1. Who were your teachers or influences?
Well these are two very distinct things. My influences run a large gambit. From old fairy tales and books from my youth, to Tom Hatten teaching me how to draw Popeye from the television and all the cartoons of the late 70's and 80's (and before), to trips to the zoo, to Juxtapoz and Heavy Metal magazine and comics from back in the day, to tattoo imagery, all the way to the old masters hung in museums, these were my influences growing up. It wasn't until I got into graffiti however that I started really getting interested in pushing myself in the direction towards becoming a better artist. It was the kick in the butt that I needed to really focus my attentions. It is where I found some of my most important teachers, mainly Natoe, Axis, Plek and Kofie, Epic, Vox and Tron, and a lot more than I can name here. These guys introduced me to techniques and disciplines that I use to this day. Things which I should have learned in art school but for some reason it wasn't taught. I also need to show some respect to Ken Bustamante, Bill McCavoy, and Kevin Pasko who really taught me how to use the computer programs that have become essential in my day to day life.
2. What techniques or tricks did you find most useful when learning to paint?
VIDEO: How to prime a wood Panel
The most important lesson was how to prepare a surface. It was Axis who broke it down. Use good quality Gesso, smooth foam rollers (the white hotdog ones from hardware stores) and sand in between multiple layers with fine grit sand paper, about a 220. Not fighting with my surface has been key to pulling off a successful painting. I also found that Matte Medium is a great surface to paint on and will sometimes prime with just that if I wan to do collage or have the bare surface show through.
3. What are 3 key principles of making good art, in your opinion?
1. Have a good idea, make sure it means something to you.
2. Use archival quality tools to ensure idea lasts once complete.
3. Work hard on your technique to pull off your idea to the best of your abilities, that is the only way to get better.
4. What are the most common mistakes that you see other artists make?
I have to be honest, I mainly just focus on my own mistakes. Maybe one mistake is more socially than with their actual art. I have seen artists get big egos about there work and the way they treat people, and it has always been a huge turn off.
5. Can you break your painting process down into 10 steps, or less, for us?
Here is one of the more complicated processes I use. A lot of times, these days, I'll just start painting from an idea in my sketchbook and a couple images of gathered photo reference, no sketching on the canvas whatsoever, but here is the more long winded super thought out version:
1. I keep all my ideas in a ongoing series of pocket size sketchbooks, from which I select the idea for a painting from or combine ideas together from.
2. I scan it into my computer and compose together to fit the dimensions of the canvas to be painted. Print out as a yellow line and draw it again at a larger size and work out more details.
3. Scan it back into the file and make a rough color study in photoshop
4. Prime canvas, about four layers of gesso, sanding in between
5. Project the linework on the canvas or graphite transfer and spray workable fixative over the linework.
6. Apply a layer of matte medium
7. Work out background and paint from back to front
8. Finish final highlights, and sign the piece
9. 2 or 3 coats of Gloss Varnish, 1 or two final Satin coats of varnish.
10. Photograph and frame.
here are a couple links to some painting process videos I have on Youtube:
Art Goop is a Q&A for artists by artists. We ask questions designed to examine the techniques and methods of some of the most inspiring artists working today.