Are there any artists, events or public figures that have inspired your work?
There are too many artists to mention who have inspired me over the years. The people who initially come to mind are Norman Rockwell, John Singer Sergent, most of the Golden Age American Illustrators, and the easel painters including Zorn, Repin, and Sorolla. I am also inspired by Hokusai and Hiroshi’s wood blocks. I'm in awe of Peter Ellenshaw, the master glass Matte Painter from motion pictures since I first discovered him back in ’89, and of course Ralph McQuarrie! Russian painters have influenced my use of thick oil paint. I also admire Bill Sienkiewicz, the master comic book illustrator! I am inspired by his use of materials and mixed techniques. Bernie Fuchs' pioneering illustrative style was eye-opening! He changed editorial and picture making for everyone. I also appreciate Walt Disney and Miyazaki for their genius of animation and story-telling.
What would you say is your strongest skill as an artist?
At this point in my journey, I consider myself more a painter than a draughtsman. I started out as a layout artist, having drawn background at Disney for five years, but once I shifted over to DreamWorks as a Visual Development artist, I decided to draw with paint instead of a pencil or pen. For me, paint has so many more dimensions as a means of expression. My ability to create a moment that captures emotion is also an asset. I have developed the skill of searching for my voice amongst all the other voices fighting to be heard. Lastly, I enjoy composition and lighting design. These are trademarks for my art today.
Your resume is going to look familiar to just about anyone who has watched a movie in the last two decades. What’s it like working with companies like Disney and DreamWorks?
Both companies have given me so much since I began in 1992. Disney took the time to invest in my training, which has served me well ever since. DreamWorks gave me the opportunity to grow from a designer to a Creative Manager/Production Designer.
How have you seen things change for artists working in film with the rise of digital art technology?
I have seen more experimentation due to the new toolsets such as ZBrush, Modo, or Adobe® Photoshop®. Paper art is my training, but digital allows me to push my art into new places I never could before. I personally enjoy technology. In fact, learning how to light a CG shot has taught me how to create better lighting scenarios for my paintings. Classic art and technology work very well together.
You’re currently doing the 365 day drawing challenge. How are things going so far?
As of this writing, we are 144 days into 2018, and I have 120 paintings. I’m dedicated to sticking with it, and it’s been very rewarding to push myself.