Thursday, October 09, 2008

Mini interview

Every-so-often a student contacts me for a presentation they're doing on an artist. This is my little interview.

Blair: How did your interest in art start and form?

Jeremy: That's a tough question. I really don't remember because I've had a love for drawing since I was a small child. I think I showed talent from an early age, and I started to do it more and more because of the positive responses I would get. I remember once in kindergarten a kid drew Garfield on the chalk board, and I was so jealous. I've always been incredibly competitive about my drawing skills, so whenever I saw a drawing that I thought was better than something I could do, I would go into a drawing fury for days, or be totally crushed if it was well out of my league. I still do that sometimes.

Blair: What are some of your objectives or purposes for your art?

Jeremy: In my art I often try to show a part of a story that makes people want to know the whole thing. Like a single frame from a movie, taken at a peculiar moment. I don't want to spell everything out. Sometimes people tell me what they think my paintings are about, and they're wildly fantastic. Way different than what I had in mind while making them. I like that. That's my best work in anyway. Some pieces are more of a quick read. Especially many of the commissioned illustrations.

Blair: What do you believe defines your style?

Jeremy: I try to play with opposites a lot, I want to keep things balanced. If I feel like the subject to too macabre I might paint it pink to even it out. I don't know what defines my style honestly. I don't feel like I have one, but other people can always tell what's mine. I see a lot of blogs where people talk about my work, and the optimal word seems to be "creepy." The problem is that don't think my art is creepy, and I don't want it to be. Sadly, I think that's where true creepiness comes from. It's not something you can do at will because it will look contrived. The fact that it's unintentional only makes it more unsettling. I often feel as though my hand is possessed, and it corrupts my drawing ideas into the dark images that fill my portfolio.

Blair: Any challenges faced when creating?

Jeremy: I have many challenges to face when I'm art making. For one, I'm almost always too tired because of a sleeping disorder. I try to power through it. I have to spend a lot of time sleeping, so I don't have very much free time to draw. I'm not a full time artist, I have a full time job, and it makes it very hard to do as much art as I'd like. Also, it seems to be impossible for me to make something that isn't creepy. Every painting starts in my mind as a lovely thought, and is corrupted by the possessed hand. This is debilitating to my illustration career, which requires me to be somewhat versatile. The real money in illustration is in advertising, and there's not too many campaigns who's objective is to give thousands of people the creeps. I could try to adapt to a more commercially digestible style, but I wouldn't be happy. Instead I'm moving towards doing more gallery shows.

Blair: What is the concept behind "Snowman?"

Jeremy: Sometimes I suddenly have an odd idea, and it strikes a chord in me so deep, that I cannot ignore it no matter how random it seems. "Snowman" is one of those pieces. I always try to draw these ideas because often it makes sense to me later. I realized after I made this drawing that this is a very personal piece, and the snowman is actually me. At the time I was completely shut-down emotionally due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder following a gun robbery. An ice-man. I was also struggling with making the transition from college to full adulthood. I felt like this, a child trapped in an snowman's body.

Blair: What is the concept behind "Fridge?"

Jeremy: Some pieces I still can't explain, but there's something about the imagery that resonates for me. "Fridge" is one of those. I get stuck creatively, like anyone else, and I have many tactics to overcome it. Writing is one of them. I write about the subject I'm trying to illustrate, or just free-flowing sentences; whatever comes out. "Fridge" came from a short story, or poem I guess, that was about having a see-though girlfriend that lived in my fridge. I thought it was brilliant at the time, but I'm not confident in my writing, so I don't share it with people. It was probably total crap, and the product of a bout of mental illness, but I still like the drawing I did to accompany it.

Blair: What are your hopes for the future?

Jeremy: I hope in future that I'll be making a living as a well-repected artist. I think that's it really. I'm single-minded about my future. That has been my goal my whole life.

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