest memories of making art?

I’m finishing school.

I’ve always been interested by art, any kind of it. When I was younger, I loved to take my father’s camera to photograph everything. I had my first camera at the age of 11, and I never stop taking pictures.



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Hiromi Hatakeyama Submitted January 18th 2014

“Yukio Mishima is Japan’s most celebrated author who is known for his avant-garde, aesthetic works and his ritual suicide in 1970. In his well-known autobiographical novel Confessions of a Mask he described his first sexual behaviour was with Guido Reni’s painting Saint Sebastian. Later he published a photograph collection that was made up of pictures of himself by Japanese photographer Eikō Hosoe, including one showing him acting the scene, which I got an inspiration for my drawing Yukio Mishima as Saint Sebastian. I considered him as a person who was allured by the beauty that he first saw and pursued it for the life time, had plenty of talents and extraordinary sense of beauty that killed him. I drew the figure as a tribute to the Saint Sebastian in the 20th century, my desperate icon of art. ” -Hiromi Hatakeyama Name

What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most?

Hiromi Hatakeyama

Caravaggio, Derek Jarman and Yukio Mishima. The first one is needless to explain, as I saw one of his painting in a book for the first time while I was a junior high school student I was totally captured by its brutality, roughness and darkness. Eventually I wrote a graduate thesis about how representation of pain could be shared between subject and object, if and how it could be an alternative of actual austerities or entertainment; by starting with his painting Judith Beheading Holofernes. I realise that I am now obssessed by representing beauty and calmness in someone’s pain, so my start point is probably that old memory in a local library. The second, a British film director who is also known for his garden, inspires me with his 1986 film Caravaggio, which he succeeded in interpreting the Italian painter’s works with utmost respect towards him. I am fascinated by the beauty of literally “picturesque” scences and collaboration by artists in two different era and media. The last is a person I drew, a controversial figure for his suicide and political activities aside from his writings, but his status as an author is beyond dispute in and out of Japan; a movie Mishima: A Life In Four Chapters (directed by Paul Schrader, produced by Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas) won the award for Best Artistic Contribution at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival, and his works are translated into many languages.

Age 27 What is your current location? Melbourne, Australia Where are you from? TOKYO What is your current occupation? Skilled unemployed Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? For art making I am self taught but I have a Bachelor in Art History with first-class honours, which gives me nothing profitable so far. I sometimes feel that I am more like a critic than artist, but you could find some people do both as you look back through the history of the arts. As an artist from such background I may be good at teaching myself. I have some doubts about college education in the field of fine arts, I see many youngsters who do not know what to do in their lives go there to find something that they could pour their passion in and find nothing as a result. Art schools can kill arts.

What materials do you like to work with? Pencil and pen on paper. For pens I use nothing but Japanmade products, their ink is blacker than black; I tried some pens and ink made from somewhere else that I can purchase in Australia but I always got disastrous results. For this reason I ask my mother in Tokyo to send them to me via airmail, she believes that I am drawing lovely kittens with them.



What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? As I am selling my works online I am making products to enrich my shop, so far I love binding books with prints of my drawing on the covers by hand.

Where do you like to work? My dark room. What is one of your earliest memories of making art? Paper folding while I was a very young child and I am still working with paper; above all I am a Japanese.

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Laura Claire Vogelgesang Submitted January 9th 2014


What materials do you like to work with?

Laura Claire Vogelgesang

I use Nikon camera bodies and lenses for my photography and Photoshop Lightroom for image editing. I always use natural lighting in my photos, so I don’t have any lighting equipment. I also shoot with 35mm film and polaroid film often.

Age 19 What is your current location? Conway, Arkansas Where are you from? Little Rock, Arkansas What is your current occupation? Full-time student at Hendrix College & Photographer Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? I took a photography class in 9th grade, and I learned the basic mechanics of a camera (f-stop, exposure, shutter speed etc.) but I think, largely, I am self-taught. Many You-Tube tutorial videos have contributed to my understanding of my camera and endless practice and bullying my friends into allowing me to take photos of them have contributed to the development of my personal style. What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most? I am absolutely in love with Sally Mann. She seems to effortlessly combine the two things I love about photography- documenting those that you love the most, in this case her children, and also making real, beautiful art pieces. She is without a doubt my biggest inspiration and role model. Quentin Tarantino movies and Kurt Vonnegut novels also inspire me for many of the same reasons- they all tell real stories of humanity, beautifully.

What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? Mostly I am just working on getting my name out there in my area so that I can have more opportunities to work. What music do you listen to while working? I listen to the Generationals, Ray Lamontagne, The Flaming Lips, Bob Dylan, Here We Go Magic, the Avett Brothers and Neutral Milk Hotel. Where do you like to work? I mostly take my pictures outside. Natural, organic lines are very appealing to me along with natural light. I have a few favorite locations around central Arkansas and I’m always adventuring to find more. What is one of your earliest memories of making art? My grandmother got me my first camera when I was in 7th grade. It was a small black point-and-shoot and I was so excited about it that I took it around my neighborhood and photographed everything I could find. I remember being fixated on this baby sock I found on the side of the road. For some reason that sock was really significant to me. My mom thought I was showing early signs of serial killer tendencies, but those pictures were my first photographic artistic expression.



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Sophie Metcalfe Submitted December 12th 2014

“This illustration is inspired by spirituality in which inspire a lot of my work. It’s my representation of the future women. The women that goes beyond physical beauty into the beauty of the soul. I used images from fashion magazines to draw from. The fashion industry has a very narrow opinion of what beauty is. It’s based upon physical appearance alone. Beauty and allure however comes from the soul. It’s the energy, the thoughts we emit. Allure is something that is abstract, it isn’t something that is tangible. I wanted these illustrations to portray that energy of beauty and to show how perception is a major factor in recognizing what is attractive. I used watercolor, ink, lipstick and eye shadow to draw the illustration and incorporated a textile sample that I did inspired by futurism in which I hand painted and used free hand machine embroidery all over to create a visual representation of a stream of thought.” -Sophie Metcalfe Name Sophie Metcalfe Age 22 What is your current location? Durham, UK Where are you from? Durham, UK What is your current occupation?

helped me. What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most? The Electric Kool-Aid Acid test is one of my favorite books that I’ve just recently read. It has an amazing energy to the whole book, and shows us how powerful our minds are in creating our future. I admire people who search for a deeper meaning to life, people who aren’t materialistic or superficial. What materials do you like to work with? I love working in mixed media and I tend to combine different materials. I usually start with watercolor first though, I love the lack of control, the way the colors merge into each other. I don’t like to plan the outcome, I just like to let things happen and watercolors enable me to get that spontaneous effect.

I’m currently a student studying at a local art collage where I study Textile and Surface Design. However, I’m also setting up my own business selling my illustrations under the name of People Are Fish Too.

I’ve just recently discovered mono printing too and I have done a series of illustrations inspired by the stream of consciousness style of writing, where you don’t think you just do, expressing the ‘inner’ and subconscious. A little bit like Andre Masson’s automatic drawing.

Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught?

What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on?

I studied Art and Design at college when I left school and I found this was the only time I ever excelled in education and it was the first time I really found education to be interesting and I actually wanted to do well. The teachers were very laid back and emphasized the importance of independent thought and innovation. I don’t think you can teach creativity, but I found working in this environment amongst other artists to really of

I’m currently working on a series of vegan inspired illustrations. I believe art has a social function. It is there to question and to evoke change. I believe in revolution and this is one of my main priorities as an artist, to inspire positive change.



What music do you listen to while working?

What is one of your earliest memories of making art?

I go through phrases of just listening to one artist and playing them over and over. At the moment it is Van Morrison. He’s got soul. I also love Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Jeff Buckley, Vashti Bunyan, Bob Marley, Patti Smith..

It was one of my first days of primary school. We had to choose if we wanted to play in the water tub or paint. It was only me and another girl that chose painting.

Where do you like to work? Always on my own in solitude. I love being in nature, listening to the conversation of the trees. Previous Work

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Tais Sirole Submitted February 5th 2014

Name Tais Chantal Sirole

Mostly I get inspired by movies and photographers. Sorry, I’m really bad on names and I just remember the images and the time they we’re doing that.


What materials do you like to work with?


Well, My and also sometimes I print my photos and make “collages” with them.

What is your current location? Buenos Aires, Argentina Where are you from? I born in Argentina but I lived my whole life in Tenerife,Canary Islands What is your current occupation? Freelance/student Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? Mostly I’m working with photography and in that field only my brother teached me when I was 12 or so, to use the camera properly. But now I’m finishing my degree in graphic design so in that field I will have something... Also I studied Illustration that I didn’t really like it but I learnt a lot. What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most?

What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? I’m working more in personal projects right now, that I couldnt finish yet because I was working everyday,but they will see the light soon, well I hope. What music do you listen to while working? Nowadays I’m obsess with neil Young but usually kind of a mix of my favorite songs from Mad Season, Bob Dylan, Where do you like to work? Here in Germany I love to work in the university cause is always people working in the same field as you, but usually at home. What is one of your earliest memories of making art? When i was 10 and I painted

Well I can write you a big list but I don’t have any in particular.



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Naomi Nakazato Submitted December 15th 2013

“One of the constant elements in my work has been the subject’s almostaggressive gaze and direct acknowledgment of the viewer. I like to think this implies some sort of story to be told, and I find people’s experiences to be incredibly alluring in regard to one’s own experience and search for answers. A person with all of their nuances and stories is so captivating and this series addresses each subject with frankness. Specificity and representational work allow me to portray people as they are in real life and these details in the face and figure create a subject that I hope the viewer would want to interact with. -Naomi Nakazato Name Naomi Nakazato Age 21 What is your current location? In transit. Where are you from? Arlington, Virginia, USA What is your current occupation? Student/freelance Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? I’m currently finishing up a B.A. in Painting and Drawing at Anderson University in South Carolina. What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most? I always find myself gravitating towards artists with internal conflict, suffering, and juxtaposition. This interest leads me to a lot of autobiographies and other narratives told in first person, particularly graphic novels and film. Frida Kahlo’s selfportraits,Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Satrapi’s Persepolis, and all of Bukowski’s works, have all aided in the formulation of my own narrative in my own form of art.

What materials do you like to work with? Oils, graphite, gouache, anything that will promote the concept. As of late, it’s just been oils, but I’ve always been a bit in love with the hazards that come with it. There’s something ritualistic about the process and chemicals in tandem. What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? I’ve been working on a particular series that involves the manifestation of half-Japanese/half-European descent women and how they relate to Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres’ original sitters, in which I have replaced with my own subjects. Within the frame which represents the Third Space, I have chosen to include imagery that relates to the Japanese Super Flat movement with characters that epitomize the demons and homelessness that comes with not belonging to one culture. This duality of eastern and western/high and low forms of art has been fulfilling in my own search for identity, and with each painting, solidifying my status based on my art, not my ethnicity. Part of what’s made this series so fun is searching for subjects through friends of friends, through social network sites, in anything tagged ‘hafu’ or ‘hapa’. It’s been a bit of a pushing of my comfort zone to rely on strangers for material to paint from, but I’ve met some really amazing women and learned from their experiences. What music do you listen to while working? I’ll listen to new finds on repeat but stand-bys have always been Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Brahms, Mos Def, The Jesus and Mary Chain, DIIV, Patti Smith, The Flaming Lips, The Ramones, and The Beastie Boys.



Where do you like to work?

What is one of your earliest memories of making art?

A studio, shared with people I can trust for a good, constructive critique session.

I had a sketchbook my mom had gotten me from MoMA and I would go around exhibits (mostly stuff from The National Gallery of Art in D.C.) and try to recreate the works I saw. I remember being particularly captivated by Calder’s mobiles and Matisse’s gouache découpées around age five.

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Dany Reede Submitted January 27th 2014

“Bates Park references the intensity of my attraction for the city of Vancouver. The glow reflected by the moon through my bedroom window is the same that illuminates the waters under the Second Narrows Bridge. This understanding relates the space between the ghosts of my conscious, and my dormant physical being. From this direct relation, I am reminded of throats full of beer and smoke, examining a mess of lights from a tree house. Cuffs wet with dew from a cold spring night, by the softest glow of a cigarette, these recollections are reflected under my eyelids. ” -Dany Reede Name


buildings. I really like the group of artists in the book/documentary Beautiful Losers - more specifically Barry McGee, Margaret Kilgallen, Claire Rojas and Chris Johanson. While there are so many artists who inspire me on a daily basis, I feel like the artists I listed are direct culprits with inspiring the work I do.


What materials do you like to work with?

What is your current location?

I prefer to paint, but it has been hard to find the time lately. In order to ensure I keep creating, I have been drawing as a daily practice in hopes of finding some spare time soon. I am also always scouring my neighborhood’s dumpsters and back alleys for old and interesting looking surfaces that I can bring home to paint on.

Dany Reede

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada Where are you from? Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada What is your current occupation? Bike Courier and Instructor for Graffiti Art Programming

What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on?

For a couple years I attended classes in the Fine Arts program at University of Manitoba. I learned a lot during my time there, but I have taken a few years on to focus on myself as a person, and my own approach at art.

Currently I am working on a couple different projects. One is a public art piece that will be displayed during Juno week in Winnipeg through the Graffiti Gallery and Downtown Biz. There are several artists working in the space with me, and we are all painting pianos that will then be played and shown in different locations downtown. I’m also working on a collaboration with the dressmaker Melanie Wesley, and am preparing to start several canvases in my basement studio for shows this upcoming spring and summer.

What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most?

What music do you listen to while working?

When I was younger, a lot of local artists inspired me to think about art in a more serious way. The Royal Art Lodge and 26 were two artist collectives that had an “anything goes” type of attitude towards art that was particularly captivating to me as a teenager. 26 Collective used to paint these pre-fab works of art on random discarded surfaces in their studio, and then affix them publicly around the city to telephone poles, fences, and

I’m pretty stuck in my ways with what I listen to. Some staples include Jawbreaker, The Get Up Kids, Leatherface, Bruce Springsteen, and anything Mike Kinsella related. For the last week I’ve been really digging the collaborative album between Mark Kozelek and Jimmy Lavalle called Perils From The Sea. I could probably go on forever.

Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught?



Where do you like to work?

What is one of your earliest memories of making art?

My location is not very important to me and I try to work wherever I can. I really like to draw and paint on my front porch during the summer. I also really like to go to malls, or places with heavy foot traffic and work in my journal. For some reason it is really fulfilling to surround myself by a bunch of people I don’t know when I am really lonely so that I can take it all in.

I can remember making art a lot when I was a kid, but one specific thing I remember was when I discovered the way colors could go together. I was around 8 years old, and was specifically choosing colors because I thought they worked really well together. I remember not getting very far though because as soon as I put orange and sky blue together, I exclusively used that combination for a year straight.

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Zainab Hassan Submitted January 31st 2014

“Music has always been the most alluring thing to me. I feel like the connection between a person and music can be one of the strongest connections. Once you’ve had that first taste of it, that’s it, you’re hooked, there’s no going back. I’m obviously not the only one who’s felt that desire before - the anticipation of waiting for your favourite band to take to the stage. Even just seeing their instruments being set up sends something running through you. Watching these people perform is amazing, they put their heart and soul into what they do, they move and play effortlessly, and that draws you into their world. For a moment, there is nothing but you, the band, and the music, and just dreaming of being on that stage yourself. The instruments themselves are so fascinating… they’re just bits of wood and metal and plastic… how do they do that? How do they conjure up these amazing sounds? I took some of these photos in one of the local music stores. I went with a friend; I had gotten a new Jazzmaster that day and planned to buy a new set of guitar strings but ended up perusing the store and picking up every guitar I could get my hands on, remembering my favourite players that played similar instruments and attempting to play songs from their catalogues, listening to other shoppers playing instruments; erratic drummers, and being blown away by some singers, and striking up conversation with the store owners about bands too. And that’s what draws me in, the idea of being a part of something that brings people from all corners of the earth together, and breaks the constraints of time by continuously reaching people, day after day, after year, after decade.” -Zainab Hassan Name Zainab Hassan Age 20 What is your current location? London Where are you from? London What is your current occupation? Currently an English Literature student, aspiring musician... Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? I have absolutely no training whatsoever! I’m still making a lot of mistakes but I’m trying to teach myself things, or learn from friends or other people. What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most?

I guess my inspirations come from a lot of different places because I’m interested in a lot of different things. I love illustrations from people like Kirsten Rothbart and Jamie Hewlett. I’m really inspired by friends who are my age and do amazing things, like Cecilia Majzoub, I love her photography and the way she can capture these moments that just make me go “woah”, and Ashley Louise Stanford’s polaroids are my favourites, both of them are awesome photographers. And I guess decades kind of influence me as well, specifically the 90s, which EVERYONE says, but there’s something about it that I can’t seem to get out of. The music is inarguably amazing but I don’t know… I’ve just developed a really weird, strange connection with it as I’ve gotten older, even though I was just a little kid at the time. Music and musicians also inspire me greatly; I would say Johnny Marr and Stephen Malkmus both make me want to get up, get out there, and do stuff… make something of myself. I think about them and think, “they wouldn’t be complacent; go do something and be proud of it.” They both have this effortless flair about them in their crafts, which I can only to aspire to have an ounce of if I’m lucky. What materials do you like to work with? I’m mostly using little point and shoot film cameras, Photoshop, sometimes I use an Instax 210, but I always carrying a moleskine around with me to write whatever comes to mind.



What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? Right now I’m working on the next issue of my music fanzine, ‘The Zine is Dead’. I started it a little over a year ago now. At first it was just a small thing I was doing by myself but as the issues go on, more people are getting involved with it and it’s growing. It’s fun to do because I get people who enjoy music and bands (both live and on record) together to talk about it and share it with other people. I’m working on some demos too. I like to write music and play guitar, hoping to form a band if I can find other people. What music do you listen to while working? Mostly bands; I love bands. I love listening to Pavement all the time. Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of Parquet Courts, and Speedy Ortiz are a staple for me. The Cribs, Jagwar Ma, and Warpaint too… I used to listen to a lot of 90s britpop but I’ve moved on to a little more American stuff from the 80/90s… Helium, Butterglory, Sebadoh, and Fugazi. Previous Work

Websites: Contact:

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Where do you like to work? Gig environments are where I take most of my pictures be it indoors or after the show. Anywhere that there’s music. I like being outside, sometimes I like going for walks around where I live, but virtually anywhere, really. What is one of your earliest memories of making art? Umm, a long time ago, I did a drawing of a multi-coloured cat in primary school and I was really proud of it and brought it home and showed my mum and she kept it, we still have it, that picture is probably 15 years old now…


Kent Andreasen Submitted January 23rd 2014

“I took this image while watching the start of the Cape To Rio yacht race that took place in January . This man walked past me and my dad pointed him out. He was pretty intimidating especially because of the combination of his jacket and the fact that he had a special hearing device connected directly into his brain. It was such a fascinating set of variables and you hardly see hell’s angles jackets been warn around town.” -Kent Andreasen Name

What materials do you like to work with?

Kent Andreasen

I like to use the precise portra emulsions and the smooth sound of my contax.

Age 23 What is your current location? Cape Town , South Africa. Where are you from? Johannesburg , South Africa What is your current occupation? Photographer and a slight state of Limbo. Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? I didn’t study photography but I was lucky enough to go to film school an study cinematography which I think really improved the technical aspect of my photography . What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most? I think the thing that inspires me most is that there are a lot of people that I know who work jobs and do things on a day-today basis that they really hate and complain about be stuck and bored. My aim is to stay as far away from that mindset as possible and keep reminding myself that I love what I do and am lucky enough to get paid to do it. Obviously I am inspired by other people in my life and admire certain photographers like Martin Parr( Really just his older work that he shot on film) but I try and do my own thing in the hope that a set of images keeps me excited to shoot another roll of film or to go out there and fill another memory card.

What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? I have a whole bunch of projects on the go at the moment. Im working on a music video that deals with the symbiosis ( or the falls symbiosis) that humans have with bees and the collection of pollen. Im looking to shoot photo essay that tackles the idea of the shark cage industry in South Africa and really get to the bottom of how the industry feels about the environment , the public and the future of the relationship between humans and great white sharks. I also have a still life project that is based on the idea of a persons first time learning of sex and what single object reminds them of this new experience from when they were younger. What music do you listen to while working? Ive been listening to a ton of Real Estate lately while I edit . Where do you like to work? In the open air and away from people that are keen to meddle in the process of the images. I shoot in studio every now and then but It doesn’t resonate with me as much as being on location does. What is one of your earliest memories of making art? I used to sketch a lot but I haven’t in awhile . I think thats my earliest memory or maybe even when I was really young I had this terrible underwater camera and used to take frames of my buddies surfing.



Previous Work

Websites: Contact:

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Around a year and a half ago on October 27th 2012 The Society of Illustrators held a lecture entitled The First Four

Years. The lecture brought together Kali Ciesemier, Sam Wolfe Connelly, Daniel Fishel, John Malta, Victo Ngai and Dadu Shin (6 illustrators who had just graduated art school within the past 4 years) to discuss their lives and careers after art school. While wrapping up the production of our second issue of FORGE. I stumbled upon a video of the lecture that was uploaded to the Society of Illustrator’s youtube page in January 2013 ( As I watched the almost 2 hour long video, I was stunned to see this intimate group of contemporary illustrators (most of which I hadn’t heard of) talk so fondly of their experiences during and after college, and the relationships that have grown between them over the past few years. Each artist gave really concise and positive advice about relevant problems and situations they’ve faced working in the art world today. Immediately after watching the video I was so enthralled by everything, that I began looking up each of the artists and their work, in the hopes that we could interview one of them for a future issue.

The first person that I discovered through this lecture that we contacted was John Malta. John’s previous works,

including his many different illustrations for The New York Times and The New Yorker, his comic’s Baboom and The Professor and the Paperboy, and even a few T-shirt designs, really stuck out to me. His creative use of colors and textures, and the obvious inspiration of 70’s and 80’s punk zines in his work, was really fascinating to see in his work both personal and editorial. Early on in the lecture, John mentioned that he lived in Brooklyn, so I thought that it would be the perfect opportunity for me to try to meet up with him on my trip down to New York in November. Within a few days, John responded to my email, mentioning “I am currently living in Kansas City so I will not be able to meet up for a video interview, but would be happy to answer questions through e-mail!” Although I was disappointed to find out we wouldn’t be able to film anything with John, I was still incredibly excited to ask a few questions, which resulted in the following interview.



“Me and my good friend Keith Pakiz self-published a comic called Shlump Palunk! in elementary school using a Xerox machine under the teacher’s supervision.”

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Did you go to school for art or do you have any specific training in your art?

International, The Sacramento News & Review, The Stranger, Willamette Week, and Dickies Workwear.

Yeah! I got my MFA from the School of Visual Arts Illustration as Visual Essay Program and my BFA in Illustration from the Columbus College of Art & Design.

Over the past two years I have been editing an annual illustration and comics anthology called Universal Slime. Issue Two is coming out this month and contains contributions from Simon Hanselmann, Brian Rea, Josh Cochran, Patrick Kyle, David Sandlin, Jonny Negron, Alex Schubert, Matthew Volz, Joana Avillez, Paul Windle, Rand Renfrow, Nichole Senter, Katie Turner, and many more radical picture makers.

What your reasoning for moving to New York? The main motivation to move was getting accepted into grad school. But ever since I was a little kid I wanted to live in New York City. Kevin Mcallister running wild through the streets of NYC in Home Alone 2 is probably my earliest remembrance of wanting to come visit New York City. I visited the Statue of Liberty when I was 4, and CBGB’s when I was in high school. I am really glad I was given the chance to live in such a great place, and am super psyched to have moved on to Kansas City. How has New York had an impact on your work? Most of my work is based off of some past memory or place. When I was living in New York City a lot of the work that I was making was set in wide open, desolate, mid-western landscapes and now that I am back in the mid-west a lot of my work is set in really cluttered, moldy looking cities. I like to draw inspiration from the places that I am most familiar with. What’s it like living in Kansas City now? It’s so great. And is a much needed change from New York City. I currently serve as Assistant Professor of Art & Illustration and Program Coordinator for the Illustration Department at the University of Central Missouri. I also work as a Freelance Illustrator ~ clients include The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Village Voice, VICE, Lands’ End Canvas, Manifold NYC, Surfing Magazine, The Washington Post, Blood is the New Black, Showpaper, Wrap Magazine UK, Asset

What was the process of making The Professor and The Paperboy like? I made The Professor and The Paperboy during my final year of the SVA MFA Illustration program. It was my Thesis Project. So I spent the entire 8 months, writing, sketching, illustrating, and printing the project. It was an interesting process because I made it within our Thesis Project class. So the project was critiqued by people like Jordan Awan from The New Yorker. It was interesting having the opinions of art directors within the process of making a comic - which I normally do on my own, with almost no outside opinion apart from the support of my friends. How different has it been to self publish things like The Professor and The Paperboy and then publish BABOOM! with Space Face Books? There really isn’t much of a difference in terms of publishing - Mack Pauly (Space Face Books) is a really supportive and awesome dude. I draw the comics and he prints them! The creation process for both of those comics was completely different though. I completed BABOOM! in the three weeks before Comic Arts Brooklyn, and The Professor and The Paperboy took me about 9 months to write and illustrate.



I just drew BABOOM! straight through all on original pages but with The Professor and the Paperboy there was a lot of careful planning and sketching, and the finals were completed in Photoshop rather than a physical page. How long have you been making zines? Me and my good friend Keith Pakiz self-published a comic called Shlump Palunk! in elementary school using a Xerox machine under the teacher’s supervision. We were around ten years old when we created the first issue. Throughout junior high we continued to print these at school until we created a comic strip in which we comically murdered our classmate (who was our friend) in every panel. We tried to slip it by our teacher by putting it on the back page but obviously had no such luck and Shlump Palunk comics was banned from my elementary school/junior high from then on. Keith is also still making comics and just released this insanely good graphic novel that you can read in its entirety at The Condiment Squad. In high school me and my good friends Alex Gabor and Bri Zine self-published a zine about the punk and skate community of Cleveland, Ohio called “Hello Cleveland: This is Scum & Noise”. And I have been collecting my random sketchbook pages and scraps into zines for as long as I have been drawing in them. How do you feel about physical publications and zines vs. online publications? Do you think there are distinct advantages or disadvantages to each? Physical books will always be better than an online publication. Tablets are nice for playing Scrabble, checking Facebook, and googling recipes, but they will never completely replace paging through a physical book.

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Is all of your work made with your computer, or are there any analog aspects of your work? All of my work is done by hand actually. Most of my illustration work is completed on the computer, but all of the characters and elements are drawn by hand with a pencil. Two specific processes (for example): Painting with water based media, spray paint, and airbrush ink on Stonehenge paper Drawing with mechanical pencils and coloring digitally with Photoshop. What processes have you gone through to get your illustrations published, and what commissioned work have you been most happy with? A lot of my published work has come from sending my comics and zines out to Art Directors. My favorite work is maybe this short story I wrote about a time my principal made me cry in elementary school, that Blood is the New Black put on to a t-shirt: john-malta/10416-f-the-principal-women-s-muscle-tee.html Who are some of your contemporaries that have impacted you and your work? Nichole Senter, Mike Marine, Keith Pakiz, Paul Windle, Rand Renfrow, Alex Schubert, Dustin Henry Click, and the Wayward Spirit of Paul Wood. Your illustrations tend to be incredibly vibrant and colorful! How do you choose the colors you end up using for each illustration? I really like to try and come up with moldy color schemes - the colors that can be found on old food are oddly appealing to me.

How would you describe your over all aesthetic? Adventure paintings inspired by past memories and experiences set to the backdrop of family Double Dare patterns. What was it like to get the 2012 Xeric grant? Crazy. I really wasn’t expecting to get it (but secretly really hoping I did, as The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have forever been an influence on me). I have always printed my own comics on whatever xerox machine that I could find, so to receive a grant to finally officially publish a book was crazy. I printed The Professor and the Paperboy with a company in China and am super happy with how they came out. You can get The Professor and the Paperboy at &Pens Press in LA, Quimby’s in Chicago, Needles & Pens in SF, and the Foxing Quarterly Pop Up Shop. What pros and cons do you think the internet has had on art, and how people view it?

with if it were not for the internet. I edit and publish an annual Illustration and Comics anthology called Universal Slime and I remain in contact with all of it’s contributors through e-mail. It would be much more difficult to publish something like that if it were not for the internet. I think it would probably take a couple of years, rather than a couple of months. What pros and cons do you think the internet has had on art, and how people view it? I think the internet has had a mostly positive affect on art/illustration. I wouldn’t know most of the people I collaborate with if it were not for the internet. I edit and publish an annual Illustration and Comics anthology called Universal Slime and I remain in contact with all of it’s contributors through e-mail. It would be much more difficult to publish something like that if it were not for the internet. I think it would probably take a couple of years, rather than a couple of months.

I think the internet has had a mostly positive affect on art/illustration. I wouldn’t know most of the people I collaborate



Are there any companies that you would like to work with (to design t-shirts for, to do editor illustration for, etc…) in the future?

working on a pilot for a TV show. I eventually would like to write, produce, and direct a play which is looking more and more like a real tangible possibility.

There isn’t anyone specific, I feel very lucky to work with the companies and publications that I currently work for. I would like to design beer packaging, or some kind of food label. An off brand cereal box would be really fun to illustrate. It would be much more difficult to publish something like that if it were not for the internet. I think it would probably take a couple of years, rather than a couple of months

Could you tell us more about the play you’re working on?

What artists, films, books, or music have had big impact on you? In high school I discovered Robert Crumb, Harvey Pekar, Daniel Johnston, and Raymond Pettibon. They are probably the four most important artists that I have ever come across. Golden era Nickelodeon programming, 80’s/90’s era WWF, WCW, and ECW, R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps,The Knightfall comics and Kelley Jones’ interpretation of Batman, Old Sci-Fi and Western Pulp illustrations, R. Crumbs’ Fritz the Cat, The Fleischer Brothers, The storytelling and scripts of 8-bit Video Games, 70’s and Early 80’s Punk Aesthetic (Sniffin’ Glue, Richard Hell, and piles of Xerox Fuzz), The patterns and colors used on the set of Double Dare, VHS horror movie box art, Martin Handford, The Simpsons action figures by Mattel, Klasky-Csupo, Jack Kirby, and Galactus. What do you hope to accomplish with your work? I just want to keep making stuff in this lifetime - comics, illustrations, paintings, sculptures, etc. I am going to begin

I don’t want to give away or elaborate too much - but it’s based off of my comic The Professor and the Paperboy! What’s your fondest memory of making art? There was a mall by the house that I grew up in that had this Easter Egg drawing contest. You would go to the mall and pick up this 18” x 24” plain white easter egg and draw whatever you wanted on it. The mall then hung these easter eggs from the ceiling as a holiday decoration. On one side of my easter egg I drew Vega from Street Fighter, and on the other I drew Blanka. I remember running through the mall with my family to find mine hanging from the ceiling so we could photograph it. I was so excited to see something that I drew displayed somewhere. What advice would you give to young artists who are looking to get work after school? To make work that you are personally excited about, that tells your stories. One of the first things Marshall Arisman told me and my grad school colleagues was to not give a shit and just make the work you love. It is the best advice I have ever been given.

“One of the first things Marshall Arisman told me and my grad school colleagues was to not give a shit and just make the work you love.�


Few artists take as much pride in having their work referred to as being “naive” or “innocent” as Scott Campbell. In the

decade and a half that Scott has been illustrating professionally, he has worked to capture the excitement and joy of drawing like a child. Scott C.’s ability to tug at viewers heart strings and create art through the rose tinted lenses of youth is unparalleled by many of his contemporaries.

Although Scott has made several huge achievements in illustration, from his work as art director of Double Fine (an inde-

pendent game company started by Tim Shafer in San Francisco in 2000) to his illustrated books Amazing Everything and Zombie in Love, Scott is probably best known for his enormous collection of work, Great Showdowns. Great Showdowns perfectly joins together Scott’s love of cult films and his endearing water color illustration style to create a huge film scavenger hunt to be viewed both in a gallery setting (at Los Angeles’ Gallery 1988) and as a book at home. Where are you from and where do you live currently? I am from San Jose, California originally. I lived in San Francisco for many many years. Now I reside in New York City. I’ve been here about 5 years. Did you go to school for art or were you self taught? I went to art school in San Francisco, to the academy of art and college to study illustration, specifically comic illustration and children’s book illustration. I was really into collecting comic books, I went into school very much wanting to draw X-Men, that was what my goal was going to be. I was also really into this book The Stinky Cheese Man, this picture book. I knew that there were a lot of possibilities with picture books, and I knew I wanted to get really creative somehow. Not saying that X-Men isn’t creative, I just wanted to draw buff dudes and ladies doing powerful things. It wasn’t until later on in school that I started shifting my interests a little bit to something else. I used to go to comic conventions a lot and get my comics signed. I’d even bring my own drawings to show everyone, say “Hey, look at how I draw Wolverine!” I’d also give my drawings to inkers that I liked and say, “Hey, can you ink my drawing? To see what it’d look like. As a professional person. You know.” I was really super into comics. That was going to be my thing. Big Time. How has living in New York impacted your work? It was a big deal for me to move here actually. As an artist, I was getting pretty restless in San Francisco; I was there for 15 years. Having a change of environment, even moving from west coast to east coast, everything is so different. The buildings are different, the trees are different, the benches are differ-

ent, it smells different. Just being in that environment made me super excited. On top of that, New York has this insane energy that’s very contagious. Everyone is going around doing stuff, making stuff happen, and very excited. That was energy that I was very excited about throwing myself into. I liked San Francisco, it was very beautiful and nice, but it ran its course for me. It was a sleepy-relaxy town. I wanted excitement. I think New York has inspired my art quite a lot. How did you start working for Double Fine? Right after college I was pretty lost in what I wanted to do. The whole idea of doing comics was very exciting, but I was kind of unmotivated. I had some opportunities that were starting to rise up that I failed on. I almost did an Aliens vs. Predators comic for Dark Horse, and then I just got lazy. I don’t know. After college it’s really hard. A friend of mine got a job at Lucas Arts. She was also in illustration, but they taught her how to animate. It was around the time they had a lot of 2D games, and they taught her that. Then she told me about this new company called Lucas Learning, which made Star Wars games for kids. They needed a background painter since they were just starting out. I was like, “Oh, okay, I love Star Wars. That sounds great.” So I went there and started painting background for these 2D games. That’s how I got my start in video games. I had never previously thought about going into games at all, it was never a desire of mine. It was just something I fell into, as a way to make art. I was working in a pizza place at that time. After school you’re just trying to figure out a way to make art. It was always tough for me, or anyone I guess. Anywho, I started working at Lucas, and that’s where I met Tim Schaffer, who at that time was working on Grim Fandango, which was the last game he made with Lucas Arts.



“ The weird thing is that any movie, no matter how obscure it is, will be someone’s favorite movie.”

I remember hearing about him but not knowing a heck of a lot about him, just knowing that he’s really great, I think. There was one moment where there was this email that he sent out, company wide, and it was one of the funniest emails I’ve ever read. I was pretty new to emails also. I was like “Oh my god, this guy is the funniest guy ever.” This one email sold me on how amazing this dude was, and all of a sudden I got this huge crush on him and wanted to be buddies with him and follow him around. We became friend. Normal. Not creepy style. We became buddies and when he left to start Double Fine he asked me to come and be art director. So I did. I went over there and we made Psychonauts. I was there for 10 or 11 years, for Psychonauts, Brutal Legend, Costume Quest and a bunch of their other games. Was it hard transitioning from comics to backgrounds for video games? It was tough at first. To be honest, I really like drawing people, and I hated drawing backgrounds. I was like “I can’t believe I’m trying to get a job drawing backgrounds, I hate this.” I went in with my portfolio, and they were like “This is really good, but there are no background in here. Why are you applying? Go draw some backgrounds.” So I went and drew some backgrounds and came back and they hired me to do backgrounds. It was something I didn’t want to do at all, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Eventually I started really liking backgrounds and seeing their importance, all the way through

into Double Fine where you have to explore the backgrounds and it’s an opportunity to tell all these stories, besides just telling the stories with the characters and their interactions. The background and what players can find, the clues they find in the environments, can tell so much. I think I’ve grown to love the backgrounds now. As far as going into games from comics, it’s similar in the way that you’re creating these characters and trying to tell these stories, it’s just you’re trying to tell them in a way where the player unfolds it themselves. Did you have any experience with video games prior to creating them? It’s interesting. Going into games without having been a real gamer or anything was something that Tim always thought of as a plus side to hiring me. For Psychonauts, he told me he wanted people who don’t already have all these games in their head. Bring in other artists from different disciplines to maybe do things a little bit different. He wanted to do Psychonauts based on the art that I was doing for art shows at the time, and gallery shows. It’s the same reason we hired guys like Kim Cogan and Nathan Stapley. They definitely don’t play games, but they’re amazing painters. That was something Tim always wanted to bring in, to offset all the programmers and game designers. Have all these different minds come together to think about things. It created a really great environment for us.

“Working for five years on a game was super grueling, and it could be super depressing. Fulfilling, but also very depressing at times. That’s why you need those outlets. Brutal Legend had those intense themes, like heavy metal, it was very tough, and my art for the galleries was getting cuter and cuter to battle the demony blood and guts that I was drawing at my job.” FORGEARTMAG.COM


Were there any games you used as a source of inspiration while working on games like Psychonauts? I was very into Odd World when it came out. It was a really beautiful game. I think that got me excited about the possibilities of making a really stylish game. When Tim first started talking about Psychonauts he was like “Let’s make it a stopmotion game.” Like a stop-motion movie. He was always comparing it to movies rather than games. I played Mario Kart and Golden Eye, that’s what I played. Tim was always talking about the stop motion stuff. Rank and Bass, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, trying to make it look like stop-motion, which I always thought was really attractive. It was the same process that went into Grimm Fandango, which was The Day of the Dead. 3D wasn’t very good at the time, so instead of trying to make people, why don’t you try something that makes sense, like paper mache skeletons. Like Toy Story, they did toys. Not everything has to look super realistic, it can look stylized. That was what we based everything off of. You can get away with more stuff if you’re not trying to make amazing looking people or whatever. How large was Double Fine when you first started? When I started I was employee number six, but by the time it was finished it was about 60 people. Something like that. Sounds and voice and all that was off site. It was just the basic people. Did you leave Double Fine to do gallery work? The gallery work was something that happened alongside working on games. My career, when I was getting paid for work, was kind of alongside that. I was part of an art collective in San Francisco right after college.

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My friends and I all got together and showed each other what we were working on as a way to stay inspired and keep creating and giving each other feedback. You don’t have that when you leave college, you have to find that. We would get together, and then we started doing art shows a lot around San Francisco. We even went to Japan to do an art show, working with different artists and different groups. It was super amazing, but it was a great way to keep creating things. That was happening all while I was working at Lucas and Double Fine. It started shifting halfway through Psychonauts, I was invited to my first show at Gallery 1988 in L.A. “I Am 8-Bit” is what it was called, inspired by old school video games. That was the first time I tried out the watercolor stuff. I did an old paperboy painting and it felt so good. I was struggling with medium for so long, what to use, and finally trying out watercolor got me so excited, so relaxed. There was an artist by the name of Marcel Dusama, I saw one of his exhibitions in San Francisco. He does these amazing, really muted colors, very simple characters on white paper. The entire show was so relaxing to me, and so funny and rad. It helped me feel comfortable unifying my color palette and playing around with the airiness of watercolor. Making it look kinda old timey and everything. I like old timey things. That’s where I started working with that style. From then it was just more and more art galleries. Having shows that are similar: Gallery Nucleus, 1988, all these different galleries started having not only pop culture based shows, but cartoony, character shows. It was the first time I’d seen this style of art in galleries, aside from say, the Cartoon Art Museum, which is where you see that kind of art. In San Francisco you see some cells from Looney Tunes, or some concepts for some movies, but it’s always something used for some other thing. You never look at it as art in itself. It was exciting because it was the beginning of that, so that was a good reason for me to start creating those paintings. Do-

“Great Showdowns started with the show “Crazy For Cult” which was an exhibition they have at Gallery 1988. It was the very first one I think.”

ing the galleries was something I did as an outlet while I was creating the video games. Working for five years on a game was super grueling, and it could be super depressing. Fulfilling, but also very depressing at times. That’s why you need those outlets. Brutal Legend had those intense themes, like heavy metal, it was very tough, and my art for the galleries was getting cuter and cuter to battle the demony blood and guts that I was drawing at my job. What was happening with the video games offset what was happening with the galleries for me. Comics was a third outlet. It was healthy for me to have all three and to be able to take breaks from all three. I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between your art collective and The Beautiful Losers with Barry McGee and Margaret Kilgalen. Were these in any way related? No actually. It’s funny because I remember the first time I ever saw Barry McGee’s art, besides his street art, they had an exhibition of him at the MoMa. It was the first time any of us had seen street art in a gallery before. He had drawn all these little paintings on pieces of paper and framed them and butted them up against each other and put them in the corner on the first landing at the MoMa. My friends and I all thought it was so exciting, they had all these weird characters in the MoMa, this is what we’re doing! It was a revelation for us. The collective I was with was just friends of mine, not to say that any of them aren’t incredibly famous people or anything, but they’re all very amazing talented people that have gone on to do amazing things. They were graphic designers, painters, photographers, musicians. A lot of us were in bands. At the shows we’d have these one night events where we’d have the art up and we’d have all these bands play. My band would play and we’d have

all these different types of music. We had puppet shows, people reading things, we had people doing all kinds of things. My friend was a chef and she created all these edible art pieces. We wanted to have every sensation bombarded so that you’d just walk in an experience this weird thing, which is always what I’ve wanted to do, and still want to do with gallery shows. I have yet to do it to the extent that I want to. My other friend is a big inspiration, this guy Paul Allen who I went to art school with, he’s a huge influence on what I do. He draws amazing little characters, but he’s also into constructing things. He builds storefronts and instruments, he’s building a house out in Mexico, he’s just really into building environments. We always think how great it would be to build an environment for galleries, so that you could cruise in and have these structures where the paintings and people could live. Have it be interactive in a way. Big dreams. It could still happen. He still wants to do those things. We did that a little bit with our shows, like he’d create these environments for our band and we’d dress up and do whatever. How did your relationship with Gallery 1988 begin? I remember being so excited when I first met Katie Cromwell who ran 1988. I couldn’t believe it because it was the first time I’d worked with a gallery. It was a real big deal for me. She was so cool and so nice. I grew quite a lot when we started showing together, and since then I’ve had some other galleries that I love showing with, like Gallery Nucleus, that’s also in LA, and Galerie Arludik in Paris has been really great. Cotten Candy Machine here in New York.

There are a lot of galleries I love working with. Gallery 1988 is mostly pop culture stuff, so when I do a show with them I mostly do pop culture inspired stuff, which has been super great. They’ve gotten me a lot of cool opportunities, I’ve met a lot of cool people through them. I did a poster for the Breaking Bad finale that they negotiated. Through them I met Neil Patrick Harris who wrote a forward for Great Showdowns. Great Showdowns is also something that started through them. I do all of my Great Showdown exhibits through 1988. It’s been really fun to grow with them. Jensen and Katie are super great. When was the idea for Great Showdowns first conceived? Great Showdowns started with the show “Crazy For Cult” which was an exhibition they have at Gallery 1988. It was the very first one I think. It was art inspired by cult films. That was it. I was a little bit hesitant to do it at the time because I wasn’t doing a lot of pop culture stuff and I wanted to create new things. So I decided to create little things, not a huge deal, just little candy sized things. You have a bunch of them together and they might feel nice together, and people could take them home for relatively cheap. They were all going to have a piece of it. That’s where that started. As I drew some of my favorite movies, I always drew them happy, just standing around. It looked nice. The paper just standing around looking at each other. Not much deeper than that. I just liked having them standing there looking at each other. I found that all together, these little moments of them vs. their enemy was very nice. They could just smile about it. The first ten were for that show, and they sold fairly well. People seemed to like them, and I

enjoyed them, so when the next show came along the following year, I decided to do ten more, and it was just as fun. People seemed to like them so I did a third one for the next show, and at that point I was like “I really enjoy these, maybe I should start a website or something.” to do them regularly instead of just for these shows. That’s why I started the tumblr, to do them regularly. The reception was great on tumblr. I see them as little trading cards, things you can collect. A big mix tape I guess. How do you choose the movies you use for each Great Showdown? I try to choose movies I really like, movies that have some sort of cultural significance, or that most people will know. The weird thing is that any movie, no matter how obscure it is, will be someones favorite movie. I think that’s pretty unbelievable. Just movies that I find interesting. Then finding moments that I find the most memorable. The ones that stick with you. Sometimes it’s the most obvious ones, protagonist and antagonist, sometimes it’s just some protagonist versus an obstacle. Bruce Willis and the glass, that’s a memorable moment in Die Hard. Him versus the little happy glass guys. Or Ghost, Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore, it’s them versus the little happy clay guy because that’s the moment everyone remembers from that movie. I don’t even remember what the bad guys look like in that movie, but I definitely remember that sexy scene. That sort of thing. Office Space when they’re against the printer. Showdown between two forces.

Then some are romantic too, like in The Notebook, the pivotal moment in that is when Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams get together in the rain and it’s so intense. Sometimes it’s about love. Sometimes that’s the showdown. Confronting each other about why you haven’t written, and it’s raining. Those are some of my favorite ones. There are some times where I get the likeness perfect, and I just feel like I nailed it! I just feel so good about it. There are times where I didn’t nail it as much. I really like going back and replaying these movies or even just watching pieces of them, and one that I really enjoyed was Grease, starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. It’s got such good vibes man. I love those jams! So I decided it was probably good to have the last part where she comes out dressed like his gang, and they’re just kind of super into each other, and it’s all sexy as they’re dancing around to a catchy song. I just loved that so much, and it’s my favorite part of that movie, so drawing those guys was a lot of fun. They’re in their little dance poses, and their bodies are just the right amount of skinny and weird. John Travolta’s face was just my favorite face to draw. His face is so awesome, and sometimes you just get it right! So I was really pumped on that one. I feel like it’s like a puzzle when you look at someone you know really well or a famous person, and you have to try to figure out how to simplify it down to just the basic things. How you can make a really simple thing look like a character is so fun to try to figure out! It’s like a crossword puzzle for me. I’m terrible at crossword puzzles, but I’m really into these puzzles of figuring out faces. What’s the process for making a Great Showdown piece? When create a painting, or a concept for anything it starts with an idea. There’s usually some sort of them with these shows, or with the Great Showdowns, or with a video game that you

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have to go with. so I usually start with researching a whole lot. Getting photos off of the internet and just surrounding my self with as much as I can to inspire me. I also research other artists. It takes days and days of doing that, mostly because it’s also a great procrastination tool. I get to comfortably tell my self “Well the more of this stuff I get, the more amazing the idea is going to be.” Then I gather all of that and go out and just doodle on little pieces of xerox paper in cafe’s and places. I don’t work at my house when I’m trying to come up with ideas. I like to be out and around with other people, where people are kind of working on their things and I’m working on my things, and I hear music playing and stuff. Any way to just relax my mind. That’s also why I use xerox paper rather than sketch books because it’s less pressure, and I try to make it feel like everything is very disposable. All of my ideas are disposable, so their is no pressure with these ideas. Then I just cover the page with all these gags, and lists of gags, and just weird drawings. Then from there I might see little things on the paper that might work well, so I scan them all in and put them in photoshop so I can cut them out and arrange them for a composition for a painting. I usually also draw over them with my Wacom Cintiq, because it really streamlines the process because I can draw directly on there. Cause you know, I’m a really techy guy. After I do that I print it out, and trace it onto the water color paper with a light box and a hard pencil And then I paint it with the water colors. Sometimes I try to choose the color combinations before I get started, by making little swatches on paper so that everything looks nice together. Then I’ll try to stick to that. I don’t use any ink-- I should probably use ink, that’s probably good-- but it’s a very sloppy style. It’s very inspired by that old style of like puppets from the 50’s or like Ben Shahn. I really like really rough things, which is good because I don’t have to slave to hard on a painting. It can just stay messy, cause it’s lively that way.

How long did it take to develop your own style? It took me about 7-8 year of messing around with mediums before I felt really comfortable and happy with creating stuff. I also had a problem with creating in general. There was a time when I was in the art collective and just starting to work for Double Fine, where I still didn’t see a reason to create. I don’t know why. All of my friends were really into creating and painting and it was like their life line. They had to do it! And I just didn’t feel like I had to. Like I didn’t really enjoy it a heck of a lot to be honest. I always wanted it to be like when I was a little kid, that kind of excitement. I guess I was always longing for that same kind of excitement when you get up and play with your action figures, and you have a super fun adventure, or you draw some battle drawing and you keep adding to it and adding to it. That always stressed me out and I was always kind of questioning it. I even went to a therapist for a while and was like “I’m an artist and a painter and I don’t really even like it, and I don’t have any messages to say. All drawing is these stupid characters.” Part of what got me out of that was when I started working with these kids at these homeless shelters in San Francisco with this group called Draw Bridge. They would go to these shelters and just paint with kids and hang out with them. So I volunteered with them to selfishly hang out with these kids and listen to their ideas, and try to get to the bottom of the idea of why they’re so pumped about everything. In doing that I realized that they really just love the act of drawing so much. With a lot of they’re paints, when they’re done, look really awesome and abstract and cool, but you don’t know what they are really unless you hear them tell you the story of what it is as they do it. Basically they’re having this adventure as they draw. Every moment, every stroke, is like this little adventure they’re having. I guess I always wanted to start doing that sort of thing.

I think that was the sort of fun I started having with paining and drawing. t was fun to actually create these worlds and imagine being in these worlds, and imagine participating with all the characters and things. That’s why I like stuff with a lot of things going on in them or a lot of people, like Richard Scarry who is one of my biggest influences. In his work there are so many little places to hang out and you can discover things. I felt like if I was doing that, than other people would enjoy it as well. I guess that’s the root… of that. I forget where that sort of started from, sorry dude! Are there any projects you’d like to work on, but don’t have the funding for? Well it’s mostly time actually, that’s my biggest problem. I mean I would like to do so many things. I would like to make some cartoons or animated things, but I know that’s a huge undertaking. I’d like to do performances or live things, or videos. I like being in front of people and stuff. I have all of these puppets that I want to do stuff with, but I never do. I don’t know. It’s mostly just time though. I’m trying to focus right now on picture books, because I’ve found working with these kids and doing these picture books is the most fun I’ve had for a while. So I want to fully explore this and then move on the the next thing. I’m a little bit scatter brained with all of the stuff that I want to do. I’ll get the that stuff some time. Oh and I want to get back to games again. Maybe work with Tim on something else. We’ll see.




One of our favorite submissions to our last issue, Solace, came from New York based illustrator Courtney Wirth (or how

she’s known online, Courtney Wirthit.) As we were discussing her submission, we realized she had been doing editorial illustration professionally for the past few years and we became interested in doing an interview with her. As I was making plans for my trip to New York, Courtney suggested we meet up at some point, and in turn, I asked if she’s be interested in an interview while I was there. When I was in New York, I took a trip to her apartment in Astoria, Queens and was greater by her and her cat, Pi. Courtney showed me around her apartment and work space, detailing her process and many inspirations, then the three of us then got together to film the interview. As Courtney described her experience at school, her transition from studying fashion to illustration, and her move to New York, Pi excitedly ran around the room and almost knocked over the camera. Where are you from? Where do you live currently?

How much has living in New York effected your work?

I’m originally from Frederick, Maryland and I currently live in New York, in Astoria Queens.

A lot, just because there’s so much here. Being able to go to certain things and places that I wouldn’t normally be able to since I didn’t have a car. With all the public transportation and all the different people. There’s definitely a lot of characters. I was out yesterday with my friend, we were out in Washington Square Park, and there was this guy who would periodically run through the swarms of birds under the arch, screaming and yelling. A lot of things you wouldn’t normally see anywhere else. It kinda gets reflected into my work; the cityscapes and different situations and scenes. I feel like if I had moved home I wouldn’t have been as inspired. Even though I might not directly have New York within some of my pieces, it’s definitely there somehow as a theme or inspiration.

Do you have any formal training in the field of art you work in? My high school had an arts and communications academy where you could focus in visual arts, preforming arts, or music. I did visual arts my last year of high school and that helped me prepare for art school in college. I went to Savannah College of Art and Design. I originally majored in fashion design until my fourth year, and switched to illustration and stayed an extra year. What made you decide to switch to Illustration? I had a lot of friends in illustration who would see my drawings and tell me to switch my major. They’re always saying that I already drew better than most of their other students in that department. I really liked designing and sewing and making my own clothes, but i realized the industry is a lot different than what I want to do with my life. I think that pushed me to make the switch. What made you decide to move to New York City? I originally didn’t want to move to New York. Actually when I was in fashion I didn’t want to move to New York. A lot of my friends moved to New York when they graduated, when I was supposed to graduate, in 2011. I visited the following summer and had a really nice time and really enjoyed it and fell in love with the city. Moving to a place where I already knew a lot of people and already had a sense of home and a new change of scenery pushed me to move to New York, even without having a job.

What are the steps of making one of your illustrations and how would you describe the process? Usually I have an idea and I’ll either write it out or keep it in the back of my head and I’ll try to thumbnail it out. I’m not the greatest at thumbnails, I’m trying to work on that. I will start them and then get distracted and I just skip it and go straight to the sketch. I do the final sketch out and I’ll tweak it before I ink it. After I ink it, I scan it in and usually use photoshop, sometimes illustrator for cleaner lines, but most of the time I use photoshop. I’ll color it and use a minimal color scheme. That makes it go by really fast. I’ll add a few little touches if I need to, but that’s about it. It’s a pretty simple process. Sometimes I’ll do ink washes, but lately I’ll just stick with digital coloring because it’s easier and the shapes are easier to read. How do you choose the color palette you end up using for each illustration? When I start a piece I usually have an idea for a main color that I want to use. Lately it’s been red, I guess this is my red phase right now, I don’t know. Usually a blue or red lately. From there



“Even though I might not directly have New York within some of my pieces, it’s definitely there somehow as a theme or inspiration.’” I try to figure out what colors will complement it or if I have a certain lighting I need to figure out or theme, I’ll try to figure out what will enhance that more. When I color it I do each layer on photoshop. One layer as one color. I’ll do what areas I think should be red, and then go in with the other colors. I try to keep it minimal because usually the longest part of the process is the sketch and the coloring will go by quickly. I do a few color compositions, so that not all of the values look the same and blend together. I definitely do color comps sometime when I’m not lazy. When did you get your first job editorial illustration job? In school I had a class called Getting Published. We didn’t get paid for the artwork we did, but it was always exciting because it got us a head start with working with clients, and it had the possibility that if our piece was chosen that it was going to be published. Instead of getting paid, I got school credit for it. That was an interesting class to take, becasue some art directors don’t know what they want, some are really frustrating, but that was in school. I got a job from the career fair as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator. I did t-shirt designs for them for about a year. That was interesting as well. The clients were… some of them were just annoying. My first real paying job as a legit illustrator was definitely The New York Times. That was

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just exciting because it was The New York Times, and I had just gotten out of school. They got my promotional mailers, and most of the time when you first get out of school you don’t really hear anything back. You just kinda assume they got it, but didn’t have the chance, or didn’t like your work. When I sent out a mini-poster and a postcard, the art director took the time to let me know that he got it and that he really liked it. He contacted me three weeks later to have me do a job for them. What method have you used to get most of your jobs as an illustrator? It seems like a lot of it at least for The New York Times, since my job with scholastic magazine has been through mailers. I only sent out like two since I graduated, I need to get better about that, which is why I have new postcards. It seems like the other jobs that I get have been mainly through my blog, my Tumblr. I’ve actually gotten a few jobs from my Behance, which I never update, and I should. What have been some of your favorite clients to work? I’ve mainly done stuff for The New York Times in their business section. I recently did a piece for Grey Art Labs Six Degrees art show which actually launches in December. I’ve done a lot

of work for The New York Times, and as I’ve been working for them, they trust me. I usually send them three rough sketches and they’ll choose one. The art director has been really encouraging and he really seems to like my work. They always trust me with the colors that I choose. It’s easy going to work with them, which was surprising for the first time I got a job from them. I was so nervous and scared, but seeing how easy going and laid back he was, it helped me do the best that I could. I think the first project I did for them was probably my favorite. It was how to succeed and set goals, like new years resolutions for the office place. I just liked how the composition worked out. The last piece I just did for the art gallery was a lot of fun, and it was more personal. It was a postcard exhibition, connecting people through the power of artwork and sending postcards to people. It was to create a piece that reflected something about you or your life or where you lived and it was really interesting to realize that so many other people were going to see this. Even though I already have a blog and people follow it. It’s going to be in an art gallery, and I’ve never done that before.

How have websites like Tumblr impacted you’re work, or the exposure your art gets? I definitely owe a lot of my success so far to Tumblr. I started that out as another way to procrastinate and a source of inspiration, since it’s easy to find images and figure out where things are from and who did it. Randomly when I was still in school I posted an illustration that I’d done, and it got a lot of hits. From there I decided that all my posts were just going to be my own, and I wasn’t going to reblog anything. It was going to be my art blog, and it just went from there. I’ve gained quite a following, and I don’t know how, but I’m grateful, and hopefully it’ll just keep getting better and better. Definitely from Tumblr, it seems like an easier way to get your stuff out there. I think Behance as well, I just don’t use it. I’ve gotten a few jobs from it, but I’m surprised when they tell me it’s from Behance. I should update that more. Tumblr is definitely the biggest factor in my career.

“In terms of my other pieces, I’ve had people ask me if it’s autobiographical, usually I try to leave that up to the viewer and their own interpretation.” FORGEARTMAG.COM


“Especially coming from art school, you have your own little community that you get closer with and likeminded, and they’re able to give you honest opinions.”

A lot of your art takes a really emotional tone and employs some sort of narrative. Do you do any sort of writing before making a piece? What role does writing play in your work? I just started doing one page comics. I’ve always wanted to do that and I finally got a chance to try it. With those I definitely write it out and thumbnail it, and I always run my writing through my friends just to get a second opinion I don’t consider myself a writer, which is why I’ve always held back from doing the comics, but it seems to be getting easier. If I have a theme to go off, it comes naturally. In terms of my other pieces, I’ve had people ask me if it’s autobiographical, usually I try to leave that up to the viewer and their own interpretation, but I feel like most of it is self reflective of some of the things I’ve gone through. I don’t have a particular theme or story behind it; you draw what you know and what you’ve been through, and I think that’s what makes it relatable. A while ago I asked my friends, “Is it too personal?” and they’re like “No, that’s what makes it beautiful” because people can relate to it and it resonates something within them, because they’re probably going through something similar. At first I thought it was too vulnerable or something. I’m not really that angsty. I’m not that sad or depressed or anything. I guess I like to view things that I can relate to, and in turn do that as well. I feel like it’s hard to draw something you’ve never experienced or gone through, and I’d rather have people have some sort of connection to it. What contemporary artists have impacted your and your work? Especially coming from art school, you have your own little community that you get closer with and likeminded, and they’re able to give you honest opinions. I will periodically Skype with my best friend Chase Boltz, he was an illustration major as well, and with my friend Casey Crisenbery, who’s also an illustrator. We’ll draw and bounce ideas off each other and show each other what we have so far and critique it and help the other person out. Those two have been helpful for me lately, as well as my friend Ashley Guillory. She’s the one that helps me with my writing. She shares a love for comics like I do, she’s an illustrator and she even took a grad course in sequential art. With my one page comics lately, she’s been able to give me a lot of advise. She’s definitely like an art director for me. Current artists that I look at… I have a few inspirations that I look at, but I try not to look at them all the time because I don’t compare myself. I’ll see their work and admire it and take things from it, but I don’t want to get too over influences as well. I really like Marcos Chin, he has this

piece in the MTA subway of grand central and I’m in love with it every time I see it on the train. I’m so envious, I want to do that. He uses a limited color palette as well and his line work is so fluid. I also really like Kelly Scismeir and her use of color. Using a limited color palette, but keeping it really vibrant. Her compositions are really well done. I admire her more because she’s not so line based either. She’s good with shapes, being confident and not having to use lines. I like to use lines, but to see someone who isn’t as line oriented is nice to look at. Those are probably my top two. I also like Matt Taylor , I have a little crush on Matt, he’s our printmaker as well. He’s more graphic design based, but he uses a limited color palette. A lot of the illustrations I look at use a limited palette so that I can look at how I analyze color as well. What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most? If you look at my work you can probably see a lot of inspiration from Craig Thompson. He wrote Blankets, and that’s probably my favorite graphic novel. When I read it, it hit me at a period of time where I really needed to read it. It resonated something within me. You can see with the brush work that I use in my inking, it’s inspired by him. Along with Adrien Tomine, I like his work a lot too. You can probably see on my bookshelf The Now of Brown. I really like that graphic novel, because the artwork is so beautiful. It’s a lot of watercolor work. I’m so envious of it. I’m also a big spiderman freak. Cassandra Cain; Batgirl. Sailor Moon and other anime like Marmalade Boy. I grew up with those, and they’re a continuing source of inspiration for me. I’m rereading Sailor Moon. It’s a nice place to escape to. Are there any projects you would like to embark on, but just don’t have the funding for? I’m trying to start this art book. I’m a little intimidated by it, because of the funding for it. Hopefully with my job, my ‘job’ job, not my career, they gave me stocks, and hopefully I can cash those in and get funding that way. For me, I need to find funding for my confidence, because it’s a big project. I need to figure out how many pages, and printing, and if people will actually buy it. Then I know I can also mail a bunch to art directors as well. If nobody buys it, it’s more promotional work for me. It’s a winter themed art book for one page comics that I’ve been working on, illustrations and sketches, all within the winter season. It’s a wintry mix. It’s all my artwork and some of my writing, with the comics. I’m excited and I got the idea randomly last week. Hopefully I can stick to it and get it done. It’ll be an interesting process to see how it works out. Self publishing is nothing I’ve ever tried before, but we’ll see.




We first noticed Victo’s incredibly detailed and intricate editorial illustrations through her work for The New York Times

and The New Yorker, and she quickly became one of the first artists we sought out to interview as we were planning our first issue. Although it took us about a year to get into the same room as each other, the wait was definitely worth it. This November, FORGE. met up with Victo at her Manhattan apartment and studio. In the interview, Victo talked about her experience going to RISD, how she approaches developing a style, and how she ended up leaving Hong Kong to study art in the United States. Victo was incredibly kind and easy to talk to, and gave us some great advice about art school and finding work afterword. Where are you from and where do you live currently?

How has living in New York impacted your work?

I’m from Hong Kong and right now I live in Manhattan, New York.

I’m not sure how it has directly impacted me, but I definitely love living here. I think that because the city has so much going on all the time-- Even though we create them, we don’t them out of thin air. You need inspirations and influences, and being in New York, you’re constantly being exposed to the great museums in the world, MoMa and the Met, and there’s all types of other cultural activities, like a music festival, and all of those fuel into the work I create.

Did you go to school for art or were you self taught? I came from a normal high school and then I went to RISD and that was my formal art training. Were there any teachers at RISD that really affected you and your work? Yeah, definitely. Chris Buzelli, I’m not sure if you’re familiar with him, he’s also a really great working illustrator right now. He’s definitely my mentor and the one who made me realize I wanted to do editorial. I think his class was really unusual from the other ones because we didn’t just focus on techniques, or making a good looking pictures, but he really emphasized the idea behind it. After taking that class I figured out that what excites me the most is creating a visual solution and solving a puzzle. That’s pretty much editorial, and that’s mostly what I do now.

Have you met other contemporary illustrators through living there? Yeah, a lot of them professionally. I think New York is a hub for illustration. The Society of Illustrators is here, and we have the annual American Illustration party. Those are the events that illustrators from not only New York, but the world, come to the city to celebrate and drink too much. That’s another reason I really like New York, being an illustrator, it’s quite lonely. I work in my little studio all the time, so it’s nice to be living in a city with so many people who speak the same language. Like during the weekend, we can go to a bar and bounce idea off of each other, or go to an opening and talk shop, so that’s really nice.



“(Chris) told me that style is pretty overrated. It’s basically a habit of drawing, so everyone should have their own style unique to themselves, because everyone is unique.”

“I actually spend most of the time thinking in the early stages. Usually when I start sketching, I already have three or four concrete ideas that I’ve written down on paper.” Could you take us through the process of making one of your pieces? When I get an assignment, I’ll of course brainstorm about it. I usually write down the words that give hunches, and I try to think how those can work into a concept. Sometimes if the story is vague and the concept is very open, I start thinking about what I like to draw and work that first. I actually spend most of the time thinking, in the early stages. Usually when I start sketching, I already have three or four concrete ideas that I’ve written down on paper. Then I draw a little thumbnail and then a little more finished sketch, and send it to an art director. After one gets approved, I’ll go back to paper, blow up the sketch, and loosely pencil it on the paper, ink it with nib pen and ink, then after line work I scan it into the computer and color it in photoshop. How long does it take you to do an individual piece? It really depends, but for an editorial piece that’s full page, I’d say at least three to four days. My stuff is very labor intensive, and I get kinda OCD with all the details. When did you get your first editorial illustration job? I started working with PLANSPONSOR when I was in school actually, junior year. My teacher Chris Buzelli’s wife, SoonJin

Buzelli is the creative director. We got this project that was a mockup project for PLANSPONSOR, but after I did it, it got published, so that was my first published piece. By the time I graduated, I already had at least 12 pieces, a portfolio of published pieces for her, so I guess that gave me a head start in my career. What method did you use to find most of your editorial work? When I first graduated, I contacted a lot of online blogs that had huge followings: The Fox Is Black, SuperSonic Electronic, Hi Fructose, Juxtapose, etc. etc. When I had graduated, nobody knew about me and I needed to build my first batch of followers and afterwards it’d just take care of itself. I was think that since these blogs were constantly looking for content, and I need the publicity, it’d be a mutual thing, we’d work together. Luckily my straggly kinda works out and that’s how I got my first internet following, and afterwards it just snowballed. I think the internet is a great promotion tool nowadays, because you can keep the dialogue both ways. I used to do promos like sending out emails, but those were for very specific clients that I wanted to work with, but I get a lot of unexpected clients that I don’t even know exist, like from Africa or Germany, who contacted me because they saw my work online. Now I use all types of platforms like Behance or Tumblr to do my promotion, and I don’t do the physical promotion as much anymore.

How did you get the opportunity to study art in the U.S.?

What have been some of your favorite clients to work for?

I think I was really lucky, because my mom is quite unusual. She always encouraged me to do art and all sorts of extra curricular activities. She let me play the piano and learn dancing, but I went nowhere with both of them, and I guess art just kinda lucked out. She wasn’t intentionally like “I’m going to culture my daughter into an artist” but she just wanted to make me into a more rounded and interesting person. Along the way I found out I’m actually really interested in doing this. For the longest time it was just a hobby and I wasn’t too serious with pursuing it as a career. There was nobody around me doing that. In Hong Kong the education system is a little different. We have seven years of secondary school instead of three years for junior high and three years for high school. On the fifth year we have this huge public examination and after that you have two years of pre-college, but it’s pretty much secondary school. After that there’s another huge examination and you go into college for a few years. After the first exam in four or five, I just realized the system was really stupid. I always did really well in school with all the projects, but I don’t test very well, and I don’t believe in prepping with the past twenty years questions.

That’s really hard. I like all of them for different reasons, because they’re all very different. What kept it exciting is that you never know what sort of projects your getting. Sometimes that knocks you out of your comfort zone and makes you struggle a little bit, but after it’s done it’s really good. I think that’s why I like editorial, some of the stuff is very fast turnaround. On a book project you work on something for a year, but every week I have a different challenge. My most regular clients would be The New Yorker, The New York Times, and PLANSPONSOR. I really enjoy working with these people because they really trust me. They’re very hands off and let me do my own stuff. In the process, I have so much fun that it feels like I’m getting paid to do personal work.

It’s an okay way to learn, but then kids just went to after school tutors to prep and the system pulled from all the past questions to create the new questions, so if you’ve memorized the old answers you could do really well. That’s not learning. After that I was so sick of it, and I didn’t want to waste two years of my life to prep for another exam. The process is so intense that all I remember was the examination, but not what I learned. Since it’s so high stress, students in not just in Hong Kong but in all of Asia have a problem with slacking off all through college. It’s really different in America. It’s not too hard to get into college it’s hard to graduate. In Asia it’s the exact opposite. It’s really competitive to get into a good college, but afterwards people just party all the time. Once you have the diploma with the nice brand, you get a good job. It’s kinda lame. I thought about going abroad to study, and I applied to RISD which was the only school I applied to because I knew it was really expensive. At the time I asked my friends what the best art school in America. Of course now I know that I say this now, people will get really mad, but at the time she said RISD was the best. If I’m going to spend that much money, I’m either going to the best one or I’m just going to stay here and follow the path. Go into law or something. No big deal.

92 FORGE • MARCH 2014

Have you ever had a job that didn’t work out in the end? It’s hard. There are many reasons why I drop my work or might not. There’s budget, timing. I don’t really remember, but there’ve definitely been times where I turn down a job because it says so little, or because I’m not interested in the topic, or if I don’t agree with something they’re saying, especially if it’s political. There are also times I’ve been too busy, when I wish I could work on it, but I just don’t have time. I don’t keep track of exactly how many I turn down. How long did it take you to develop your unique style and aesthetic? I don’t know if I’m comfortable making the same image all the time. That’s actually what worries me the most. It’s important to have a distinctive style. The nature of our business is to be very recognizable, so when people see it they will remember, and when clients see it they will know ‘this is what we want, this is who we’ll call, this is what we’ll expect.’ That’s a good thing, but for me, I want to keep evolving. Of course I want to maintain that ‘Victo’ look that people know, but I definitely don’t want to be making the same image all the time. I’ve actually gotten a lot of emails from students who ask “What is your style? What’s your process? Break it down step by step so I can do exactly what you do.” Going back to Chris, he told me that style is pretty overrated. It’s basically a habit of drawing, so everyone should have their own style unique to their own selves, because everyone is unique. If I wanted to stay the same, if I’m a normal growing human being, the work with naturally evolve. If I’m doing something that’s contrived and not very honest, it won’t grow, because it’s just dead. I want to keep growing.


Profile for FORGE. Art Magazine

FORGE. Issue 3: Allure  

FORGE. is a quarterly submission based art magazine, with the sole purpose of showcasing the work of different artists on the internet and a...

FORGE. Issue 3: Allure  

FORGE. is a quarterly submission based art magazine, with the sole purpose of showcasing the work of different artists on the internet and a...