[Article/Interview by George Teseleanu]
Date of birth:
July 31st 1982
What is your current location?
Olympia, Washington, USA
Tell us a little about the art styles that you use.
I present bodies, men, characters or mere figures, in states of mutation and landscapes that are similarly altered. In some they emerge from fields of black, others half buried in organic texture. It’s largely about decay and the breakdown of patterns. Aspects of it change all the time, but most trace back to long years of imitating Dali, Giger, or Alex Raymond. Much of my style is determined by working in pen exclusively, making any error a part of the final product.
What are your tools of trade?
Pilot G2 0.38mm, Pilot V-Ball, Sharpe Magnum, Uniball Vision, Gelly Roll gel pen, Photoshop.
Why did you choose these art styles?
Apart from my inspirations, it sort of chose me organically over a long time. I first attempted hatching because of Raymond’s use of it in early Flash Gordon comics. Everything else grew out of long drawing sessions in sketchbooks, often in cars or on buses.
What is your favorite one and why?
My favorite style at the moment is my reversed white on black pictures. For the longest time shadow had no place in my art, now it’s back with a vengeance.
What other art styles would you like to experiment with?
I’ve long wanted to be able to do the sort of thing Aubrey Beardsley did, the very stark and mannered far-out woodcut style. I’ve also long wanted to work more in other media, namely sculpture and film.
What is your favorite art movement and why?
Surrealism, easily. It is the first time art was permitted to explore the depths of the mind without having to depend on religious iconography or illustration as an excuse. Dali introduced me to it and the discoveries of de Chirico, Tanguy, and Ernst sealed my love for the movement. It’s amazing what one can find in a public library.
How can you define in your own word, surrealism?
There are many grandiose definitions for it, but I prefer simply to call it the art of dreams, or the unconscious. There’s more to it than that, but I find the best surrealist art resonates with me on that level, as if I’m visiting the dream of some long dead artist. More than 90% of the art I see I can just shrug and move along, but a de Chirico or Dali painting makes me pause, like something has imperceptibly changed.
Who is your favorite artist and how do you connect with his/her works?
It is a toss-up between Salvador Dali and H.R. Giger. The connection is, by now, historical. I have been admiring their works for roughly 19 years now, most of my life. It began, back then, with a mad and inexplicable excitement when viewing the works of these artists. Part of it has to do with the extreme technical ability of each and that it is used to convey the macabre and surreal. Each had a unique take on the body, on use of space, and each employed a recognizable visual language. I would argue that few artists have brought the viewer so thoroughly into their minds as Dali and Giger. Of course I admire others, for similar reasons: Max Ernst, Beksinski, Tanguy.
What influenced you to become an artist?
I was encouraged to be creative since early childhood, and of course all children draw. My parents owned many books on art history, and these were part of the germ of my interest in art. We visited museums as well, and that helped.
How long have you been an artist?
That really depends on one’s definition of “artist”. If it’s meant professionally, I was first paid for my art in 2008. If it’s meant seriously, I have been since around 1995. If it’s meant simply creating, I have been almost since birth.
How did your family and friends react of you being an artist?
Generally positively. My friends and teachers were always concerned whether I could make a living at it (and I never have yet). My immediate family was more concerned whether I was doing what made me happy. Some of the grandparents were a little cooler about the idea, but that may only be a generational thing.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Almost everywhere. My dreams and imaginings make up a large part of it, but often too it’s the world and the desire to make fun of it. I spend a lot of time on public transportation and in fast food restaurants, both of which provide kinds of inspiration. I’m also an avid movie watcher, having seen a few thousand of them, so those tend to inspire as well.
What determined you to do collaborations?
Having a younger brother who also draws did. We began collaborating at a young age, probably around the time I finally got used to him.
What can you tell us about your first collaboration?
The first outside of childhood was probably an Exquisite Corpse done with Gromyko Semper 3 years ago. I was fairly disappointed with my end of it.
Can you tell us how collaborations influenced your art?
Since a large part of my art has been collage of one form or another, I tend to collaborate with some artists posthumously. Sometimes it’s like reverse engineering, learning the other artist’s process. I’m always open to another artist’s viewpoint, and a collaboration can be like a meeting of the minds. I don’t know what degree it’s all helped me, but I’m glad for the experience.
Can you tell us how collaborations influenced you?
The early stuff with my brother spoiled me a bit because we never had to communicate much, we pretty much knew what the other would do. In my adult life I find other people need a lot more input and I have trouble with that.
Do you promote/ sell/ showcase your artworks?
Deviant Art is really the only form of promotion I have going. I’ve never had an exhibition or anything like that. Many of my works are available as prints and I am open for commissions.
How the Internet did influence your art?
The internet is what ultimately got me going on really producing art, mostly because before going online I had no audience for it. I went between various sites looking for a good place to put my art, but Deviant Art proved to be the only fit. It was the first time I actually had a receptive creative outlet, so it got me making art consistently. Before DA I made probably, a hundred drawings a year. Since I’ve been on DA I do about 500 drawings a year.
Where can people see your artworks and how can they contact you?
On Deviant Art: http://leothefox.deviantart.
You can contact George Teseleanu at firstname.lastname@example.org.