Thursday, 30 November 2006

Interview with Jeremy Forson

Q)So, can you tell me a little about yourself? Full name, age, some background info, etc?

A)Jeremy Walter Forson, 23 years old, Born in Reno, Nevada U.S.A., currently living in Oakland, California.

Q)How did you get started making art?

A)I always made art, since as far back as I can remember. I always loved drawing, and I've always been very competitive about it. If a saw a drawing that I thought was above my skill level, I would become distraught and try to replicate the drawing, dissecting it, and trying to figure out how I could get to that level.

Q)How would you describe your art?

A)I think my art is pretty dark and emotional in a way that's off-putting. I read a lot of blogs and whatnot about me that say my art is creepy, and I guess I'm O.K. with that, it's just not what I'm shooting for. I try to make nice pretty things, and somewhere between my brain and my hand they seem to become corrupted. I think a lot of the "creepy" look has to do with the colors I choose, which tend to be on the dirty side. I like my art to make you feel a little uncomfortable, to give you a nervous feeling in your stomach, but I never want to be weird just for the sake of being weird, or to try to make images just to shock people. I have no taste for gore or violence, and I try to keep myself separated from the kind of art you might see on a CD cover for a metal band, where it's all a bunch of people torn apart with blood and guts everywhere. I'm often grouped with that kind of art and I'd rather not be. I want my art to be more introspective than that.

Q)Who is your biggest influence, both art and non-art related

A)Art related: I can't choose one, so I'll have to name a few. I'm really influenced by the art of the late 1800's - early 1900's. Klimt, Sheile, Harry Clarke, anything with excessive attention to decoration and detail wins me over. I'm also influenced by comics artists, Mike Mignola, Travis Charest, James Jean, Ashley Wood, Kent Williams, and Bill Sienkiewicz. Also an instructor I had in college made a big impact on me, Barron Storey, whose complex ideas I'm still coming to understand even after I took 4 classes with him. Non-Art related: The Punk/Indie music scene has made a lasting impression on my creative life. Their outlook on life, band art, music, and lyrics often inspire me. I suppose that's why most of the artwork I've done has been for those kinds of bands, it just seems to go together so well.

Q)How do you approach the creation of a new piece... how does everything come together?

A)Often I try working out ideas in thumbnail form just to get things rolling, but usually something just comes to me and I see clearly how it should look. When that doesn't happen I resort to thumbnails. If nothing is coming I might look at photographs in old books until I get an idea. The kind of pictures I look at depend on the project. For, say, a hardcore band I'll look at old war photos or old medical books. I also have a large collection on national geographics from the 50's and 60's that I like to look through for ideas. Google image search is good too, but it's hard to find old pictures, which are what I like most for some reason. Once I've got an idea visualized I plan it out in my mind and I see what different kinds of media I'll need to use to create effects in different places. This part of the process often keeps me up at night because my mind is racing. Then I might take photo reference if needed, or google images, or just start drawing and so on....

Q) What's your favorite medium to work in, and why?

A) Right now it's acrylic. I struggled with it for years, and it was never easy for me to use, but I kept with it and now I'm comfortable with it, and it does what I want it to do. I found that watercolors and oils were much easier to use right off the bat, but I didn't continue to use them. I still work in watercolor sometimes, often I'll start in watercolor and paint acrylic over it. But I haven't used oil in years, I just don't have to ventilation to use it and I don't like the difficulty it has with mixed media. It's not very flexible. I've started doing things digitally, or I should say, I do an ink drawing and color it digitally, and I like the way it comes out, but I get the most enjoyment out of painting, I like the hands on approach, and physically working with something. It's very satisfying for me.

Q) What is your favourite art related web site?

A) I guess that is my favorite. I haven't been going there a lot lately, but when I do I'm always impressed. For a while I was posting things from my sketchbook in that section until someone commented that it was a site for people who want to work in the video game industry and it's for concept art blah blah. I stopped posting, which was lame of me because aside from that comment I had gotten a lot of encouragement. I just checked it out and found this Emmanuel Malin guy, wow, that stuff really blows me away, I love it. I've had that reaction to a lot of artists on there, so that's why it's my favorite art site. I did a competition on there once, and I can't believe that I won. It was the first weekly competition for industrial design, the idea was a brain powered tank. There were so many awesome designs. Me and this other guy were neck and neck the whole way, but far ahead of the rest. In the end I won by 1 vote, but the whole affair was so nerve racking that I haven't done it since. I think I will again soon, I want to try my hand at character or creature designs.

Q) Is your work all hand done? Or do you use any computer tools to help out?

A) I prefer things to be hand done, but I often use the computer too, mostly to enhance the colors. If you make a watercolor piece it tends to look washed out, but in photoshop you can easily pump up the colors and make them look as saturated as an acrylic painting.

Q) What, in your opinion, are the best and worst places to exhibit artwork?

A) Best places, gallery's and websites. Worst, coffee shops and restaurants. That being said, if you're exposing people to your work, that's all that matters. Even if your art is in some dark pizza parlor, that's 100 times better then letting it sit in your closet. The reason that those areas are worse is because there's a high chance of it being damaged or stolen, and it's not very likely that you'll actually sell anything, or that interested people will actually see it.

Q) I'm always interested in where an artist find their inspiration. Where do you find yours?

A) I think I covered that in question 4.

Q) How are the reactions on your work in general?

A) Mostly people are impressed with the skill level, but are not into the subject matter. It's too dark for the general public. So I appeal to a certain niche of rocker types and people who are into the macabre. That's O.K. with me. I would rather have a few very strong fans than a mediocre mass appeal.

Q) What are you doing when you are not creating art?

A) When I'm not making art I'm usually doing my day job which is web design. I try to revolve everything in my life around art, so If I'm not making it I'm looking at it or talking about it or thinking about it. I don't watch T.V. at all, I think it's a waste of time, movies are O.K.

Q)What are some of the greatest challenges that you think artists face today?

A) Making a name for yourself has to be the hardest thing. Getting your name out there, getting people to know who you are and hire you. People are so saturated with junk goods and services coming at them from every direction that it's hard to get through to them. And to make it as an artist you have to be a salesman as well, which is an area that I fall way behind in. Going out and selling myself is something that I really struggle with, and I think that other artists do to, it seems that creativity and business sense don't ever coexist.

Q) Do you believe that a person is born with a talent to produce art or can anyone can be taught?

A) I think you are born with an aptitude for creativity. There are lots of artists, though, who are doing just fine but are not creative. Anyone can be technically excellent and be taught to reproduce photographs exactly with artists tools.

Q) Are there any particular works you've done that stand out as your favorites?

A) The tentacles piece is one for sure. I knew when I came up with the idea that I had something. It's has been chosen by many others as their favorite. It was simple and I did it quickly. The idea I was illustration was genetically modified mouth bacteria to abolish the bad bacteria that make plaque and gingivitis etc.

Q) What are some current/upcoming projects you are working on or excited about?

A) Right now I'm working on a CD cover for a rap ground from Oakland called Unified School District. I've also got a couple t-shirts to do, but for the most part things are slow right now, and I really need to get things going. I hope to do some comic book work, and posters for rock shows soon.

Q) What advice would you give to younger up and coming artist?

A) It's hard for me to answer this question, because I think I AM a young and up-and-coming artist. But my advice to anyone who's maybe a little behind me career wise is; Go to art school and don't mess around, if you're serious about it then don't go party all the time etc, you have to buckle down and be totally encapsulated in your studies.

Q) Who are your favourite artists & Your favourite galleries?

A) Well, I talked about my favorite artists earlier in the interview. Favorite galleries.... You know, I don't get out to galleries as much as I should, there are lots here in the Bay Area, but I don't go to them very often. I find that when I go to gallery shows I'm usually disappointed in the art. I plan to get out to more galleries, maybe be inspired, meet some people in the scene. The truth is instead of going out to galleries I usually am at home working on my art.

Q) Do you need others to tell you they like it before you feel validated?

A) No, If I'm happy with it that's all that matters, but if I don't get the kind of reaction I want or expect from people I tend to think that maybe I've lost myself and am going down the wrong track. That usually doesn't happen. People around here don't say when they don't like something, they always just tell you it's great no matter what. I wish people were more critical, but that's just not the way it is around here.

Q)Tell us a little about some of the different types of jobs you've had over the years, before/while doing what you do now. For someone who is starting out in art, how would you recommend they go about making a career out of it?

A) I was a car washer, then a table buss boy at a restaurant or two, and now I do web design. I'm still not a full time artist, but I have a job right now where I make enough money to take long breaks to just work on my art, so it's good. I don't expect to be a full time artist for a few years. If you're just starting out, be persistent, because it will probably be a while before you can make it your career, you just can't give up.

Q)Your contacts….E-mail…links

Write me with any questions or comments or if you want to have me in a show, or whatever!


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