How did you get your start in illustration?
I have been drawing since I was a little kid. I used to draw pictures on the back of my homework and then one day I quit doing the homework part and just drew pictures. I got in trouble for it a lot. Professionally it has been a steady climb. Each job that I have had requires more and more individual skill and so I get to use my skills more and more as I go.
Draw and then draw some more. Don't worry about having a distinct style, that will come on it's own. Just keep on drawing.
I am greatly influenced by Japanese ink paintings. I really like the intricate patterns and flowing fabrics that they portray. Originally it was the dragons and tigers and things that got my attention and I used to draw a lot of scary stuff, but I find that making things pretty is a much harder feat. Anyone can draw fangs. Try painting a willow tree pattern onto the bottom of a dress while it blows in the wind if you want a challenge.
Its the degree of difficulty of it. Plain and simple. I don't have any Japanese tattoos or find any deeper spiritually in any of it, but it feels like it means something. The Japanese stuff feels like it has purpose. Kind of a tradition that can be built on and expanded. Paint a picture of a guy from Kentucky and everyone will ask who it is. Paint a Japanese lady and people will make up their own story. To me that gives it more life than I can give it on my own.
If you were asked to paint a mural without worry of theme or how ridiculous/insulting it would be, what would you paint and where would it be?
Besides a shark with eagle wings and bear claws? I always had this idea of making George, Lizzy and Ralph from that Nintendo game Rampage to scale and hanging them off the sides of some buildings. You just can't joke about tearing down buildings anymore. Not even for high scores. I think whatever it is, it would have to have an element of awe. It's one thing to do something well, it's another to make people wonder how it's possible.
Age old question with a twist, you’re able to invite two of the most influential people to dinner (dead or alive) but you want to spend time with only one of them. Who would you invite, and who would “forget” to invite on purpose. Feel free to talk about why you've made these choices.
Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain. They wouldn't let Franklin write the Declaration of Independence because they were afraid he would hide a joke in it. He was also into some crazy stuff and makes a cameo in almost every rap video ever made a la the hundred dollar bill. My kind of guy. Also happens that he could draw, invent, influence, all that. I would forget to invite Twain because I know he would just tell me what I already suspect to be true. That things have always been the way they are now and that nothing is new or unique.
There have been a lot. Seeing my art tattooed on a stranger was interesting and has happened a few times. It's tough to nail down because I try and appreciate all the little things that happen as I go and I try to do things better each time I do them. There was just a time that people started buying my paintings and they weren't the people that I thought would buy them. It's sometimes surprising but that's always been the way that it goes.
I am working on my first solo art show in a long time. It's going to open First Friday in April and is titled "Saints & Haints". It's going to be 7 pieces on wood as well as prints and other fun stuff.