How did you get started doing what you do?
I have been drawing for as long as I can remember, but I never took it seriously until about a year and a half ago. I have been a snowboard videographer since my late teens and when the economy crashed a couple years ago, work in that field became more and more scarce. I ended up with a lot of time on my hands and so I have been painting every day until now!
What’s your inspiration?
I’m a huge history nerd with a fondness for early Medieval times to late Siècle des Lumières era. Ancient cultures and the way people thought and lived back then really fascinates me. I’m particularly attracted to European folklore because of my background and how that shaped me as a child, but the world’s mythical idea captivate me wherever they’re from.
What does your typical day look like?
I generally wake up pretty early, eat breakfast and go straight to illustrating until I’m completely brain-dead at night. Add a few meals and snack times in there, plus petting my cat Lolita and watering my house plants, and that’s a typical day for me.
How long does it typically take for you to finish a piece?
It depends on who I’m working for and what I’m working on. I can finish personal work fairly quickly, especially because now I know what I like and don’t like pretty instantly. It didn’t used to be like that, though. It would take me weeks sometimes to figure out what was wrong with a composition! When a piece is for a client, I would say that it depends on how much of a clear vision they have of what they want. When the concept is clear, an illustration can be made in a couple of hours. When I have to help the client through the art direction of the project, it can take up to weeks for sure.
How do you keep motivated?
Well, first of all, I live in the middle of the woods where I don’t have much chance for distraction and where I can keep myself focused for long periods of time. Also, since illustrating full time is very new to me, I find it just really exciting at the moment, so it’s easy to keep motivated when you’re excited about something you’re doing.
How would you say your surroundings have influenced your work?
The place where I live has a really static feel to it. It’s as though I’m living in a time-capsule sometimes. As depressing as that sounds, it helped me create this universe where all my illustrations stem from. Here, I can escape the more expected modern paths of life to live a simple, rich in time, life.
What do you hope to accomplish with your work?
Ultimately, I would love to create a self-contained universe with my work. You know how Tolkien created Middle-Earth and all its mythology? You can’t even count how many people borrowed from that universe. Anyway, in the meantime, the more realistic goal would be for people to recognize my work at first glance. If I can develop a distinct enough style for people to do that, I would feel satisfied with my contribution to the art world.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
I’ve been told once that everything we do now is an experience for the future. I always thought of it as a reference to math. Like you can’t jump steps because everything is building upon previous knowledge. That advice gave me a sense of perspective for future creative endeavours.
Any words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?
Create authentic work that is really you. It’s okay to borrow from others, but make it your’s. When work is truly personal and one’s hand can be recognized, I think that is a successful contribution. Also, simplify your lifestyle so you need less money and have more time to work on art. Time is so precious.
What are your thoughts on art school?
I’ve never been to art school so I can’t really say much about it besides I think it’s not for me. I can barely follow a pancake recipe without modifying it. However, I think it can create interesting social circles of artists and so it’s a good way to meet people. I don’t know very many artists personally and I’m sure I would if I went.