Tuesday, December 18, 2012

ImagineFX Rising Stars competition and interview

I found out last month that I was one of 10 winners of the 2012 ImagineFX Rising Stars competition.  Now that the winners have been revealed in the latest issue I am honored to share this with everyone.  I haven't received my copy yet so I don't know who the other winners and honorable mentions are,  but I would like to extend a congratulations to them as well. 

I would also like to thank Lou Anders for all the nice things he had to say about my work in the article. 

I did an interview for them, and not all of it was published.  So if you want to read some incoherent rambling they managed to edit down for the article I have included the full version below.







- First of all, how does it feel to have been chosen as a Rising Star?

I was completely surprised and honored, I found out while I was at the airport on my way to Illuxcon (an illustration convention)  I couldn’t think of a better way to have started the weekend.

- How long have you been making art at a professional level? Was there a time when it all clicked for you, where you started working in a style that you could call your own?

I started working professionally about 4 years ago.  I would say everything started to click for me in the months leading up to and then at the 2010 Illustration Master Class.  That is where I painted Joan of Arc and really began to understand my own artistic voice.  Since then things have exploded for me.

- Was there anything about your upbringing that made a life in art inevitable?

Actually it was quite the opposite.   I didn’t really start drawing until I was 18 and even then it was only a few days a week as part of my degree in Digital Arts & Animation.  Over time I grew to fall in love with art and shortly before I graduated I decided that was what I wanted to do with my life.  My parents were thrilled!

- Where do you currently work?

I am working freelance full-time out of San Diego, California.   I am told we have some of the best weather in the world, I am thinking about going outside and checking it out one of these days.

- At what point are you now in your art career?

It’s really hard to say as a freelancer, especially this early in.  I wouldn’t consider myself " established" yet, but I am getting steady work and starting to attract some pretty serious attention.

- Do you have an ideal work position that you're aiming for in the industry?

Eventually I would like to just paint whatever I want, whenever I please.  I don’t know if that is a realistic goal or not though. and I am quite content to just enjoy the journey and try to give it my all along the way.  Honestly, I wake up most days and wonder how the hell I made it this far.

- Have you studied art? Has there been an inspirational teacher/person that's encouraged you to take art seriously?

I first studied art as part of my Digital Arts & Animation at Cogswell Polytechnical College.  An instructor named Thomas Applegate taught me quite a bit and was very influential and encouraging in my switch over to traditional painting.  From there I studied at Watts Atelier of Arts for about 5 years.  Everyone who taught me there was incredibly inspirational but E.M. Gist in particular acted as a mentor of sorts and really helped me grow to where I am now.

- What are your artistic strengths? (no false modesty now – you have just been chosen by the industry leading artists as the very best!!) - What do people most mention to you when they see your artwork?

Portraiture and the use of light and shadow are among my biggest strengths, they tend to feed off each other as well.   Just about everything else has been a weakness at some point.  Thankfully I can be extremely persistent and disciplined. Those aren’t exactly artistic strengths per se, but they have allowed me work through just about every artistic problem that has been thrown at me over the years.

- How have your studies at Illustration Master Class directed you in the kind of art you create?

Illustration Master Class was an amazing week that will stay with me for the rest of my life.  It also served as a catalyst for a whole lot of areas of art I was working on to come together and finally click.  Ultimately, I would have to give credit to my years at Watts Atelier for where I am today.

- Is your aim to depict a realistic character/situation, or a mood/feel that a viewer can inhabit? (or neither!)

I don’t really see those things as being mutually exclusive, quite the opposite in fact.   I think in order to depict a realistic character or situation you have to have a strong sense of mood or emotion.   I have seen exquisite renderings of humans that were devoid of any mood, and therefore never felt real to me.  Conversely I have seen many a character painting that, while not as technically brilliant,  felt incredibly real due to the artists skill with mood.  Rembrandt’s portraits jump off the canvas because he was an absolute genius at both.

- Would you ever move to digital art? It's a lot quicker, you know?!

Would you ever cook a steak in a microwave because it is quicker?  I work traditionally because I have a passion for working on a real physical object.   The discipline and persistence I talked about earlier stem from this passion and without those I am nothing artistically.  I am sure I could learn the tools easily enough,  but I don’t think I could really do what I do best on the computer.

-Any advice for aspiring artists?

I think a lot of aspiring artists sell themselves short in their work.  The most common theme I see amongst intermediate level artists is simply a lack of love and effort put into the work, usually in the details and backgrounds.  So much of what I do involves no great skill, but a mere willingness to put the effort into every square inch of the painting.  “Good enough” is never good enough in my opinion.  


4 comments:

  1. Congratulation Mike!!! And thanks for the kind words.

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  2. Great interview!
    And congrats on the publication!

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  3. Thank you for giving posts and articles were very amazing. I really liked as a part of the article. With a nice and interesting topics. Has helped a lot of people who do not challenge things people should know. You need more publicize this because many people. Who know about it very few people know this. Success for you....!!!

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