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?