Tag Archives: interview

New Artist Showcase: Kevin Stanton

This is a post in a series of interviews featuring up-and-coming illustrators, in a celebration of the first annual Illustration Week.  Enjoy!

Kevin Stanton

Website: http://thegreatwindmill.carbonmade.com/

Blog: http://greatwindmill.blogspot.com/

Tell us about your work making paper-cuts. How did you get into it?

I work in hand-cut, multiple-layered silhouettes. Using paper as my primary medium came about as chance, but has its roots in my past. Even as a kid I was interested in working in paper, starting with making increasingly complicated paper snowflakes. And when I took an Introductory Chinese class, we used X-actos to cut out patterns out of construction paper and I chose the most intricate one (and used the a really terrible blue and yellow color combo, ugh).

But it wasn’t until I was taking a class that worked with the New York Observer and doing an editorial assignment every week that I finally got to paper. The entire class got the same assignment that was then submitted to the Observer, that would choose one person’s piece and publish it. Every week I tried a different style – watercolor, ink, cardboard and paint, ink resists, etc. After all but the last week had gone by, my professor (Rudy Gutierrez) gave us a final, optional assignment. Around the exact same time that I decided I probably wouldn’t do it, I stumbled on Elsa Mora’s work – a Cuban artist who creates gorgeous folksy silhouettes – and I was determined to try it myself. The end result was being published for the first time and deciding that paper would be a really interesting medium for illustration!

Where do you get your inspiration? Are there any other artists doing similar work that you look up to?

Inspiration for me comes from a lot of places. My work often depicts natural themes and I can safely say that I am greatly inspired by Nature. And even though my work is typically made in flat colors and out of paper, I seek inspiration in all forms of the creative process. I love Walton Ford’s work for his gorgeous, gigantic Audubon-style paintings, Sam Weber, The Museum of Natural History, Salish tribal art, Van Gogh, Magritte, Klimt, Lizbeth Zwerger, and a pinch of Mucha. Fashion always inspires me, when it manages to be both ambitious and beautiful (I’m talking about you, McQueen, and your protegé Sarah Burton). Graphic Designers and Typographers always have the power to blow me away with the right project (currently crushin’ on Jessica Hische’s type work). Ancient Mythology, Witchcraft, and Nintendo too. I’m truly an obsessive researcher and love to find a thousand pictures of things that are so different from my own, and so powerful.

I am definitely inspired by other paper artists, but I don’t find myself looking at them very often or specifically for inspiration. Elsa Mora, of course, my alma mater of cut-paper. Kako Ueda does gorgeous, big pieces that combine flat paper with oil (or maybe gouache). Her work really fascinates me in its complexity and its darkness. Rob Ryan does a lot of really effortless-looking pieces that are sweet in their kitsch. And Bovey Lee’s use of perspective is always of great interest to me (find her piece that has a dress hanging on a chainlink fence and you’ll know what I mean).

The thing that I think sets me apart a bit is that cut-paper is by and large a fine arts world, with Rob Ryan being an exception there, and maybe Elsa Mora a bit. I had to think hard about applying paper as an Illustration form, because it can be pretty unforgiving, but definitely rewarding.

What is the process of completing one of your pieces?

The process differs a bit depending on whether or not I’m working in multiple layers, or if there are interwoven pieces, etc. But I always start with thumbnails that become bigger sketches, mainly for perspective and composition. Colors come later, and I go to my collection of paper that is simultaneously way too big and not nearly enough to pick out the appropriate palette. Then I start with the topmost layer, draw it out, cut it out, trace it on to the next layer, and keep working like that until it’s finished.

What are some of your favorite go-to materials, papers, etc.? Do you enjoy using any other mediums?

Hm… there’s a brand of handmade papers at New York Central that I love, especially this one orange that I’ve used too much lately. And I bought this textured, dull silver that I can’t wait to find the right project to let it loose. Indigo and Ivory are my black and white respectively, although I do use a bright white to contrast the Ivory sometimes. Canford cardstock is a great paper for its weight and the colors are really good. And always, always, always, a Number 11 X-acto blade.

And yes, I love working in watercolor. It’s funny to me because watercolor is so layered and diaphanous, with beautiful stains, and it’s very much the opposite of my paper work in a lot of ways. But I do love it, and am actually working on a Children’s Book that is going to be done in watercolor and ink.

Where do you see your work going in the future? What venues do you see your illustrations working best?

Lately I’ve been playing around with taking a complicated pattern and placing it on a piece of paper that is the same color, achieving a more subtle effect of shadows. It’s a lot of work for some shadows, but I’m a big fan. And I’m getting into a lot of typography too. New colors on the way!

I have to laugh a bit at the last question because I’ve spent a lot of time since graduating exploring a lot of venues. I’d really like to get editorial work, and a lot of people in that area have expressed interest. Being asked to do a few giant one-layer silhouettes for window displays is a fantasy of mine. Without a doubt, I want to publish an illustrated book done completely in paper. Album art would be incredible, especially if it were incorporated into the entire design. And I think that my dream job is doing book covers. I know that Penguin occasionally hires an illustrator to design a line of books and that would absolutely extraordinary. In the end, I’m open to everything. I always want to tackle new challenges.

New Artist Showcase: Danny Quirk

This is a post in a series of interviews featuring up-and-coming illustrators, in a celebration of the first annual Illustration Week.  Enjoy!

Danny Quirk

Website: http://www.behance.net/dannyquirk

Blog: http://danquirk.blogspot.com

Your work is incredibly realistic. What is your process of completing a painting?
Everything is a staged photograph, collaged/comped in Photoshop, and that finished ‘comp’ is my sketch. From there, if I have time I’ll draw it out, or else graphite transfer the image onto paper. From there, just start painting away. ha. For the Marines series, bought uniforms/guns/props (all current to date/location) and used that as reference. If there’s one thing I can’t stress more ESP for realistic artists, it’s DO YOUR RESEARCH/ HAVE SOLID REFERENCE.

It just makes a world of difference in the final.

The anatomical ones are actually lots of fun to do. Generally speaking will ‘dissect’ a region of the body and photograph it. How I go about this is I’ll draw the anatomy ON the body, exactly where it would fall under the skin in permanent marker. From there, paint flesh tone latex over the anatomy, and have the subject cut it/peel it open, so when photographed, there will be the exposed anatomy in slight perspective as it would move with the body.

What gallery shows has your work been in lately? How did you pursue those opportunities?
They started off a lot with restaurant gallery places, and kind of worked their way up from  there, a really awesome place everyone should check out is G2 Ave A, it’s  free to show in, and the artist keeps 100% of the sales (shown there 3 times so far). From there showed in the 320 studios, and then did a showing of the military pieces in the 69th Fighting Regiment’s Armory. There were others in-between, but I won’t bore y’all with that. haha. But one MAJOR thing learned from these is network your asses off. Go to shows, be proud of your work, and talk to people, form alliances with those who are similarly different to you. It’s easy for galleries to turn down 1 artist at a time, but the more you have coming in, with strong work of similar themes/different styles (or vice versa) they’re less apt to turn you down, giving yourself another opportunity to be seen, and fact of the matter is, you just never know who could come through and see it.

How did you get into drawing Celtic knotwork?
Haha, it’s kind of embarrassing, but I was always fascinated by it, but never knew how to do it… My freshman year at Pratt, there was this girl I was totally head over heels for, and decided I’d break the news with an elaborate Celtic love letter. haha. Needless to say the feelings weren’t reciprocated, but it got me hooked on learning more about knotwork/means of construction, and to this day, it’s probably my favorite genre of work to do.
What excites you about Medical Illustration? Do you have any advice for other illustrators looking to get into the same field?
What I love about medical illustration is it is probably the ONLY field in illustration (or art for that matter) where work outweighs the worker. Plus, hyper technicality/realism is the only acceptable way to produce it.  Sadly, it requires a lot if extensive schooling (which is generally the main deterrent) but as soon as you’re out, almost guaranteed a JOB, not freelancing, but a real job. ha. Starting pay is roughly $60,00 a year, but if you’re talented/knowledgeable, not uncommon to exceed $250,000 a year off the work. Generally these top dogs work with law firms/pharmaceuticals, but that’s actually where most the ‘work’ comes from. Law firms need artists to illustrate/educate the jury in medical malpractice cases, and pharmaceuticals need artists to show how their products work. ha. One thing I’d offer to those interested (I totally regret not doing) is DON’T major in art, major in science/minor in art. There’s much more of an emphasis on science aspects and such that you’ll be at a massive disadvantage upon being accepted. First year is basically graduate level med school, which is why I’m taking a bunch of science courses as we speak. ha.

If you could meet any artist, dead or alive, who would it be?
Hmmm, being a massive Tool fan/appreciator of his work, I’d say Alex Grey. But that’s a borderline cliche answer coming from me. ha. Dead though, it would definitely have to be Jean Baptiste Boughry… He was an anatomist/surgeon/artist, and spent 25 yrs making his book “Atlas of Human Anatomy and Surgery”. It’s  pretty much my Holy Grail. Work is amazing, deliciously detailed, and totally worth every penny. It sucks as an anatomy book though for anyone not familiar with the body because nothing is labeled, but absolutely gorgeous work. If only I could have been one of the hundreds of flies on his wall and seen his process.

Students @Pratt Interview

photo credit – Tina Fey, my definition of success, ready for her close-up

Feel like being a success story? Then head on over to the Institute’s Career Services’ Pratt Success blog.  Not only did they just interview me about the Star Bright Books titles (as a Peer Counselor, I regularly contribute there so it’s not a big surprise…), but they also have TONS of great interviews and advice from Pratt alumni who are truly makin’ it in their fields.  I especially recommend watching the Career Coffee Break videos, and maybe getting yourself a cup of joe – and success – while you’re at it.

More Literate Than Lauren Conrad!

Thanks to The Longstockings blog for highlighting the “expert” interview of author reality star Lauren “LC” Conrad on EW.com’s Shelf Life.  It’s no surprise that the girl couldn’t have come up with a genuine answer if she tried (Goodnight Moon? Really?), and it’s pretty funny. I feel for her ghost writer.

I decided to show the West Coaster how it’s really done… by filling out the interview for myself.  Read on…

Favorite book as a child / There were SO, so many, but my standard answers as a child were Rechenka’s Eggs by Patricia Polacco for my favorite picture book, and as I got older, The Trumpet of the Swan by EB White.

Book you’ve gone back to and read over and over again / I’ve probably read the Golden Compass by Philip Pullman dozens of times in my life, and it is fascinating in a completely different way now than when I was 10 years old.

Required reading that you hated / God rest his soul, J. D. Salinger, but I genuinely hated Catcher In The Rye.  I’m sorry, but that’s what I would’ve said last week.

Fictional character you most identify with / She’s not fictional, but Sloane Crosley, whose memoir I Was Told There’d Be Cake had me in stitches for weeks, is the Westchester-Jewish-writer version of myself.

Favorite book by a fellow celebrity / Does David Sedaris count? How about Amy?

Favorite book as a teen / Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli, is pretty much the reason I made it through my adolescent years.  She was my role model… I used to read it over and over for reassurance.  My dog-eared copy still sits on my shelf at college, and I’m pretty sure I’ve teared up every time I’ve read it.


Book you’ve faked reading / I try never to use SparkNotes, but I did fake reading Nietszche. He’s not my scene.

Book you’d use as a doorstop / Janson’s A History of Art is the requisite doorstop of any art student.

Book you want to read next / I’m simultaneously reading The Help and Double Take, but the top three books/audiobooks I’ve been dying to get to for months are Sarah Vowell’s Assassination Vacation, Love In The Time Of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine.

Book that changed your life / I already mentioned Stargirl, so here is my cheesy runner-up answer to make LC proud: last year, He’s Just Not That Into You became the first and only self-help book to change my life. Seriously. Now, it’s the book that I want to use to slap my girlfriends in the face.

Book with the best movie version / I’ve always had a soft spot for High Fidelity, and the movie adaptation is almost as witty, poignant and entertaining as Nick Hornby’s novel.  More recently, I was blown away by Precious: based on the novel Push by Sapphire, and I keep picking up the book in stores but I don’t think I have the guts to read it (if you can believe it, the movie actually glossed over a lot).

Best author to read on airplanes / I always read short stories, like No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July, that keep my attention, but I can fall asleep and not lose my place if I want. Just make sure the person next to you isn’t reading over your shoulder at the inappropriate parts.

Fictional character you have nightmares about / After reading The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen in 4th grade, I had nightmares about the Holocaust for the rest of the year!