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November 2011 Artist Interview: Mike Ricoli

November 8, 2011


How did you start creating art?
When I was in grade school, I created a comic about a rabbit. After that I wrote cartoons for school newsletters and decided to major in art after high school. In college I developed an interest in animation and painting and now wish for a career in animation.
Is there a comic in particular that sparked this interest?
A lot of comics, such as Garfield and Mother Goose and Grimm I found inspiring. I also loved the Disney animated shorts. Drawing and making cartoons were extremely important to me because I was able to make my own cartoons and show people.

What’s your medium and why do you gravitate towards it?
I like oil on canvas because I love scuplting the oil paint into what I want to paint. I also like the way colors mix the best with oils.
What inspires you?
The way I use color is my main motive, my challange is finding new ways to make colors work well together. As for painting styles it would be the impressionist. Another artist I find very inspiring is J M W Turner.
Do you go into a piece knowing which colors you want to explore with or do you you have a general idea of the ares/colors you’ll explore as you’re looking at the blank canvas?
Normally I have an idea of which main color I want to use before I start painting, then I add more as I see the painting progress. For example, in “Midsummer Thoughts” I picked purple to be the main color of the painting before applying any paint to the canvas. As I progressed with a purple canvas, I allowed red, viridian green, and orange to mix with the purple. At the end of the painting, I applied yellow carefeully so it would work well with the purple.
Is there a difference in the way you approach painting and the way you create the drawings that will be used for animation?

Yes, I am stricter about detail and perfection in drawing with my cartoons than I am about painting. Usually with painting I explore new ways to paint, such as ways to apply the paint and how I use colors. Occasionally I will do drawing before the piece, but normally I just start painting on the spot. When it comes to drawing I have a certain way of creating my cartoons. I first start out with a storyboard and brain storming, then I draw it in pencil, then pen, erase the pencil marks, and lastly colorize it. If I feel the character doesn’t look right, I will fix it or start over.
Do you have certain themes or stories you enjoy telling with your animation work?
The plot (or theme) of the cartoon varies, but usually follows the same characters. I like writing very short stories for children to enjoy and I do enjoy making my cartoons motivate children to be creative. I keep the story very simple with a small joke or fun ending. The story involved an idea, a few things that happen in the middle of a story, and an ending. A few of my previous jobs have allowed me to see that children don’t have a long attention span, so I keep my cartoon stories short so children and quickly read them and then go onto the next activity they wish to do. If the story was too long, a child may become bored and not finish it. If I animate my comics in the future into a mini show, it will be about the length of a commercial break.
Would you prefer to work for a developed animation studio or do you enjoying the creative control of creating your own?
I probably would like being in a developed animation studio. I love working with others and creating new ideas with them, especially people who are fun to be around. However I do like having some control over my own characters I created.

What are your professional goals?

To sell my paintings and have my cartoons published.


November 2011 Artist Interview: Justin Buell

November 8, 2011
How did you begin creating art?
I started out making digital art with Photoshop in my teens, as I got older I found painting and haven’t looked back since.
What made you transition from digital to physical art?
My computer broke down, and that’s what inspired me to try paint. I was drawn to it because of its hands on approach, which was different from the graphic design stuff i had did before. I have gone
back into the digital medium, but have not incorporated it into my paintings.
What inspires your art?
Life inspires me. Seeing other forms of art inspire me, as well as the ups and downs of life. There isn’t one certain aspect of life that inspires me by itself.
What’s your medium?
I use acrylic paint because I love how fast it dries and it’s cheap.
What are your professional goals?
I hope to display my art in a high end gallery in NY and SF.

October 2011 Art Show: Photo Recap

November 8, 2011

October 2011 Art Show: Interview with Stephanie Rigsby

October 5, 2011

How did you art enter your life?

Art has always crept up in different mediums in varied intervals of happenstance. The first time I realized I was in love with art was when I painted my first picture, in preschool. Our teacher had taken us outdoors to let us paint the world around us. It was autumn so the leaves were a miraculous color and I began to paint from a nearby tree, from the bottom up. I realized I wanted to capture not only the essence of an outline, but every single detail- from the bark to each individual leaf. Needless to say, as time passed, I blended into the growing dark shade we sat under, so engrossed in my perseverance to capture detail, I somehow got left behind.

When I finally painted the last leaf, I looked around to see it was nearly night and I was all alone. I was astonished to see how I absorbed I could become in something that time was able to become completely suspended. This to me felt like a miracle or some kind of wonderful magic. My first conscious thought to creating with any sort of seriousness, however, came from an accidental discovery of surrealism, when I was eight. It remains one of my most effectual muses.
Why Surrealism?

Surrealism for me incorporates the technical capability of realism, while maintaining imaginative fantasy- it is the wilds of the creative realm. While not simply fluff, it also integrates a depth of symbolism, which may cater to philosophy, psychology, mysticism, political/social discourse, or simply experimentation/ the avant-garde. I believe a great avenue art leads us down is one of lent perspective. When depiction is abstractified just enough to allow for interpretation and realistic enough to suggest credence, it can open up individual perspective to new or wider spectrums of thought.

What inspires you?

My inspiration is derivative of the myriad of things. I surround myself with a constant flux of expressive culture- films, books, music, performances. I find I’m also often struck by the simplest things, lit up colors and shapes- these are the images I frequently capture with my camera. Other inspiration comes from language itself- in screenplays, lyrics, or everyday conversations.

What mediums do you work with?

I am primarily a photographer and writer, though started out as a painter. I found photography was a media which allowed me to best capture what I felt and saw with my inner eye most. With photography, the best aspect of it, is that I can capture the world as an internal journal- what things astonish or effect me that are alive in the movement of time as it’s literally passing. There are so many experiences and observations we are exposed to- photography allows you the time to render them all.

What are your artistic goals?

I haven’t put as much effort into exhibiting my art, as I’ve been more focused on creating it. Though, the body of work I have has steadily been growing more vast- like water filling a dam. Before it bursts to overflowing, I think I’ll endeavor to release more of it so it may be shared with others. Creatively speaking, however, I look forward to dabbling more in alternative and antiquated processes of photography as well as working in sculpting and short filmmaking.

What’s your ideal Saturday?

My ideal Saturday, if I lived in Sacramento, would be to take a stroll through the Second Saturday art walk to expose myself to all the wonderful new realms of art that have been created. Generally, I like to have new experiences, whether it be traveling, going to galleries or museums, seeing bands play, or watching a performance piece. I find inspiration and rejuvenation in the insight of experiences that douse the senses in fresh perspectives.

October 2011 Art Show: Interview with Aimee Alexander

October 5, 2011

How did you get started with creating art?

When I was 3 months old I traced the pattern of my grandmother’s shirt with my finger.  I’ve been drawing crazy patterns ever since!  I really got into my current style one day when I was bored.  I had a Sharpie marker and a soda can and started drawing random circles.  Somehow it turned into this.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I think of most of my ideas while sitting in traffic.  I commute to the bay, so I have a lot of time to sketch things out in my head. I like intense chaos and movement.  Plain white walls bother me.  I’m always trying to re-design plain objects in my head to make them more interesting. If I run out of ideas I ask my facebook fan people.
What mediums do you use and why?
I use Sharpie markers because they are always available.  I can go to Walmart at midnight if I run out of a color.  And Sharpie sent me a huge box full last year that I am still working through. Sharpie had a contest on their blog & twitter.  I submitted my art and they sent me a huge supply of pens.
Where and how do you see yourself progressing in your creative life? What are your ambitions?
I want to turn my work into a line of greeting cards and gift products to wholesale to stores across the country.  I’m working hard on pulling my line together and obtaining sales reps to get my work out there.
What’s your ideal Saturday?
Sleeping til noon and then watching movies all day while I color!

October 2011 Art Show: Interview with MiSchelle Coronado

October 5, 2011
How did you first get started in creating art?
I first started making fairy dolls which were encased in a large glass container. I dabbled in drawing a little bit but didn’t really get into it until about 4 years ago. I would spend a few hours a day in my garage working and it was my children who suggested I approach shop owners.
Why fairy dolls?
My inspiration for the dolls came from my vivid imagination of creatures other then ourselves being amongst us. Also, I guess my visit to a shop called The Mossy Bog in Jamestown where the owner and his wife are artists and they had every imaginable artist who did fairies on display. When you walk into the shop its like you’ve walked into a mystical forest, complete with life s trees and all. They’ve been all over the world seeking out fairies.

What inspires you?
My inspiration first started with Froud and his fairys, although, my children were and still are my true inspiration. Our society has all but done away with art in our schools and technology has all but done away with our children using their imaginations much. I want to make sure my kids use their imaginations and give way to the magical whimsy every now and then amongst all the seriousness they’ll have to tend with as up coming adults.
Was art a part of your own childhood?
Art and music were a big part of my childhood. My mother designed and made all of our doll outfits(and embarrassingly enough our clothes!) My parents encouraged us to sign up for and try any classes we wanted. Of course in the 60’s and 70’s we had allot more available in art and music and at an affordable price in our schools and we didn’t have all video and computer games so we needed and weren’t afraid to channel our imaginations in the arts.
I guess as a mother I want my children to keep that childlike outlook as long as possible. Of course my children don’t have to follow in my footsteps as far as my interest in my topics for art, as long as hopefully they have a drive of their own to find and at least try doing what form of art they might enjoy.
What mediums do you use?
I use photoshop and any and all types of fabric, crystals, etc to add the final layers to my pictures. Photoshop gives me incredible freedom and not to mention a better eraser when I mess up.
What are your professional goals?
I hope to have my own shop someday. My ambitions are I guess to keep art affordable to the public, continue lighting up peoples eyes and having an art venue available to my son if and when he decides he wants to learn.
What’s your ideal Saturday?
God my ideas on this have changed so much as time has gone by. Back in my twenties while living in Santa Cruz where music & art were so abundant and occasionally free ( it would be nothing to be at the Spring Fling Festival at the park and see Jonny Winter come out and play for free, or Phoebe Snow come on stage in jeans and a tee shirt and play for free.. So listening to good rock, blues or reggae with good friends, good food and other “natural” substances made for a wonderfull Saturday. Then I had children and became the “responsible”
parent worked non stop to support them, wich usually included weakends being  I was in the food industry.
I since then learned you can do what you have to do and not spend so much time away from your  children. Since being blessed with my last child at 44 I haven’t made old mistakes and feel the perfect Saturday is doing anything which involves hanging out with my son who is now 9. I learned life is so short and precious to be worried about what others think and the limits I consisting had placed on myself in the past to not try new things (bungy jumping, body surfing and learning to play the harmonica which I’m pretty good at if I might say so myself)) and most important to laugh whenever possible.

October 2011 Art Show: Poster Preview!

September 30, 2011

Hope to see you all there!