When did you first become interested in art?
I have always been fascinated with video games and computer graphics. As a school age kid, I loved looking at video game concept sketches. In high school I was exposed to an early version of 3DSMax 3d modeling software where I was never able to do or learn much, but was fascinated by the demo of what all people had created. This was all in the early 90’s before computer graphics had become really advanced as it is today. Just out of high school I began designing web pages and creating animated .gifs using Photoshop version 3. My interest in digital art and graphics has grown ever since.
What style of art do you use most?
When I first started, I had no formal training in any art discipline, but I had a desire to create photo-realistic pieces using only Adobe Photoshop starting with a blank canvas. I began experimenting with different functions and techniques. I would try one thing after another looking for anything which would look even semi realistic.
I never succeeded. Never once did I even come close to having anything look real. But in the process, I learned a whole lot about Photoshop and ended up creating my own distinctive style. Even to this day, much of what I create is birthed completely out of experimenting. “What happens when I do this?”
I love texture, color, and fluid movement. I am continually experimenting to find new ways to create new textures and new ways to combine colors and add movement to a piece.
Has your style changed from when you first began as an artist?
As a whole, I would say my style has matured. It has always been about experimentation. In the early days, much of my work was somewhat primitive as I did not know how to do much beyond the basics of simple filters. As time has gone by, I have learned so much more of what can be done which has allowed me to do even more with my work.
There has been one considerable change in my work and that is in the size of my work. My original files were only 4-8 inches long on the longest side and less than 100MB in size. My computer would churn for hours to process these images. They would take 10 hours to rip to a printer. Now with faster computers that are able to do more, I have files that are 32”x20” print size that are over 1GB in file size.
What medium do you use?
My medium has always been digital. I love Photoshop. I know many people who do not consider digital art to be a true art medium, but I have come to believe that a good digital artist can reproduce any artistic technique using traditional mediums. But where a traditional artist has limitations on what they can do, a digital artist can go far beyond into realms yet to be imagined.
Only recently have I actually started taking lessons in traditional art. I have been taking pencil drawing class for about one year now. I imagine I will continue to learn the traditional mediums, but I am sure that I will always stay with my first love of the digital medium.
What made you choose that medium?
I have always been a techie type person who has always been around computers and video games. From as far back as I can remember, I only ever wanted to create video games, and a huge portion of video games is the graphics. It was only natural for me to get involved with a digital medium as the computer has been such a large part of my life for so long.
Do your ideas come from life or imagination?
I wish I could say they come from either of those, but my ideas are accidents in every way. I have no idea how to create something from life or from my imagination. Every time I try, I fail miserably. But when I simply start throwing things around and trying different things, something happens, something beautiful is created. How it happened, I have no idea. It was a complete and total accident.
How do you choose your images and colours?
I traditionally pick colors at random. They are often color combinations not often seen together in most other art. Some artists only use a limited pallet. I like to think of my works as having an unlimited pallet. I try to squeeze every possible color into my pieces. I love bold dynamic colors and like many different colors. Colors are huge in my pieces.
Do you work in a studio?
My business is called CMG Design Studios, but my actual studio is my laptop. I take my studio everywhere I go. My canvases, brushes, easel, paint, and all tools and equipment are all built in to my laptop and are accessible everywhere I go.
Who is your favorite artist?
I do not have just one. I love creativity in creative people. I love the works of Judson Huss, Brian Froud, Jim Henson, Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, Shigeru Miyamoto, James Newton Howard, Yo Yo Ma, the Wachowski brothers, Jens Ritter, Leonardo da Vinci, everything Pixar, Walt Disney and his imagineers, Cirque du Soleil, Peter Jackson, and above all God the creator whose imaginative creativity inspired all that is beautiful and wonderful within creation.
What is your favourite piece of work by yourself?
My favorite piece of my own works is “Beyond the Mask”. It is in my opinion my best work to date.
How much time (on average) does it take to complete a work?
It usually takes anywhere from 3-6 hours for me to create a piece from start to finish.
How well do you take criticism?
I would like to think I take it well. But only after I have been heavily criticized will I really know.
What do you do to overcome a ‘block’?
I keep trying things. I often start experimenting with something and do not care anything for it. If after half an hour I do not like something, I tend to scrap it and start over. I keep on trying new things until I begin to get a feel for something I like.
How do you know something is ‘finished’? Is it easy to walk away?
This is an interesting question. I am not sure how to answer it. With a digital canvas, it is easy to make any number of modifications to any piece of work.
I have an early work called “Rice Paper” which I recently went back to and did some color modification experimenting on this piece. I began it from a desire to know how to use the apply image functionality within Photoshop. To my surprise the results were delightful and incredible. Each piece in the color study has elements of the original, and yet each piece was unique in its own right and stands alone as a complete fine art piece.
Often I have a piece that I think is complete, and I will publish it. I will then go back and make changes to it and create something altogether new and different. So usually when I create a new piece, I tend to create 5 or 6 pieces out of the original piece I started with. They all have similarities, but in essence are entirely different. I do not know if any piece is ever really finished or if it is simply waiting to become another new and different piece.
Have you had exhibits in galleries?
In my first year to enter the Stars of Texas juried art show, I had two pieces accepted and exhibited in 2011. I also had a piece selected to be on display at the Stephen’s Central Library for their grand opening in San Angelo, TX also in 2011. Prior to 2011 I had never tried to market my work or to get it out into the public eye.
Have you any exhibits in galleries planned for the future?
I will have art exhibited in the newly renovated Brownwood Art Association gallery/studio in the next week or two. I have also received an invitation to have my work on display at a gallery in Dallas, TX. I will try to pursue this option in the next several weeks. I hope to approach other galleries as well in the upcoming weeks and months.
What are you currently working on?
I have just wrapped up work on a large 32”x20” piece. It is my largest work to date. It is as of yet untitled and unpublished. It is rich in texture and primarily shades of brown and orange with blue and white flecks throughout.
What are your plans for the future?
I am preparing for my first booth which will be a large show at the Deep Elum Art Festival in Dallas in the early spring of next year. I hope to continue to grow and create new works. I am also a musician and a writer and hope to grow musically and in time to finish my book and get it published.
What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
I have been creating art pieces privately for over 10 years, but have only just this year and the tail end of last year began to market my work. The best advice I ever received was to do something with my art so that people could see it and enjoy it.
What advice would you give new artists?
Never stop creating. Never stop growing. Never stop looking for new perspectives. Never stop looking for new ways. Never stagnate. Challenge yourself to become more than you are.
Have you done any courses to help you?
Not really. I never really cared for school or schooling, but find I am a lifelong student and lifelong learner. I have at different times read different Photoshop books and magazines to learn new techniques and to get new ideas, but I have never really ever taken any classes in either Photoshop or in classical, formal art training.
What do you do to market your work?
I mostly tell people by word of mouth and give away small prints of my work, though I would like to learn how to better leverage social networking and the web.
Do you use social networking in your day to day life?
http://facebook.com/theviolent.net (art page)
Are you available for work (commissions)?
Yes. I will do private commissions for individuals and businesses. I will also do work for ad agencies.
Have you got hobbies?
One of my early loves is to do crazy tricks off the diving board. I write and play guitar. I love to cook and to travel the world. I enjoy exercise. I also enjoy taking photos.
Where are you based?
Brownwood, TX, USA and the Internet, Worldwide.