Not sure why I decided to do this but figured should do a Q and A for those who want to pick around inside my brain for information or just figure out a little bit more about how my mind works. Anyways I had posed the comment on my Facebook and deviantART accounts asking my friends and watchers to go ahead and post questions for me to answer. A few of them asked a couple, which I don't mind since it shows me what's going on with their thoughts. Let's get started shall we?
Ruben Young/Grey Matter: "So many questions. I already asked you my top ones, but let's see.... Is there a water color artist(s) that you truly admire as a favorite(s)? Where do commissions come from? Do you market them to strangers or get most of them from friends or family?"
Was a bit surprised when I saw that this was actually 3 questions. Well to start off with, I think a watercolorist who I admire greatly and has been one of the biggest influences on me and my art is a long time online friend Stephanie Pui-Mun Law. I had actually come across her by accident online when I was in college hoping that I could find some inspiration when it came to watercolors and found her website. We started talking off and on via emails before we really started corresponding on a semi-regular basis when I started my business back in 2006. What is hilarious to me is that even though she lives in Oakland, we have yet been able to meet up in person yet because our schedules keep countering each other. Another set of watercolorists I'm love looking at to get inspiration from or just to drool over their work is the combined talents of Deland Liu and Fox Su of deland-fox on deviantART. I've always been a fan of the amount of details and subtle colors they use in their works. Think another is SoMK who is also on dA. She's mostly known for her jewelry but she has done some lovely watercolors and has rushed to my aid online when I needed input on the best way to go ahead and add gold leafing to some of my pieces. Another artist who is also a long time friend and has influenced my work actually isn't a watercolorist but I still admire him. His name is Denis Peterson and he works mainly in oils and gouache on canvas and is known for his hyper-realism. He's been my main source for words of advice as to how to improve since I started up and like Stephanie, I haven't had a chance to meet him in person. I would jump on the opportunity but since he's mainly located in New York that is going to be a bit difficult.
As far as the second/third part of that group of questions, my commissions actually started off being for family and friends and actually still are but I've been slowly expanding. I actually market my work towards family, friends and strangers (strangers ending up being a result of either me talking to them or by a friend mentioning/showing my work to one of their family members/friends).
Jeannie Glockner: "How do you prioritize what sources you use for reference work? And, on a related note, what are the top 3-5 sources you reference from?"
Oh gees this one is like one of those trick questions on tests back in high school. It really depends on the piece. For the most part, I use a LOT of photo references for my work (so far the most I've used in a single painting has been 15). I have on my external hard drive alone about 23,985 files of picture references and most of those are photos that I've collected over the last few years looking for references on the web. Of course that collection is always increasing since I'm constantly looking for examples of items I want to do. If it's a piece with a religious, cultural or historical theme to it I'll go ahead and do as much research as I can before I even start piecing together in my head how I want the format to look. This ends up involving not only research on the internet but with my constant growing collection of reference books which cover everything from the Lost Books of the Bible, Torah and Qur'an to Chinese architecture, Balinese masks, and a catalogue of American made classic cars.
If I had to put a list on the most used sources I use, think they would have to be deviantART, National Geographic, The Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets by Barbara Walker, and
Celtic Art: The methods of construction by George Bain.
Alex Calder: "Would you ever paint with oils? Or have you ever painted with oils?"
Actually I used to work with oils back in college and absolutely loved using them save for the fact that our classroom had very poor air circulation, oils and the paint thinners were expensive, and if I wanted to work with them at home I would have to find a way to properly dispose of the fluids/paints when I was done with them. If I had the chance to work with them again (and if I wasn't the one who bought the stuff), I would jump on the opportunity but as it stands I think I'll go ahead and stick with watercolors where there's less possibility to create a disaster. Well that and the fact that the last time I worked in oils was in 2004 so I'm super rusty with the medium.
Misty Dalton: "Have you ever considered putting any of your art out as wearable items (purses, shirts, shopping bags, etc.)? Screen printing and ink stamping is easy for single color line art things and can be mass produced easily with a good size profit!"
I have to laugh at this one just because of the enthusiasm and I'm pretty sure there's a hint there with a mallet aimed for my head. Anyhoo the idea of putting designs onto t shirts and such has been a thought that I've batted around in the back of my head for years now but really has never gotten off the ground. I still occasionally enter into t shirt design contests and such when I am able to catch them but of course there's always people more talented then me that are chosen. The idea that someone would be wearing my art much like the tattoo designs I do for clients always excited me but sadly I really haven't gone much further then the concept. Perhaps I can peruse it at a later time but I'm not going to make any guarantees on it.
Travis Hanson: "Where do you find your inspiration?"
Hmm that's a tough one. Just about everywhere actually. The simplest way is from suggestions and conversations with people or even looking at looking at the pattern of a set of earrings or a scarf might spark something to cause the wheels in my head turning. Another one is just when I'm cruzing the net looking at updates from the various places that I visit. So pretty much there's no single location I get my ideas from. But if I had to choose just one source, I would have to say Asian and Indian culture since a lot of my work has a bit of eastern influence in it.