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Interview with Virgin Mobile
Virgin Mobile
Published on 5/01/2007

Interveiw with Virgin Mobile for thier subscribers. You can read the interview below!

Since I know very little about you, tell me where you grew up and what it was like, what your favorite toys were as a kid, how you entertained yourself, what bothered you, etc.

I grew up in Los Angeles, CA in a nice little neighborhood full of stucco houses. I always remember loving toys, cartoons, national geographic, coloring books, cheesy tv shows, riding bikes, rollerskating, and such. My mom never let me have Barbie dolls, but I remember liking He-Man and She-Ra, Monchichi, monster toys that came with slime, Cabbage Patch Kids, microscopes, play-doh, climbing trees, building booby traps, legos, remote control cars, and playing dress up as Wonder Woman (my dad was a prop master on the tv show so I played with her wristbands and golden lasso). I was always on the more creative side of things with a big imagination. I always liked sleeping in and staying up late, which i still do.

Describe your initial exposure to art.

I went to art magnet schools from 6th grade to high school, so I had lots of opportunities to experiment with different methods of art; I was making stained glass windows in 7th grade, and developing my own photographs in the darkroom in 10th grade. I was always drawn to art, but in high school I really wanted to become a photographer. But as time went on I started taking drawing and printmaking courses in community college and really fell in love with that aspect of art making again. It was then I knew I wanted to be a painter and I knew that's what I was meant to do. I was glad I got to experiment with so many diverse methods of art making, I feel it really gave me a well rounded experience and helped me focus in on what I really wanted to do.

What was your experience in art school like?

I loved it, I got to learn from some of the best painters in the world. It was inspiring and competitive- it was a great environment for me to work in. It wasn't easy though... I remember someone telling me once that Art Center was like the army of art schools because it was so tough and the workload was so intense. And it was, but it gave me an amazing work ethic which is extremely helpful to my career now.

You teach a class on Concept Illustration at Parsons in NYC. What exactly is concept illustration and how do you go about teaching someone to do it?

In my concept illustration class I teach the students to develop their conceptual skills by showing them how to break down and rebuild an idea. They strengthen their verbal and analytical skills by explaining and discussing their ideas and solutions. I guide them in creating interesting narratives, help them verbally articulate their intentions, and show how personal experiences and the past shape the future. Also to avoid clichés and challenge and allow themselves the freedom to experiment.

Music plays a big role in your work. What’s your relationship to music and bands like?

Music has always been an extremely important aspect in my life. I taught myself how to play bass at 15 and have always loved to see live music. After I graduated college, I finally had the time to be in a band, play shows and tour. So naturally I was the one to make our fliers since I was the artist. So that's how I started making rock posters, starting with my old bands, then onto small venues in L.A., then it all grew from there. I also have a ridiculously large music collection and DJ sometimes too.

When a company hires you to come up with something for them, what’s the hardest part of the process?

I'd say the beginning phase of creating the concept and theme is hardest, then trying to create the right image to express that. I start out with writing and brainstorming to get the idea solidified, then I begin making small thumbnail sketches. Sometimes I figure the imagery out right away, sometimes it takes pages full of roughs to get it right. Then I make the final drawing, then begin painting the image.

Your work is kinda cute, kinda demonic, kinda glam. Would you describe yourself or your life as such?

Yes, I guess so, I think the art one creates definitely reflects their life and culture. My art can sometimes be quite personal too. I definitely enjoy creating a certain tension within my imagery... cute but weird, elegant and beautiful but shocking. Sometimes people describe my work as gothic, but to me it's not. I've never been goth, I'm much more into rock, metal and indie music. One comic I did covers for was about 3 goth witches, so maybe that's where people get that idea from.

What’s with the recurring heart-shaped void in the chests of your subjects?

Initially, I created that character when I was sketching out ideas one day when I was in college. I thought it was such a strong, powerful image I continued to use it. Years later I went through a really emotionally heavy breakup and painting that character was extremely cathartic for me. That image definitely developed into a recurring theme I like to explore. The cycle of love and the loss of love will happen numerous times in one's life. Now she has taken on a life of her own. I think it's an image a lot of people can relate to and empathize with.