1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
While my parents and grandparents hail from New York City, I was raised in a tiny beach town about two hours outside of NYC. I took frequent trips into the city as a teenager and fell in love with the energy here, so when I turned 18 I moved to the city for college. I’ve now been here for almost 8 years.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
I aim to create works that are graphically bold from afar, yet have a lot of softness and detail once you look more closely. I tackle themes of environmentalism, the classic man vs nature struggle, the paranormal and the surreal. While I hope my work tells a story, I like to create a certain amount of mystery and intrigue so the viewer can be drawn in but ultimately interpret the stories within in their own way.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?
I make my professional work digitally, but love to experiment with pencils and gouache. I think I like these mediums because they can achieve both bold shape and color as well as a softer texture.
4. What is your artistic process like?
I start by creating many small thumbnails on paper to work out the composition of a piece. Once I have those ready, I move the chosen thumbnail into photoshop where I start to flesh it out into a workable sketch. Once I’m satisfied with the overall rough drawing and composition, I create a final line drawing with some shading using a thin pencil brush. I’ll then begin to work out a rough color palate, which usually changes as I go along. For the final touch, I have a library of scanned in textures that I’ve made by hand that I add into the piece to bring a hand drawn feeling into the digital work.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
I’ve been enamored with Henri Rousseau’s jungle paintings since childhood. I try to take inspiration from sources outside of modern illustration, from painters like Hieronymus Bosch and Nicholas Roerich, to photographers like Sally Mann, to folk artists like Henry Darger. I also have a borderline unruly collection of zines that are hugely fascinating and inspiring.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
Art is so important, especially in tumultuous times such as these. Art provides me with both a lens in which to better analyze the world and a valuable escape from it. I do consider art-making a somewhat selfish act. It is ultimately for me and about me, I’m fortunate enough that it has also provided me a way to make my living. Perhaps obviously, my life in consumed by image making and I hope to use it to challenge the status quo where possible.
7. Where did you study?
I studied at The School of Visual Arts in New York, from where I graduated in 2013.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years? Working in an agency?
I’d love to continue to grow my career as a freelance illustrator. I’m looking to expand into larger, longer-term projects like books, as well as experimenting with animation. I think I’d enjoy designing characters and environments for a show, but generally I like not being tied down to one job and freelancing allows me to pursue different options.
9. What about in ten?
In ten years I hope to be successful enough to travel the world giving lectures and workshops.
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
While I do hope to be able to always sustain myself financially with art, I really just hope that people who see it are intrigued and challenged by what I make. I want my work to open up a new world to people, and that they come away from my work still thinking about it weeks later.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?
I have a hard time picking definitive favorites for anything! I eat pretty much everything but could probably live on only Mexican food if I had to.
12. Favourite book?
I’m quite partial to Ursula K LeGuin’s “Earthsea” series. I’ve also been reading a lot of Octavia Butler, Lucy Corin, and Haruki Murakami lately. I’ll always have a soft spot for Kurt Vonnegut as well, since he was my introduction to the apocalyptic fiction genre that I love.
13. Favourite genre of music?
Its hard to choose! I was raised on a lot of Motown and 60’s girl groups, which are still in constant rotation. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I was really into punk rock as a teenager and still love punk and riot girl bands. Also lots of Nick Cave and Tom Waits.
14. What are your hobbies?
Cooking, reading, and traveling when I can afford it. I’m trying to read a lot more this year!
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
A research psychologist. I’m fascinated by the complexities of the human brain and could definitely see myself having dedicated my life to trying to better understand it. I also like to argue, so maybe I would have been a good lawyer.