Describe yourself as a person and an artist. What are the layers that make up the person that you are?
I’m always trying to improve myself as a person in any avenue possible. I started meditating 3 or 4 years ago and it’s something that’s helped me cope and deal with a lot of issues. I try to learn what I can from every relationship I’m in, both platonic and romantic. Whether they fail or succeed because that’s how we grow to become the best version of ourselves we can. The same holds true for my work as an artist. I’m always trying to improve, always researching, trying to figure out how to be better creatively and technically. How to improve my business and marketing skills for my business – all of which have been self taught. I believe working on yourself, personally and career wise, is a lifelong investment. Something that should never end.
How do you nurture yourself creatively?
I find inspiration absolutely everywhere. So I don’t need to work to nurture it. It resides in so many things. From other artists to a place. From a sunset to an inspirational speech or quote. And with this age of the internet, as overwhelming as it can be, it’s so easy to gain inspiration from anywhere.
Why did you start painting and drawing?
I don’t feel like it was a conscious choice. It’s been something I’ve done since I could hold a pencil. Something I was compelled to do and loved more than anything. I was a really shy and quiet kid (though my parents will say otherwise I’m sure), and I think that was my outlet and form of expression. I’ve never been one for words, so it made sense that my expression was through my eyes and hands.
I believe we are all given certain innate gifts to share with the world and contribute to it positively. Some people are fortunate to find that at a very early age, others don’t until later in life. But I trust we all have value to add and should always do what we know we were born to.
What would you say to the younger version of yourself?
School isn’t as important as society (and your parents) lead you to believe. But reading and learning from life experiences – those from yourself and others, is paramount. Intelligence and enlightenment is imperative to gain. Meditation from a young age is crucial. Doing your own research on the things you are most interested in and passionate about is necessary. Always aim to expand your mind and never give up on your dreams because they will happen without a doubt as long as you truly believe in them.
Are there any insights that your audience is able to gain about you through your art?
There is the obvious I suppose that goes for just about any visual artist. That when you look at my work you can see what I’m drawn to and find beautiful. Enough for the need to express it visually. You can see the colours I love and colour combinations. You can see how much I care about the work I’m doing by the amount of effort (it should appear) I put in. Just like a song, visual art is a very personal and can be a very vulnerable thing. You put yourself on display for the world to critique and I think if one takes the time to observe carefully, they will see all of that.
How do you feel abut all the women tattooing your incredible work on their bodies?
It’s crazy and amazing. Sometimes I still can’t believe it’s happened countless times now. It was one of those pinnacles of reaching some sort of success in my mind. That people I don’t know, from another country, knew about me and my work and loved it enough to have it inked on their skin for life.
What was the best advice you received?
Although I don’t want to quote her directly for sure, I’m certain my mother told me I could be anything I wanted to be. And I do know she always told me to never rely on a man to support me. That was something I really took to heart and have lived to make my dreams work for me so I could support myself and live the life I want without relying on someone else.
Who or what have had the most powerful impacts on you artistically?
Since my teenage days and during art school particularly, I immersed myself in studying those I consider artistic masters or geniuses [because schools don’t teach any of the artists work that I admired] that largely came out of the 19th and early 20th century. Artists like William Bouguereau for his mastery over painting the human form, and others like J.W. Waterhouse, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Arthur Bridgman, Gustav Klimt, Alphonse Mucha, Herbert Draper, the Pre-Raphaelite, Realism and Art Nouveau movements just to name a few. They had a vast impact on my work and the skill level I always, and still aim, to achieve.
As a child I remember how greatly inspired I was by books, movies and even toys, that were out of this world and magical. Mermaids, fairies, unicorns, things like My Little Pony and Rainbow Bright, I absolutely could not get enough of. For a long time I truly believed that mermaids existed. I remember being in Disneyland when I was 5 and going into this submarine ride. I vividly remember out of one of the windows I saw the most beautiful mermaid I had ever laid eyes on – to my 5 year old self. I was convinced for many, many years after that she was real and told all my friends about her. I would draw and paint pictures of mermaids, I loved Disney’s Ariel, and remember drawing a lot of Rainbow Bright as well. All those things have carried through to who I am and my work today.
What is something that people might not know about you?
Lots of things! I’m a very private and reclusive person which is likely why people don’t know a lot about me. I’m awkward and an introvert. I can also be a bit wild and outgoing at times and completely shy and reserved at others. It all depends on my mood and the day and who I’m around.
I’m a health enthusiast. I worry about putting anything in or on my body that is not safe or natural. I make my own all natural lotion. Use coconut oil for everything. I’ve been vegetarian since I was 13 and was also strict vegan for 6 years in my teens and early twenties. I used to be very active and passionate about advocating veganism, but once I realized I was really pushing some people away and became sick of having the same conversations with closed minded individuals, I subsided a lot. It drove my parents crazy when I was a teen. I’ll never forget the day I went around the house with a permanent marker and labeled every single product (that was Proctor & Gamble) that they “tested on animals.” So anyone who went to use that product would see it clearly in black marker and hopefully think twice about using it and buying it again. I would print out PETA ads or quotes and stick them on the fridge. I know I succeeded somewhat because both my younger brothers ended up going vegetarian and my parents eat less meat now and are more open to trying different veg dishes than they would have in the past.
What are you most excited about for the future of your art?
Everything! I’m excited about where it’s going to take me artistically, spiritually, physically. The things I’ll create, the concepts I’ll come up with, connections I’ll make. I hope it continues to inspire and uplift people and contribute in the best of ways to this world.