This interview features digital artist Eric Vasquez. He is a talented artist who explores different aspects of design including mixed media arts. He also uses different styles in executing his design, resulting in a work rich in color, texture and light. Let’s take a behind-the-scenes peek into his inspirations, work process and future projects.
Can you tell us more about yourself? What influenced you to become an artist?
Well, I am a 26 year old artist living in Brooklyn, New York, which has always been a dream of mine just to be in one of the greatest cities in the world doing what I love most. It started for me when I was about four or five, scribbling on the walls of our one bedroom apartment with crayons. I was fortunate enough to have a family that always supported and encouraged these artistic inclinations, even if it meant having to paint over my beautiful masterpieces before we moved out. It wasn’t very long before I discovered the joy of comic books. After that I really got into drawing and illustrating, and as I got older I just practiced more and more. It wasn’t until highschool when I really had my first experience with Graphic Design. This was in the form of a screen printing class where we got to design and make our own t-shirts which was really quite fun. I think that was around the time that I realized that I could turn my passion into a career, and from there it was off to college where I continued to study and hone my skills at The New England Institute of Art in Boston where I received my degree.
What were your most memorable experience as a designer/digital artist?
I have had quite a few memorable experiences as a designer in my career thus far, but some of the ones that stand out to me are a lot of firsts. For example, the very first time I was published in a magazine (Advanced Photoshop) or the first time that I got to exhibit my work to the public (Artists In The Station) were both very memorable moments for me.
Which of your projects reflect you best as an artist?
This is a tough question because like most designers out there, you really put a lot of yourself into each of your projects. I am not sure if there is one particular piece that reflects all of the sides and nuances of who I am as an artist, but I can tell you that a piece called “Fire” was the first design that made me fall in love with Photoshop. It was something that I created not really knowing a whole lot about the program at the time, so it was a lot of figuring things out on the fly and working until I got the result I was trying to achieve.
Can you tell us more about the materials,techniques and medium you’re exploring?
As I mentioned in the first question I have always been an illustrator first, so I still use the pencil and paper in some of my work even if it’s just to do thumbnails or scribble down ideas. I find this very helpful for generating ideas rapidly because your first idea is not always the best. In addition to the pencil and paper however, I also like to incorporate some of my own photography and create my own textures with things like watercolor paints and inks. All of these separate elements are then brought together using either Photoshop or Illustrator, and in some cases both.
What materials/medium do you most enjoy working with?
It really depends on the type of project and what I am hoping to do with the design, but I really enjoy using more natural or traditional elements and bringing them into the digital world. After using just the software for a while things can get a bit stale so it’s always helpful when you can just get your hands dirty and explore some different approaches to your work. I would also encourage other artists to do this in order to really find their own style and develop their skills to become more well-rounded.
What would you say are the trademarks of your design?
At this point in my career I feel that I have mastered certain things like using color, light, and texture. These have sort of become staples of most of my digital work, so I am now trying to revisit some of the more traditional methods of working such as illustration and typography to show that I can do more than just create a striking piece of digital art. It is also interesting to see how I can incorporate some of the light and color effects with more traditional mediums to bring it all together and create something more unique and memorable.
Can you tell us more about your work process? How does a concept materialize from start to finish?
More often than most it starts with an idea. A lot of times it’s the simplest ideas that work best, so try to stay focused on what it is that you want to communicate with your art. A picture is worth a thousand words, but several pictures brought together are worth so much more as long as they are all working together to convey the same idea. From the concept stage I will usually do some research and rough sketches, or if I am feeling particularly strong about my idea I will jump right into Photoshop or Illustrator to start bringing it to life.
Are you working on any new project/series now?
At the moment I am working as a freelance designer in the city and doing some different projects that are more focused on typography and illustration rather than strictly digital methods. I am also experimenting with some hand-made fonts and new Photoshop techniques. I am mostly just trying to be a sponge and gather inspiration as well as trying to discover techniques that will bring some new energy into my work.
Can you give any advice to other aspiring artists out there?
I know that there are a lot of self-taught artists and designers out there, probably more than ever, but I can’t emphasize education enough. If you are doing this stuff on your own, it is still important to have a good sense of art history and the things that have been done before. Look at Neo-Classical Art, the Baroque period, Italian Renaissance, Cubism, Art Nouveau, and just immerse yourself in all of the beautiful things that are available. Look for good books, tutorials, and anything else you can get your hands on. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to fail, and never give up on something that you are truly passionate about.
Thanks so much for the opportunity to do this interview! And be sure to check out www.ericvasquez.net for more work.