1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
My name is Justin Middendorp. I’m a classically trained illustrator born and raised in the Bay Area of California and San Francisco.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
When it comes to art I love heavily shape based images and images that rely on a strong geometrical guideline. That and gorgeous limited color palettes.I like to let the colors of my images add to the depth, character and overall mood of an image. You’d be amazed at how color can change and image.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?
My favorite medium is digital, more specifically Adobe Illustrator. I love the crisp clean lines and shapes you can create and how easily you can manipulate and alter colors, edges and line weights.
4. What is your artistic process like?
I like to get started by just loosely sketching ideas down so that I can work out what does and doesn’t work. From there I usually start by creating some of the rough shapes that I will then modify or add or subtract smaller shapes from. When I start working in Illustrator I typically have a pretty clear picture in my head of where I see the finished artwork.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
Oh man there are so many great illustrators that inspire me everyday to become a better and stronger artist. For a very long time now my biggest inspiration has been Norman Rockwell. They way he was able to turn almost mundane everyday life and stories in to extraordinary works of art is incredible. Another huge inspiration for me is Charles Harper. I love well designed shape based illustrations and when it comes to simple shape based illustrations I don’t think anyone did or will do it better than Charles Harper. There’s some other incredible artists out there like Marie-Laure Cruschi and Matthew Woodson that always inspire me to push my skills as a designer and an illustrator. A lot of my ideas for my actual illustrations come from everyday life or things I’ll see around me. You can find inspiration all around you, you just have to have an eye to see it.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
Art and good design in general plays a huge factor in my life.I try to surround myself with creative art books, well designed desktop accessories and prints. The more you surround yourself with good art and creativity the more it starts to rub off on you. When you start to recognize and understand what makes good design you start to see it everywhere around you, in nature, in architecture, cars, and clothes. I find myself looking at things and thinking woah this could make for a cool inspiration or it inspired an idea within an illustration.
7. Where did you study?
I studied at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Side note don’t go to a school just because they say they’re the best or you notice that good artists come from the school. It’s really about the amount of effort and time your willing to put into your craft that determines your skill. That’s something I didn’t learn until after art school and I’m hoping someone else can learn from my mistakes.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years? Working in an agency?
In five years…. hmm that’s tough because I’m sort of playing things by ear at the moment. I would like to work for a big company such as google, facebook, or apple; for the experience and the skills I could learn by being surrounded by so many great designers. I could definitely see myself working for an agency. I currently am freelancing so it’s nice always working on something a little different.
9. What about in ten?
Within ten years I would like to be making major strides in my art and the companies that I’ve worked for. I have goals of teaching later in life and I would like to have as much real world experience as possible so I can teach students about how art works within different environments and prepare them.
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
Honestly if one person out there looks at my art and it inspires them to do something creative then I’ve done my job an artist and an illustrator.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?
I’m a little more reclusive then most people would probably guess. I love a good cup of coffee or latte and I enjoy spending most of my time with my wife at home with our animals or in nature hiking. I love any type of breakfast food or anything mexican food.
12. Favourite book?
I honestly don’t do much reading. The only thing I typically flip through would be art books from classical illustrators or comic books, but when it comes to comics my favorite would have to Saga. It’s fantastic and illustrated incredibly well.
13. Favourite genre of music?
90s Hip Hop for sure or anything by MF Doom.
14. What are your hobbies?
Anything from video games, working on side projects or illustrations, hiking around the bay area with my wife, or just chilling and watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race with my wife and our cat.
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
I’ve actually given this some thought lol if something were to happen and I wasn’t able to draw I’d probably become a drift car racer. I love cars; there’s just something about the roar of a v8 or turbo charged engine I love. It’s exhilarating getting thrown back into your seat when you’re stomping on the gas.