I got this Mini Munny for Christmas last year, and I finally got around to painting something on it. There's some challenges in materials here, so I'll have to touch up some of the acrylic because it seems to rub off pretty easily. I'm going to have to figure out how to protect it. Suddenly it seems I have a character developing...hmmmm. I always wanted one of those, and never thought it would just happen naturally. I have a show at Doublepunch in SF in February, and since it is a toy store, I might just have to put this one on display. My favorite part is the butt crack. Makes me laugh every time.
I did an interview for Funswant Magazine (beware the loud gunshot sound) out of Taiwan. I think it's safe to say that most of the people who follow my artwork can't read Mandarin, so here's the questions and my answers in English. I tried to keep the language in my answers simple to make it easier to translate. I have no idea if it worked.
FW- Please u introduce ur background with art.
JF- I was always interested in drawing. I've drawn for as long as I can remember. I knew at a very young age that I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. As a child I mostly drew cartoon, comic book, and video game characters. When I finished High School I went to College at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. I majored in Illustration.
FW- How do u know that u like to draw and make it as ur career ?
JF- Drawing is a part of my life I can't live without. I have to do it. It just makes sense to me that if I'm going to spend so much time drawing, I should try to make it my career. All of my jobs so far have been doing things that aren't drawing. I washed cars, cleared tables at a restaurant, then started doing website coding after college. I would always draw at work when things were slow, even if I got into trouble, I still want to draw all the time. Right now I don't have a day job, so I just draw. I know I need to draw as a career, because I'll always be drawing, even if it's not my job.
FW- How do u imagine so many interesting subjects and then create them ?
JF- Sometimes images just jump into my mind, sometimes ideas happen while I'm drawing, and sometimes I plan to make a painting that expresses an idea in my mind. If I find something interesting, even if I don't know why, I try to include it in my work, then figure out why it appeals to me later. I draw whatever feels right in my heart, even if it doesn't make sense in my mind.
FW- What are ur tools for work and how do u define ur style?
JF- I use acrylic paint on wood panels most of the time, pencils, brushes. Traditional materials mostly. Lately I've been planning my paintings in photoshop with good results, but I don't like to make finished work in the computer, I find it unsatisfying. It's difficult for artists to define their style, I think nobody wants to think their art fits easily into simple categories, like it's common. I'd say that comics is the biggest influence in my work, as well as street art, and tattoos. I love good line work and draftsmanship.
FW- Who inspires u ? Other artist or designers u admire ?
JF- There's a lot of artists and designers that I admire, most of them are either from the art nouveau movement, or other movements from around that era, and people from the comic book industry. Names that come to mind are Klimpt, Mucha, Mike Mignola, Sam Weber, and of course James Jean, who everybody seems to like.
FW- As a creator, what's the most important thing u think that a creator should always keep in mind?
JF- I think all creators should try to be as true to their intuitions as possible. It's very difficult to make art that is your own, and to keep your influences out of it, but if you listen to your heart instead of your mind, you're much more likely to make work that is purely yours. I've only recently learned that, and I think it has made my work much better. Art today is too cerebral.
FW- What will u do if u changed ur career ?
JF- If I changed my career, I would be a very broken man. I think that art is a vital organ for me, so if I wasn't doing it anymore I would only be a shell of myself. That being said, I sometimes do web design, and that's probably what I'd be doing. It's not my ideal job, but I do like technical things, and there's lots of opportunities to be creative. Plus, you make a lot of money doing it, and there's a high demand, so it wouldn't be too bad.
FW- From ur personal portfolio I saw that “2005- Osaka University Print Exchange - Osaka University, December 2005, Osaka, Japan” , could u share with our readers that how the life in JP affect u most ?
JF- That was a group show I was in, but I wasn't able to attend. A screen-print of mine was selected by my college faculty to be in the show. I did, however, go to Japan last year, and I'm going again in about a month. I love Japan, and I find it's art and culture very influential. I like manga, anime, and ukiyo-e prints. There's a delicate quality to japanese art that I would love to master, but I've been unable to so far.
FW- How do u spend a day ?
JF- I wish I could say my days were exciting and full of parties, adventure, and debauchery, but in truth my days are pretty predictable. I draw and paint in the day, or work on something related to my art career, then often I do martial arts at night. I don't drink or do drugs, so I don't have fun a parties or clubs. I think my life would be better if I did more fun activities, but I'm kind-of addicted to working. I'm the kind of person who has more fun spending a night alone making things then at a party with tons of friends.
FW- What's ur next plan ?
JF- My plan is to have more gallery shows, and try to make the best work I can. Illustration work has been rare for me lately, so I've turned my efforts towards making paintings on my own. I like being able to paint whatever I please, and I've learned a lot about what I want to paint, and I am improving my style. There's a lot to think about in an artists career, and for the last few years I got so caught up in the business of it, that I forgot I needed to make great work. Now I know that all I should concern myself with is making the best work a can, so that's what I plan to do.
FW- At last, could u give some suggestions for the freshman in illustrations ?
JF- My advise for people starting off in illustration is to think of their art as emotional instead of mental. Art today is all about concept, and I want people to realize that art with emotion is not a bad thing. A lot of illustrators try to come up with some clever idea, like a punch-line you need to get out of the picture. There's nothing personal or emotional in them. I encourage illustrators to put their voice into their illustrations. Do what you want to, not what you think people want to see. That mindset will only get you into trouble. Finally, KEEP DRAWING!
I had a bit of rant about this earlier today on Society6.
"I feel that there's too many paintings of women that look sedated, mannequin or doll-like. Those paintings don't properly reflect reality, where strong, confident, and capable women like this are something I see everyday."
I want to add that there are many other paintings of women where they look unnaturally vacant, lobotomized even, as if the point of their lives was to pose and look pretty. As if the acuteness of their minds, and the achievements of their lives were irrelevant. What I find especially odd is that most or many of these paintings are done by women? Oh well, I can't concern myself too much with what other artists do.
I'm starting to fear that people aren't getting the play on words in the title. She's Metal, get it?
The scan didn't come out very well for some reason, so I had to take a photo of it. Acrylic on wood 5x7. It's for an art auction at Gallery Nucleus in LA to benefit the American Red Cross. There's some REALLY great artists lined up for this event, and I'm proud to be part of it. If you're in the LA area, check it out! I probably won't be able to attend, sadly. All the artwork is 5x7, and $100, but some of them are going to be auctioned.
Difficult to paint so small, but it looks really pretty nice in person. This one was inspired by my recent trip to Asia. If you look hard there's a little Tori gate in the background. I really like this idea and composition, so I might paint another, larger version for my show in February. Due to the size of this one, tattoos were not an option, but I think it looks good without them anyway.
Other news: There was an opening on Saturday at Doublepunch with some great artists. I was there for about an hour and met some cool folks. It will be up for about a month, my painting "Kissy Face" is hanging in it.
Furthermore, I met up with a bunch of people from Artsprojekt over the weekend at the Thread Expo, and they were super cool! If you're an artist you should submit and get yourself an account. It's easy to use to make all kinds of products, and there's going to be some neat stuff you'll be able to do in the near future, so get on it! http://artsprojekt.com/
I've been meaning to write about Photoshop's Photomerge function for a while. Basically, it's amazing, and it saves me a ton of time, money, and headaches. I feel like I tell people about it all the time, and it's not as widely used as it should be. For traditional 2D artists, it is essential knowledge in my opinion.
What you need: Photoshop, I think they first added it in CS, but I'm not sure. A decent professional grade scanner.
The first thing I do is scan my painting in pieces. This painting is 18x24x1 on a wood panel. I scan a painting this large in 6-8 passes, and I try to keep it straight. You only need about an inch of overlap to make it work with the Photomerge function, but I've found that the more information Photoshop has to work with, the better. I scan at 300 dpi. Important things to note: I'm using an Epson Perfection 1250 from 2001, and it still wrecks shop! There's also a lip around all the edges which does make a shadow, but Photoshop is smart enough to see that and correct it. My scanner is standard sized, I think the bed is 9x12. You don't need to buy outrageously expensive over-sized scanners.
Here's a shot of all the individual scans. They're tif's, but I usually save my scans as psd's. All your files need to be saved to use this function.
Now Go to File>Automate>Photomerge
This screen will come up. I always open all the tiles first, then choose "Add Open Files." I leave it on Auto, but maybe "reposition only" is better for this? I don't know for sure, but I've always been happy with the auto mode. Hit "OK."
About 30 seconds later I've got this! I check it to make sure everything looks ok, then flatten it. If you rotate the image without flattening it, the seems Photomerge made appear. If your paintings have a lot of similar areas Photomerge can get confused, so just do a couple other scans to help it figure out what goes where and you should be set. I don't recommend using Photomerge to scan large textures. I once tried to scan a large watercolor wash for use in my digital artwork, and it doesn't work for that. Also, sometimes if you change programs while Photoshop is doing the Photomerge magic it will mess it up. Overall though, I rarely have a problem.
Cropped and finished! I didn't even have to mess with any levels or anything on this painting. It scans VERY accurately. Good luck!
I have this list of characters I want to do paintings about. Many of them are popular fiction or occupation related. Milk man, astronaut, caveman, etc. My next painting was going to be of a gymnast, but a fellow asked me to do something zombie related for a book he's putting together, and that was on the list to, so I thought "Why not?" Here's a web version he's put together: http://www.jadedpublishing.com/projects/zombiemosaic.php. I guess the book will be different, I dunno. Acrylic on panel 18x24.
Show review from artbusiness.com: "Comment by AB: I'm here early, but the kind folks at Edo Salon are nice enough to let me in. Thank you for that. This time around, Jeremy Forson, essays on life in San Francisco-- elegant, genteel and Victorian for the most part, but sometimes it can be a long hard night. His tattooed tarts appear to basically update the Patrick Nagel idiom. Nice quality work overall."
Pretty accurate I'd say. I'm happy with this review. I hadn't thought of my work as being in the same vein as Patrick Nagel, but now now that he mentioned it, I think that's true, especially in the more stripped down compositions.
Here's some photos from my show. I can honestly say it was one of the best days of my life to date. The show was a success, lots of people came, and I had a great time. Showing at Edo is fantastic, and I highly recommend it. Nicole runs the show and she was great to work with, and a sweety! The show is up till 11-4. so check it out if you can!
End of the Night.
The DJ agreed to do it the night before, and even brought his records on BART from the east bay! He came through. They had bought the DJ equipment that day for the Salon, and were having some problems getting it to work. Luckily Eli and Alex were there and they got it working. Things went smoothly :)
Mural painted by myself, Nicole the curator, and Jerome. We painted from 9pm till 3 or 4am 2 nights in a row, and Nicole had to wake up crazy early after both nights. She's a trooper!
This illustration is for the a book called "Illest of Illustration 09: Conversations with Dean Cornwell" (I think that's the title) that's to be published by Ringling College of Art and Design. The first thing I want to say is that if you're going to be in a book with "Illest" in the title, what you submit should be nauseatingly good, or at least the best of your ability. Also, some of the other illustrators who are in line to be in this book could put my skills to shame, so I needed to step it up. This book is a tribute to Dean Cornwell, one of the forefathers of American Illustration, So if I'd hacked out some 2 hour drawing, and polished the turd with cheap photoshop effects, the piece would only serve as another reminder of how far the craft of illustration has fallen. Now that I've established the stakes, I can say with confidence that I've never worked so hard on a painting. For me this painting was epic. It's a long shot from Mucha's history of the Slavs, but I consider it a personal best in effort. If you've been keeping up with my blog, you know that the level of polish in my paintings has been on the raise. This is largely due to spending much more time working out the drawing in the sketch and rough phase, so that when I get to the finish there's little or no guess work. You can see here the the thumb is remarkable close to the finish in terms on composition. This is because I scan the thumb, blow it up, and trace if making is very polished, then scan that and blow it up to trace onto the painting. Since I've started doing this, I've realized that is is the way to go. The drawing gets to be much better by tracing, reworking it so many times. You also realize when lines or elements are not necessary.
Many people don't know who Dean Cornwell is, and I didn't know too much about his work before I started this project either. Here's some of the images which most directly influenced me during this process. This was a difficult project. Firstly, these are from the peak of representational painting, and much of that knowledge has been lost because art schools stopped thinking it was important to know how to paint, draw, or compose, and started teaching purely based on concept. The biggest challenge is the composition. He was brilliant at it, and I don't have a clue how he came up with them. I noticed a few things that I liked, and used them. Having a colder foreground character, rounded shapes at the bottom with vertical lines above, and making the focus of the painting higher contrast. I'm no Cornwell in compositions, but I did learn and improve from studying his.
I had this idea that I would add little notes at the end of blogs for any odds and ends that are on my mind.
NOTES: 1.Jason Shawn Alexander's work for Abe Sapian is killer! I always though he was a good painter, but found the similarities to Kent Williams disturbing. His new work has really come along, though, and it is fantastic.
2. Stopped looking at most other artists, especially my contemporaries because it's been too influential.
3. Stopped reading blog posts about me because what people say on them influences my decisions and often leaves me feeling trapped.
4. Painting a mural on a textured well is WAY more difficult than you'd think!