Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Hello, All! A New Piece, and, Questions from Patience Brewster

Hello, World!  Below is my piece, "Alice in Cacti-Land," which I created this summer using Watercolour, Prismacolor Pencil, and Gouache.

Scroll below that, and you'll see some questions that I answered for Patience Brewster!

The team at Patience Brewster wrote me with a request to share about myself as an artist, as part of an ongoing project they are doing, reaching out to artists, asking them questions, and then re-sharing that information on their blog.

For those of you who don't know, Patience Brewster is an artist, who creates beautiful cards, ornaments, and figurines!  She is also based in Plymouth Massachusetts, which I personally find really cool as I went on vacation there every summer up until the summer before third grade.  My family and I stayed at a place called the John Carver Inn, and whenever we went to see the Old Town (with people dressed in the Pilgrim Costumes), I was in awe as a kid.  Anyway, I haven't been there since I was seven, but, it was great to hear from an artist who is based out of Plymouth.

In any case, I had seen Patience's ornaments before, loved them, and not realized who had created them, so, it was really exciting to get a message from her team!  And, it was very nice of them to invite me to answer some questions (it's pretty awesome they are looking to spread the word about fellow artists).  After the interview-y section of this post, I am going to link to her site.  The holidays will be here before you know it, so, please check her work out, particularly the Holiday stuff).

Without further ado, here are some "About Me" questions, sent over by the Patience Brewster team:

1. As a child, do you recall a significant moment when you felt truly affected or inspired by any particular artwork or artist? 

I remember when I saw the "Lion King," which is one of my favorite Disney movies.  I also read the comic book versions of the film, and saw illustrations from the film, and I was blown away by the character designs, the settings, and the colors.  I actually read the comic before I saw the movie (so I was spoiled), and I was stunned when the opening sequence of "Circle of Life" started.  I actually started tearing up, because it was such a beautiful opening sequence, with color, celebration, and happiness, and I knew what was going to happen.  But even through the sad parts of the film, before it came out with the hero being victorious at the end, I was totally gripped by the experience of watching it.  

It was something with great dialogue (i.e. writing), character development, and artistic design, so it inspired me art and writing wise.  I was inspired to draw characters because the characters were so lively, for good and evil, and I loved being immersed in that world.  The idea of creating a world and characters where viewers and readers could be immersed in it was really inspiring. 

Truth be told, I also share a bit of Simba's tendency to re-hash things, so.  That movie has always meant a lot to me in terms of the lessons it taught (and still teaches me today), in addition to it being a visually stunning cartoon film and story,

2. As an artist, what do you hope to convey with your work? 

I am a person who makes art with the belief that pictures can tell stories as strong, or stronger than, words.  I love art that is narrative in nature, which is why I love comic books/graphic novels/sequential art.  I also love when a single illustration can depict something funny, poignant, dark, or when the characters within the picture are memorable.  I’ve always loved storytelling, and that is why I myself aim to create art/illustrations, cards, and comic which capture moments and tell larger stories.

3. What memorable responses have you had to your work? 

There was a group show I participated in, in Los Angeles (where I am currently based; I split my time between there and my original hometown outside New York City), that was an anti-bullying themed show.  It was curated by a young curator named Cooper Berella.  At the time he was about twelve years old, and now he's already in high school, which is awesome!  He is a great person, artist, and curator, and always has worked to put together art shows that are meaningful as well as fun.  

The show was called "Stop it!," in reference to putting a stop to bullying. The painting I made was a cartoon-y, fantastical piece.  It depicted a boy who was underwater, tearfully being bullied by one Octopus who was pulling apart one half of a broken heart, and another Octopus on the other side of the frame held the other hear'ts half.  However, the boy had a friend-- a girl who was hugging him, and shielding him from being further hurt or bullied by the Octopi.  The woman who bought the piece told me she really loved the illustration, and the storytelling with one character protecting the other character.  She then told me it meant a great deal to her personally, as her son has Special Needs, and he worked one on one with an aide who was a great person, looked like the girl in the illustration, and sadly had passed away earlier that year.  I was happy that the piece I created was able to speak to someone in a universal sense, as well as in a very personal sense, with the story it told.

When I've created comics and illustrations that are sadder in tone, it has meant a lot to me when people have told me that the stories really spoke to them, and that they felt for the characters in the story/image.  When I create cheerier, more light-hearted, and punny works, such as illustrations or greeting cards-- especially with Koalas  (I have one card featuring a girl having tea, with Koalas, and it says "You're a Friend of the Highest Koala-Tea," to give you an idea of my silliness)-- I've seen people laugh, and (happily) roll their eyes at some of the sillier jokes I've come up with, and it's fun to get people to loosen up and enjoy something that's silly and funny.  I'm always happy when I can combine words and pictures, in a way that people are amused and entertained by.  

Again, whether I am telling a tale that is serious or silly, I am always grateful when it speaks to my audience, and when people have responded to the story with empathy or laughter.  

4. What is your dream project?

I definitely want to keep creating comics, art, illustration, and greeting cards.  Also, I would love to create a children's book (something that I am working on), and perhaps even a long form comic.  I have many ideas for character and stories, and since many of them involve animals, I'm looking to partner with different organizations where perhaps art or illustrations that I make could also be of use to them.  It would be a lot of fun to have a cross-pollination project with an animal shelter/rescue group, a zoo (San Diego Zoo, for example, or any zoo that makes a point of being a conservation space and not merely a place where animals are improperly kept), or a group working with endangered species.  As I've mentioned, I love Koalas, and they (as well as many other Australian animals) are threatened species.  I would also at some point be interested in exploring how to create illustrations for licensing, patterns for fabric, and to explore many different ways of showing characters, stories, and images on many surfaces and mediums in addition to cards, art, and comics.

I've also become very interested in Cacti lately, and have some projects I'm working on with Cacti imagery, so, anything involving illustrating Succulents is something I'd enjoy.

5. What artists, of any medium, do you admire? (Famous or not!) 

 I love a wide variety of artists, both who create darker pieces, as well as lighter, fluffier, funnier pieces.  Here is a list, showing the variety, and it ranges from classical artists, to contemporary illustrators, cartoonists, and artists (and even a few writers thrown in): Robert Crumb, Francisco Goya, Phoebe Gloeckner, Norman Rockwell, Vermeer, Camilla D'Errico, Camille Rose Garcia, Edward Albee, Martin McDonagh, Salvador Dali, Alice Neel, Frida Kahlo, Molly Idle, Claire Wendling, Nate Powell, Aubrey Beardsley, Edward Gorey, Dame Darcy, Danni Shinya Luo, Los Bros Hernandez, and there are more, but, those are who I can think of right now!

Medium wise, with the exception of the two playwrights I listed, these creators are all those who work with ink, watercolor, etching/printmaking, ink and watercolor, or colored pencil, with some traditional oil painters thrown in.  

I myself focused on oil painting in college (and it would be cool to explore it again, but, I don't have the proper ventilation for it where I work at home, and I also often work in cafes on the go).  That said, I went to Goldsmith's College in London for half a year, where one of my tutors encouraged me to get into comics, so since then I've been more focused on ink, while sometimes also incorporating ink and watercolor slash gouache.  This year I also discovered the blend-y magic of Prismacolor pencils, so, colored pencils (both regular and watercolor) are also something I now love to use.  I suppose I do some painting, with largely drawing elements in the things I create.

So, for everyone who made it through, thanks very much for reading my "About Me" Questions!  

To pick up some awesome Holiday Ornaments, please go to Patience Brewster's Holiday section of her website:


To see her overall website, please go here:


Thanks for reading, and I hope everybody is having a great Tuesday.

With Love, Cats, and Cacti, (Or is it Cat-cti?),


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