Some answers to an interview I did a while back…
What / who inspires your artwork?
All kinds of things inspire my artwork. I get a lot of ideas while hiking in the mountains. It’s a meditative process to go out by yourself and just think about everything that’s going on. I have a million projects happening at the same time… all the time, so when I get out and just think about everything, it helps me clear my head to think about new things. I notice and appreciate a lot of the patterns in nature, things like bark, leaves, clouds, mountains…they all have repetitive aspects. I like to draw things with patterns.
How do you come up with the themes for your work?
Sometimes ideas come out of thin air… and often I’ll get quick flashes or visions of something that I know I have to sit down and work out. Some of them are from dreams, some from memory, subconscious, it really comes from everywhere…The themes vary…sometimes I will have a pretty specific feel or mood in mind when I start out…other times, it sort of develops as the work unfolds… it can guide itself.
How do you choose your colors?
My color schemes work much the same way. Sometimes I think ahead, and try to stick to a certain idea throughout a piece, like…this sky is going to be mostly purple and blue… or these pine trees are going to be green and aqua. Other times it can end up so different than I had planned… and as I’m working across the piece, some colors will inspire me to try different colors that I might not have thought about using before… I have a gigantic pen collection and I have really learned what each color looks like over the past few years… There is a very subtle but important difference between Sunburst Yellow, and Canary Yellow that can make or break the design… and to know what each one of these colors in going to look like ahead of time really helps.
That is one thing I really like about working with pens…the colors are very consistent.
With all of my work, I start with pencil sketches, and then go back and outline with black pens… kind of like the process in tattooing where you create a stencil from a reference. As I am working on the black lines, I start to think about which colors would work best for each section… I like to use colors in groups, usually two or three combined in each section or pattern. I also use a lot of highly contrasting colors, like orange and purple together, or yellow and blue. I think this helps things vibrate and adds energy to the patterns.
What are the meanings of your artwork?
I prefer to leave the meanings of my work mostly up to the viewer. I do like to explain what inspired the particular piece, and talk a little about the process, but what it means, is really up to you. Artwork is meant to be interpreted differently by each viewer, we all bring different mindsets and backgrounds to a viewing experience, and that is what is so special about when people connect. There is really no predicting how or why someone will love a piece of artwork… if you love it… you love it.
I can say that overall, what my artwork is to me, is energy. Cosmic vibrations if you will. I attempt to capture and preserve some of those vibrations on paper, or canvas, or the computer screen, or whatever it is, so it can be observed and reflected upon. This work is an interpretation of how I see the world. Colorful, vibrant, and full of life.
What media do you use?
The media I have been using for the past 7 years is a combination of pencil, pens, and Photoshop. As I mentioned earlier, I start with a pencil sketch, outline with black pens, and then color them in with markers, mostly Sharpies and Prismacolor. All of these drawings are 8×10, so pretty small. I then scan them into Photoshop to enhance and manipulate. I usually play with the hues and saturation of each section to get the balance between the colors that looks best to me. I will also re-draw a lot of the black lines and sections to make them really solid. No matter how precise you draw with a pen on paper, when you scan them at 300dpi and zoom in at 600%, there are many imperfections that become apparent. I am a perfectionist, and I like to get things as clean as possible on the screen before these go to print. I then enlarge them and print on canvas, and the result is pretty awesome to me.
Also, I’m interested in psychedelic artwork in general and yours is really cool, how do you get your ideas?
What psychedelics can do is open your mind and vision to a level that you don’t normally observe. I think that those levels are always there, they just happen to go by unnoticed most of the time. Once you have be exposed to those levels, they are much more apparent and easier to see in your day-to-day, whether it was drug-induced, or by spiritual awakening, or your just having a good day. This level, for me, includes many patterns, and as I draw more and more, I have built up a catalog of patterns that I use often. Some of these patterns will inspire new patterns in new pieces, and so on. Before you know it, the whole thing is a pattern, that’s part of a larger pattern, that can reveal things you didn’t see at first. Which I think is the essence of psychedelia.