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1. What do you think is the difference between art and illustration?
I think illustration is art that’s more explicitly about storytelling. So much of contemporary (especially conceptual) art is removed from a direct and comprehensible conversation with the average viewer, that people are hungry for other means of visual expression. At this point, Illustration and sequential art offer one of the best means of creating art that is relatable and accessible. It’s why New Yorker covers still play a role in the national conversation, like Barry Blitt’s Obama Terrorist Fist Bump cover in 2008. He’ll probably never get as much credit as a Jeff Koons or the like, but Blitt is the better (and more provocative) artist in my book.
2. If you could draw something all day without stopping, what would it be?
Ugly dogs and cool cheeseburgers, like these ones:
3. What do you do to get into a work flow?
Isolate myself as much as possible: no TV, no friends, just art supplies and maybe a podcast or music (probably a song on loop). I’m not always great at maintaining this, but when I do, I get my best work done.
4. How do you finish a project? Or what does it take to go from doodled idea to completed illustration/sequence?
It varies. Some projects go from idea to the page in a day, others can take months. Sketching an idea out is always necessary, and I like to think about an idea long enough to make sure that it has legs, and that it still feels like it will work a few days later.
5. How do you get yourself to make your best work?
Breaking up my work into bite size pieces. I tend to get obsessed with how large a project is, or how much time it’s going to take me. I try to go through it step by step, and not let myself get overwhelmed. I take a snack break, read a few pages of a book, or go walk around the block, whatever will ensure that I get the work done without going crazy.
6. What is the relationship between text and image in your work?
I’m still figuring that one out. Sometimes I feel like my sentences are crushing the life out of my drawings, and other times that my drawings make my writing look flimsy. It’s a consistent struggle to try and find balance between the two.
7. What does your creative genius look like?
It looks a lot like this guy. He whispers ideas to me when I’m asleep or when I least expect it.
8. What is the mantra you use that keeps you going when work isn’t going well?
The author Barry Hannah said something about writing that’s always stuck with me whenever I get frustrated with a drawing:
"You’ve got that dream, that gem-like flame you want to apply to something you’ve seen or something that’s been in your heart a long time, and the first sentence murders it. It’s not going to be quite what you wanted. It breaks your heart a little."
As severe as that sounds, it always makes me feel better. Whenever the gap between what I imagined and what I’ve drawn is especially wide, I try my best to remember this, and just keep drawing.