Aug 28, 2009

Interview

> Would you share with me what were some of your initial
> experiences with art?

I've been drawing since kindergarten. My teacher that I totally loved used to reward me with a happy face. A little positive reinforcement goes a long way. I doodled through highschool, and it wasn't until the last two years of my college education that I started to get serious. I sometimes wonder if what could have been if I would have just concentrated just a little harder when I was younger. I would be like... totally crazy awesome word is born destroy everyone, but maybe it is good that I am not, keeps me humble.

> When did you decide to be an artist, and how did you know?

I've always had an affinity for art. It has just always been my identity.

As far as career, working sales for two years after graduating college made me hate life. I had saved enough money to just drop out the rat race, and attempt to get an art job. I quit, and I got an art job two months there after. Boom Shaka Laka!

> Where did you grow up?

I done grew up in Murfreesboro, Tennnnnneeesseee! It's 30 minutes from Nashville. So it's probably easier if I say, I done grew up in Naaahshvillllle, Tennnnnneeesseee!

> What was your family unit? Did you have brothers or
> sisters?

Like 50 Cent and his crew, we just have a small unit. Two brothers, one older at 34, one younger at 22. I am the middle child. My parents are still married. I feel blessed about that.

> Did you have artistic peers growing up? In high school? In
> college?

Not much. My family, nor friends did art. Even in college, there wasn't really anyone who really stood out as an artist. (I went to a regular school)

Then ENTER. THE. INTERNET.

BLAM!

gfxartist.com
conceptarts.org
cgtalk.com
the now dead eatpoo.com
polycount.com

If it had not been the artist communities online, I would be suxorz today.

Get online. There are hundreds of readily accessible artists everywhere. You can make friends.

And unlike burn out, dope smoking art students in college throwing their parents money away, the level of skill, quality, and professionalism of those artists you can find and interact with online is unbelievable.

> Were there teachers that influenced you? How so?

Hrm... not really. Most of them were there to get a paycheck.

Although one time... Guanping Zheng aka Mr Ping of my digital animation class said,

"You will be good one day, if you continue to practice."

How lamely awesome is that? He was pretty much saying... yeah kid, you got raw talent, but dont get cocky, you aint in the big leagues yet, and hopefully you don't become a drunk or go knock up some girl and have to get some crappy 9-5 that sucks your life force and determination.

> What was the most important thing you learned in school?

That it takes more than just the classes in school to get you out there in the art world. You have to bust your hump after school, out of school, and forever and forever.

Being an artist is a journey. You cant ever stop.

Nor should you want to.

> Do you have mentors or other working artists who influence
> you today?

Well, not directly. I have the internet to critique me. They are more than willing to bash you.

I'd recommend it. People on the internet don't care to be gentle. Learn how to eat critiques.

> Would you say your occupation is the same as your career?

hrm...? no.

My ultimate goal is to be a famous artist so I can sustain totally on the income I can produce from my art.

Right now I am an Art Director for a couple websites. It helps me gain alot of noteriety which helps build my artist persona. Eventually, once I accomplish my goals with being an AD, I will transition or concurrently focus on building my personal brand.


> Did you have any benchmarks in your career? By the time
> I’m X, I’ll have done Y?

Not really. Just keep banging out art. Although having things to strive for like... winning contests, getting published, etc do help.

> Were there any gatekeepers in the art world for you, people
> who either let you in or barred the way as you were coming
> through?

Chinese voice. There is only one gatekeeper grasshopper. It is you.

This is how it goes.

I tried getting an art job. I wasnt good enough.

I got better and better. I got so good at marketing myself and my type of art, that the offers now come to me.

Chinese voice. When you cannot obtain the object of desire, make it come to you.

The philosophy has worked. The last two art jobs, pretty much landed in my lap. I didnt even need to interview. And even the other day, Billabong contacted me through email to see I would be interested in freelancing with them.

WAT!? MADNESS!

> Is there any professional organization that you joined that
> you found particularly helpful to your career?

Scoff. Professional organization is for the Union workers.

Naw. Just kidding. I've never joined an organization before. I bet it helps though with networking... although... why would someone give you a lead when they might find the lead useful themselves?

Really... I hate organizations. "Whosoever be a man, must be a nonconformist."

They just help to create groupthink.

Groupthink is for those who cant lead themselves.

> What do you think are the major turning points in your
> career?

I won a contest at designbyhumans.com. That yanked me out of obscurity into design contest famedom.

> What’s been your interaction with or relation to the
> public over the years?

Man. These are alot of questions man....

I am somewhat the persona associated with teefury.com and designbyhumans.com as "jimiyo"

It's interesting how being semi public figure will affect how people view you. Some people criticize me, some people lurve me. I've lost somewhat of my own personal voice, cause I have to keep a professional, entertaining, positive, upbeat persona online. I think it's actually caused me to become much better in human relations. Because I know how to handle possible landmines, and I also try to be intentional in my interactions to make it a win win.

> What kind of control do you think you exert over your own
> destiny as an artist?

Chinese voice. The movie Matrix is... a true story. You. Control. Everything.

> What are you own criteria for success as an artist?

I continue to create the art that I want to create.

Getting an art job is nice, but its still a job. Theres still gonna be THE MAN, who tells you how and what to draw. That suxorz.

> Has money or critical success influenced your artistic
> decision making?

No. I took my first art job at $10/hour yo. If I would have been like... oh, my sales job got me 55K+, and you want me to do art for $10 and hour?

I wouldnt be where I am today.

> Are you satisfied with your career as an artist?

Chinese Voice: Never be satisfied. Always strive to become better.

> What do you think is your greatest disappointment in your
> professional career? What has been you greatest success?

Chinese voice: There is no disappointment if you learn from every stumble.
Chinese voice: The greatest success is moving forward.

> What advice would you give someone who wanted to be an
> artist today, as opposed to when you started?

It doesnt take long to get good. Just like anything, it takes practice. Start today, tomorrow you will be better.

Srsly though... you know when its in you. You wont even have to ask yourself, do I want to be an artist, cause you wont have time to question if you want to be or not.

3 comments:

the_jcw said...

Thanks for the post, I think the best part is your last comment...oh and of course all that talking in Chinese

raymex said...

Do you sometimes feel that you are tired of sketching but your brain has so many ideas that you can't sketch them. Like i have so many ideas but i can't draw the exact figure/image that i want to. It makes me feel like stoping my career as an artist. It sucks here in the philippines i have a day job 8hrs 200pesos a day or 4$. If i will stop my day job then i can't rent some pc to design.

ameeeee said...

Jimmyyyy come back!