Where were you born? Where did you grow up and where do you live?
I was born at Scripps in La Jolla. I grew up in Carlsbad and I currently live in Santa Monica.
What style would you characterize your art as and what is your preferred medium?
I would describe my art as unconventional cartooning. I really enjoy working with no.2 pencils, uniball vision pens (or as i call them “pens that flow freeley!”) Sharpie markers and colored pencils.
Who or what are your influences and how are they seen in your art?
My dad is my biggest influence. He gave me the only art lessons I’ve ever had which was to draw 2 eyes and form the rest around that. That’s what I continue to do to this day. I like “Big Daddy” Roth’s Rat Fink art and a lot of surfer and skater art. I guess the self-taught no rules applied art found in these areas are appreciated by me cuz it goes to show you that who cares how you did it as long as it’s cool. To be honest…I wish I could draw like Pushead…or John Severson. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I really appreciate the old Classical and Baroque art, because they could make those oil paintings so realistic, and realism is so beyond me.
What influences your art. Where do you find inspiration and how are those influences a part of your daily life?
My art is influenced by my surroundings and whatever state of mind I’m in. I get inspired when I think of a strange thought, gaze upon a strange character, listen to a great song, and when I get a slight head change going on. I find drunks, drug users, homeless people, creepy musicians, haggard women and men, and just plain old abstract freestyle creatures that surround my life each day to be the best, because they have so much going on inside of them. They are the ones that become physical reflections of their struggles. I see real life cartoons everyday living in this crazy city. I also enjoy creating psychotic looking animals.
What training do you have as an illustrator/artist? Where and How did you learn your talent?
Like I mentioned before, I have no training other than a couple of brief lessons from my dad as a kid. I don’t know how to do cross hatching or any of that. John Bowers was a school buddy and I loved his cartoons…he ruled! He showed me a couple pointers, but I’m not even sure what they were anymore. I suffer from VIS (vivid imagination syndrome) and could never sit in a classroom without covering any piece of paper or desktop with cartoons. I used to draw really crazy violent cartoons as a teen that caused some concern…but I’m OK now. I guess all of that distracted doodling was my only training.
When you create, what is the process in which you go through?
It all varies. Sometimes I know exactly what I want to draw, but for me that’s always the hardest approach…cuz I limit myself. I prefer to start with two dots and just let the shape take form into whatever it becomes if I’m drawing a creature. These drawings always impress me the most because sometimes I wonder what the hell I actually was thinking. If I am drawing a landscape, I just start drawing it with the picture in my head. I don’t really bother with planning out too much…it just frustrates me. I never look at another picture and copy it…I grew out of that after drawing birds of prey with the Donez brothers at Pine Elementary. Donez’s can draw some sick birds. We wanted to be Indians really bad as kids!
Do you try to express ideas in your illustrations? Is there a conceptual side that someone might miss or is it purely a visual experience?
Yes and no. I guess freedom is the main point. We are free to do whatever the hell we want with art in all of its forms, whether it’s visual art, music, literature or film. Life is art. Since I don’t create my art for commercial purposes, I basically am just creating the weirdness that is inside my head. I guess all of the old punk rock that I grew up on is reflected in my art. It’s raw, funny and twisted. We are all Products of Corruption! People seem to take away their own unique interpretations of my art, and everyone seems to like it for different reasons. Some people like my style of drawing, and others will like what I end up drawing. You may find one of my drawings offensive while someone else may see it as pure humor. I kinda have a fucked up sense of humor.
There seems to be an ongoing theme in your illustrations. What is it and is it possible that a piece of you is in each character? Would you say that in a way each one is slightly a self-portrait?
Well, that’s a damn good question. To be honest, I guess my theme is very subconscious. My style is pretty crude and I kind of have a certain style that has just formed itself over the years. When I look at all of the artwork that I have created up to this point in my life, it is definitely reflective of my attitudes and interests at the time. I was a funny little kid who loved nature, and pretty much all of my drawings as a kid were of landscapes and animals. I really loved to draw sharks. As I got into my teenage years, I was experimenting with certain drugs and listening and playing lots of loud aggressive music, so I drew lots of pot leaves, mushrooms, and disgusting gruesome bloody scenes. That is when the smokes started showing up in the mouths of my characters. I also was pretty horny so I drew lots of perverted immature drawings as well. As I got to be into my twenties, and I’m in my late twenties now, I seem to see that my art reflects my attitude now, which is dealing with money issues, jobs and other things that stress me out. So I guess the stress released in my art these days can be seen in the characters, like they are “stress sponges.”
Most of your illustrations are in black and white, how often do you work in color?
I actually really want to start using some acrylic paints for some big bright vivid cartoons. I never learned how to paint so I guess I just avoided it. The only thing I ever painted was when I was shrooming and I painted a big Homer head on the ceiling of my brother’s motor home. Most of my drawings look pretty cool to me in black and white, and if I color them, I rarely color the original version. I usually copy the black and white original and then use colored pencils to try different versions of the copies. I have nothing against colors. I really, really like them. Sometimes though, I feel that something gets lost when I add color to a drawing. It’s hard to explain.
You play music, is there a relationship between your musical talent and your illustrations?
I wish I could create visual art as well as I can play my violin. I love doing artwork for my band LOS SINDICATE. I make all of our logos and stickers and that’s always fun to draw stuff for your band. It’s constant inspiration and provides a way for some of my drawings to be seen by folks.
When you illustrate, what environment do you prefer to be in? Do you listen to music when illustrating? If so, what tunes do you dig?
Shit..I do drawings anywhere anytime. I have found myself drawing on the back of receipts waiting for my friends to buy some smokes at 7-11. It is just a great way to creatively waste time. My ideal drawing situation is being at home on the couch, with a glass of red wine (it makes me feel smart), and some Howlin’ Wolf on the stereo.
Do you ever add speech bubbles to your characters? What would some of the included characters be saying? (snorkel dude, jazz cat, self port.,chupa cabra)
I drew a comic strip for the Valley Jr. High newspaper once. It was HARD!!! I give props to the people who draw comic strips with bubbles and can actually make it work. I usually don’t add speech bubbles to my cartoons, because it is so definitive of what my interpretation of my own art is. I do though on occasion and usually all of those occasions are for total joke drawings when I want to get a specific message across. Snorkel dude looks like he is thinking…”Whoa that looks trippy.” Jazz Cat looks like he is thinking “Gimme a fix so I can play this here fiddle and eat this rat.” Self Portrait says “AAAAAAAAAGGH!!!!!!! Chupa Cabra is probably thinking “Can’t Talk..Eating.” But those are all so lame!
Do you have an all time favorite character that you have drawn? Describe it!
Probably the drunken devil that I drew for my little brother’s birthday a couple of years ago is my favorite. I’ve been doing a drawing for my brother Dylan’s birthday for the last 4 years. I made him this sweet red devil (yes..it’s colored!) awhile back that I did using quill and ink. It is the only drawing that I have ever done with a quill and ink and it has some great detail cuz I could get those lines so small and precise. Also, one of those rare originals that I decided to take the chance on coloring, but this one definitely was better colored.
If you could make a career out of your illustrations, what would it be?
Probably drawing cartoons professionally for T-shirts and stickers, or just to sell as cool pieces of artwork. I would really love to write and illustrate a children’s book and make a tape that reads the story and has an original score along with it. I said tape…I mean CD.
Your characters would look good on t-shirts. If someone wanted one, how would they go about getting it?
Contact Bryan Snyder. He could probably hook you up.
How has living in Carlsbad influenced your illustrations?
Well, Same Ole (R.I.P.) is the beach bum who inspired the first of my homeless drawings. He was someone who didn’t give a fuck and did it with style. Growing up with a skateboard by the beach and cruising with my close group of friends all over town has shaped my life in a way that is beyond words. Whether it was deep conversations about the meaning of life with E-Man, to stashing in bushes smoking and drinking Mickey’s 40’s with Red Sack and Stad, running away from the pigs… all of those days in my life live in my art.
How do you feel about the artistic community in Carlsbad?
I never really was aware of an artistic community in Carlsbad until some smart person started this funny website called CARLSBADCRAWL.COM From what I have seen, it seems to be pretty cool and hip. I think there is a lack of graffiti though in Carlsbad that we have lots of up here in LA. There are too many cops in Carlsbad. Graffiti is the best thing to look at when waiting at a red light. It’s crazy too cuz people die and get severely beat up over that shit. I never was a tagger, but I find that whole world very intriguing. It’s a whole society and language in itself.
Is there a change you would like the local Carlsbad art scene move towards? What is it and what do you think the community needs to get it there?
Carlsbad needs a music venue. A REAL music venue. If a place like Pizza Port had bands, it would be the best place ever. Music venues always bring creative types together it seems, like Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground. That was a real scene. Music and art have a very close relationship.
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