Thursday, August 30, 2012

Interview with Danny van Ryswyk

q)Introduce yourself, name,age, location.

a)My name is Danny van Ryswyk, 40 years of age. I am a Dutch surreal artist living and working in the historic heart of Amsterdam.

q) Can you describe your path to being an artist? When did you really get into it?

a)You don't 'become' an artist, it's not a profession like a computer programmer or construction worker. You are born with a talent just as you are born with a sexual orientation. It is something you are. But it needs an incredible amount of dedication to develop this talent. Been born with a talent does not mean that you can lay back and relax, it is not an easy life. It also means that I am very one-dimensional in my talents and interests. This is what I understand and do best. And I try to survive from within these boundaries. In the early 90ties I started working as a full time illustrator, specialized in Photorealism. I did an incredible amount of packaging illustrations of fruit, cookies, candies, you name it. The deadlines in the commercial field are always tight and never far away form been totally unrealistic. I worked so hard for so many years that I started to develop serious health problems like chronic stress and RSI. How bad they might seem, it was important that it happened to me as I needed to wake-up and understand that I was going the wrong way and was completely destroying myself and my artistic integrity. It was then I began to investigate how I could do the things I always wanted them to do, tell my own story instead of telling the story of a cooky manufacturer. 

q) Describe your ideals and how they manifest in your work.

a)My ideals do not manifest in my work. I try to have as little ideals and goals as possible. It is important to
stay away from such illusions. We humans have a habit of always looking at tomorrow and have these future dreams. It is important we live in reality and not in illusions. The fact is, we never know what might happen just a second away from now.

q) Is music a part of your studio time? What do you listen to?

a)Sure, I listen to a wide variety of music styles. I highly prefer minimalistic dup techno like Basic Channel, and electronic ambient music like the works of Thom Brennan, it's hypnotic.

q) How would you describe your work to someone?

a)Obscure surrealism. My work is best described as a fuse of absurdity, melancholy and Victorian portraiture.

q) Influences?

a)My UFO encounter I had when I was a kid. This has a very important influence in my life and work. This was the point I became interested in anything which is said to exist 'above and beyond' nature.
I have a large collection of books about paranormal and extraterrestrial subjects. I love 19th century photography, especially hoaxed ghost 'spirit' photography from that period. I just love weird things and odd antiques. Dreams.

q) Describe your process for creating new work.

a)I have a mental image of an idea and I work from there. I never make a sketch, it takes away intuition. I start in ZBrush, which is three dimensional software. It is a complex program that allows the artist to 'sculpt' it's subjects in virtual reality. It works almost like real clay and gives an incredible freedom of expression. This is where my idea gets form and shape. After finishing my 3D-sculpture I import it in another three dimensional software program where I set-up light, camera and texturing. At this point everything comes together. Then I render the scene in high resolution and this is brought over in two dimensional software: Photoshop. In Photoshop I start to paint and manipulate my render for as long as needed to complete the right mood and obscure atmosphere I am aiming at. The whole process from start to finish takes many weeks to complete.

q) What advice do you have for artists looking to show their work?

a)Dedication, do something different. Stick to yourself and work from there.

q) What are you really excited about right now?

a)A holiday. I need a beach, a blue hawaii cocktail and some sunshine. I spend too much time in my studio.

q) What do you love most about where you live?

a)I live in the historic heart of Amsterdam. It is a very crowded place and lots of weird things happen here!
Amsterdam is beautiful. It is a big 17th century museum with a strange mix of tourists, yuppies, locals, laid-back people an lunatics. Amsterdam is never boring, you can go to a nightclub or wander in the small streets. Drink a beer on a bench and look over the channels, visit a museum and see the works of Rembrandt. 
I have traveled all over the world, but a place like Amsterdam is unique.

q) Best way to spend a day off?

a)Spend the day with my girlfriend, exploring the city, have some coffee, go to the movies and having a diner.

q) Upcoming shows/ projects?

a)I am working hard on new works all the time.

q) Where can people see more of your work on the internet?

a)I don't keep track of where my work is published. All new work is published on my site.
There is an upcoming book of Dutch artists where my work will be published in, I recently got
published in an San Francisco based art magazine called Sex + Design, art blogs like you contact me, lots of good things are happening!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Interview with Jesse Corinella

q)Who are you? Where are you from and where do you live now?

a)I'm Jesse Corinella, born and raised on Long Island in Roslyn, New York.  I went to school at the University of Delaware and, after a bit of traveling, I ended up back here in New York.  Presently, I live in Carroll Gardens, in Brooklyn.

q)What is it that you do? What media do you use?

a)By day, I work as a retoucher at Wieden+Kennedy, but by night, I work as an illustrator.  Most of my work is done in pencils, inks and watercolors, though more and more, I'm working digitally.  I don't think I'll every completely work digitally, but it's a tremendous time-save to digitally colorize analog drawings.

q)What do you think sets your work apart?

a)Everybody brings something unique to the table, be it conceptually or through their craftsmanship; lately, I think it's the way that I render, more than my subject matter, that's gained attention.  I really enjoy rendering, so whenever I get involved in a project, I'll spend tons of time focused on the minutiae of a piece.  As long as I can maintain a sense of scale throughout the rendering process, I always feel that the pieces come out stronger in the end.  Patience goes a long way, but to me, drawing is meditative.  I could never spend so much time doing this if I didn't enjoy it so much.  

q)How long have you been showing your work for?  Did you have a “big break?” 

a)I've been showing work since I was a kid, but not in any serious sense.  I was always the kid in school doodling in class, so I was always getting involved in small projects here and there.  I still haven't had any great break, but to be fair, I think I need to be producing more work to get there.  I don't think it's a single moment as much as it is persistence.  There's a lot of competition, so it's really important to keep fresh and updated with your work.

q)What are some things that have inspired you?

a)Oh, man.  Nature is a huge inspiration; pine cones, crickets, lightening bugs, dogs.  Outer space is huge too - I'm a really big science buff.  Lighting is huge too: the golden hour is my absolute favorite time of the day - that moment when the sun blares orange and red on everything it touches.  That blood orange on a concrete wall against a brilliant blue sky is something I think about every time I color a piece.  It's pretty unbeatable.  I don't follow design journals all too much, nor illustrators or photographers, really.  I probably should, at least to know what's going on out there.  I used to be a pretty big video game fan, but I've distanced myself from that world a good deal.  It's so easy to get lost in absorbing other peoples' products, so much so that you don't produce anything yourself.

q)What have you been working on recently?

a)For the past year and a half, I've been working on an epic science fiction graphic novel, OHM.  The story takes place on a dying Earth in the near future, in a world run by corporatized nations.  One such nation, OHM, is the centerpiece of the story.  I've been having a blast conceptualizing space ships, futuristic fashion and all sorts of fantastic architectural settings.  It's been a real project of passion, so at the end of the day, I'm hoping to knock this out've the park.

Also, I've been doing a bit of collaborating with a Brooklyn-based band, Snowmine.  I grew up with some of these guys, so it's great to see that they've gained so much traction.  They're really talented, so I hope that they keep getting the press that they deserve..

q)Do you listen to music while you create your work?  If so, would you give some examples? 
I do; I listen to a lot of ambient music.  Explosions in the Sk and Loney Dear come to mind.  I listen to a lot of talk radio too; WNYC is my go-to NPR and PRI affiliate.  I'm a really big fan of Radiolab and This American Life, so whenever I get a chance, I try to catch up with those programs.  Recently, I've been kind've obsessed with Joe Frank; I accidentally came across his work while working really late one night.  He's a brilliant, tremendously talented storyteller.  He produces both fiction and non-fiction and he goes to tremendous lengths to produce these wild, fantastical, rambling, biting stories.  Sometimes, they're light and fun and eccentric - but often, they're profound and dark and heart breaking.  They're great fuel to work through a long night in.

q)Do you do work in any other media? Other projects not necessarily related to your main body of work?

a)I do a great deal of writing, though it usually shows up in my illustrative work.  I do a bit of photography, too; I was simultaneously trained as both an illustrator and a photographer, though the pencil dominates more of my time than the camera nowadays.

q)What advice do you have for artists looking to show their work?

a)Keep working.  Stay really busy producing work that you're happy with.  Find the time to make a large body of your work, but even more importantly, share it.  As long as you have a cohesive idea or style, you'll be able to find someone, somewhere to help host it.  Once you've produced, get your work out there as quickly as possible; just make sure that it doesn't disappear into a drawer somewhere before other people get to see it.

q)Do you have any upcoming exhibitions of your work that you can mention?

a)Nope; I've been spending most of my time working towards a publication.  Once that piece is up-and-running, it'd be great to display all've the original pieces that went into it: character designs, setting designs, models and all sorts of production artwork.

q)Where can people see more of your work on the internet?