Q1: Before you introduce yourself and the type of work you are in, can you possibly share what we missed out on from your progress in 2011, events, commissions, projects etc?
A: In 2011, I began a new effort to keep my art skills honed, by making contact with various Facebook and Model Mayhem contacts and asked them, as an exercise, if I could draw/illustrate them from their preferred stock of images and consequently, received quite a few responses. (Much work to be done!) Also, I made my annual pilgrimage to the San Diego Comic Con to not only stay apprised of the pop culture market, but, also to collect and assemble various interviews of artists and individuals in the industry for a documentary (and a website) that I’m putting together. Stay tuned
Q2: When did you realize your art was important, that your art was what you wanted to do, did anyone influence you, existing digital or traditional artists?
A: I realized that my artwork was important (at least to me) when I was very young. My older brother, Kevin, was an extremely good artist and painter and his work inspired me to get involved. My friend (and professional artist) Christopher Hawkes and I would spend hours and hours drawing, from comic books and invent spaceships and establish our likes from our early teens onward.
From that time til now I discovered the traditional artists that influenced me, among whom were Sal and John Buscema, Neal Adams, Drew Struzan, Adam Hughes, Norman Rockwell, Bob Peak, John Berkey, Tom Lovell, Arnold Friberg and many more that would fill up this page forever.
As far as digital artists, off the top of my head would be, Serge Birault, Sparth (Nicolas Bouvier), Yanick Dusseault (Dusso), Neville Page, and there are others (but, it’s easier for me to recall the traditional artists for some reason).
Q3: Can you explain what your main tools are in creating your art?, and also would you encourage others to update their equipment or master what they have before taking on something new – is the need to update equipment or software programs important in order to producing art?
A: The tools that I use are varied. It usually depends on the project. Primarily I use pencil to draw and even to sketch out my ideas in a thumbnail format, and periodically I will use Photoshop to assemble a composite to Illustrate from (I currently have at least 4 Illustrations waiting to be completed from such composites) and I enjoy using oils. I also like to use a simple program called Art Rage as a tool to flesh out a painting idea that I may have, and I just recently began sculpting as a result of having that interest all my life and it being stoked by digital 3D modeling. Although, I don’t have anything to show from that yet. I think it is very important for upcoming artists to stay informed about new tools in creating art, because there is no reason to reinvent the wheel and work hard solely for the sake of working hard as an artist. I also believe that it is imperative that artists should work in traditional methods at least for the sake of exercising their skills. Those efforts can always translate to using other tools. Besides, there is nothing like the feeling of creating with your hands.
Q4: Everyone endures a long or short process of learning and adapting, as well as the ability of mixing up styles from existing tutorials. How was your experience of learning your own art? And what would you suggest to others who are trying to learn of their own ‘art’?
A: My experience of learning my own art could always have been more focused. I have many interests and, unfortunately, to a certain extent, have become a Jack of all trades and master of none or few. But, I think that the focusing process of learning what you REALLY want to do in life requires some pain. Time is the inescapable diminishing asset of life, so an artist (or anyone for that matter) should really sit down and ask themselves, “If everything else were to be taken away from me in this life, what is the one thing that I would have to keep in order to find true happiness in my life?” The answers are as varied and individualized as there are people, but, that is the spice and blessing of life, that each of us can find out what our unique focus is and inspire others with it. And, I would recommend that artists make good use of the blessing that IS YouTube! There is a veritable cornucopia of resources to help an artist find his preferred artistic method(s).
Q5: How would you describe the important elements of creating ‘art’? is it important to create a guide or notes of what to do and what not to do when you begin the long process of creating an art piece?
A: As far as the method of creating art I would suggest a couple of things:
First, start in a broad, basic manner. After determining what the end product itself is to be (i.e. sculpture, movie poster…) start with a sketch. Start with simple shapes then graduallywork in details, NOT the other way around. Rough out some thumbnail ideas and then the resultant idea will come to you. I also believe that through that process, when an idea occurs to you regarding a procedural method, then by all means write it down. You may not have to always have it there in front of you, but, it’s important at first to write things down that occur to you that will help. Plus, if you ever want to do a tutorial of any sort, it will help you and the pupil, along the way.
In regards to the individual paradigm of the artist, I am a firm believer that inspiration can never be forced! Inspiration comes to you whenever IT wants to. At the same time, when developing a project, and creating thumbnails, that process becomes the required element for ideas to become realized. And during that process I have found that I am finding the concept and what the result will be. It’s almost as if it already exists and we have to go through that process in order to discover our “treasure” if you will.
I have a belief (and I selfishly claim credit for this philosophy) that ”luck is the by-product of purposeful and hard work”.
Q6: It is very common to endure the ‘struggles’ and the ‘weight’ of art around you, what were the struggles that you encountered and how would you suggest to others on how to cope with it?
A: Well, I try to avoid experiencing the weighty angst in any form of art. Life is too short and tough enough without being somehow socially obligated to the artistically expressed angst of others. Having said that, as an individual, some of the struggles that I have had to deal with are finding a market that I could fill, and being true to myself as an artist. How do I balance eating, living and “art”-ing? I think that the very nature of being an artist is in part a struggle. By that I mean, as artists, we have a NEED to express ourselves. It’s not just a mere interest. And when we are not creating, then we have a bit of a hole inside us that needs to be filled. We live in a world in which art generally tends to be considered a luxury or a pastime as opposed to a needed commodity. And even though art is a very beautiful thing, that partially contributes to making life much more exciting and worth living, that’s just the way that the world is, it’s not good or bad, it’s just is the way of things, and that’s fine. No one else should be obligated to pay for our lifestyle! And that reality is a struggle. There are plenty of opportunities in this new digital world, we just need to (as anyone else does) find our own niche as artists in this life. And I strongly believe that there is always a special place in the world for each of us, but, it really does take work on each of our parts to find it. We shouldn’t be placed in a position of exposure in life, we must earn it. There is no other way to become self confident and earn the true appreciation and inspiration of others. And that experience can never be taken from you!
Q7: Besides the current field of work you are in, do you have anything outside that you would like to share with us? Any other future plans that don’t involve creative art?
A: Along with my more “traditional” art, I have taken another form of art as a filmmaker. It is also a visual medium and by it’s nature can be a vehicle for many artists to collaborate and share their varied instincts. But apart from that, I don’t really see anything prominent that does not involve some form of art, apart from the day to day living in this world stuff (life, marriage, family etc).
Q8: A few artists go by a quote or a motto to keep reminding them selves to work hard and think positive if they are to encounter ‘a bad day’. So are there any words you want to share out to others that may inspire them to work hard and continue working. An inspirational quote to motivate others?
A: An inspirational quote:…..hmmmm….I am sure that there are many, but, this is one of those ideas that I came up with that may be appropriate:
“There is no such thing as a difficult or ‘hard’ job! Only a single collection of extremely simple and organized steps that complete the whole.” -Jonathan Olson (me)
Q9: Any predictions of what the future holds for art?
A: I would predict that the digital methods for creating art will become more and more hands-on and simulate the actual physical process of creating art. And it will have the benefits that come with digital (i.e. CTRL + Z).
Q10: I’m sure you have sites you would like to share with us of your work, so please do share them with us here for fans and followers to keep an update of your progress.
A: The work that I have posted is varied and a bit sparse, but, as I create more artwork, I will be placing more samples on various sites such as http://www.ArtWanted.com/JonnyO, or even on my Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/JonnnyOcean), and others to come.
I am also in the process of developing a website for my documentary, stay tuned for updates on the other websites mentioned that will link to that website.
Q11: Last year I asked a question regarding ‘art theft’ this year will be no different. Do you have anything you would like to share out regarding ‘art theft’ and maybe also shed some light on what artists should do when exposing their art work on the vast world of the internet.
A: If there are people out there who feel the need to steal someone’s art, a quote from the film “Liar, Liar” comes to mind, “QUIT BREAKIN’ THE LAW A**H0LE!” Look, don’t be a putz! If you like someone’s art, be humble enough to acknowledge it! Heck, feel free to try and contact that artist and ask them how they create their artwork and try to do it on your own. It is a satisfying process when you are good to yourself and patiently try. Give yourself the time to develop at your own pace. And if you like someone’s art, you’d be surprised at how nice many of these artists are. Go to a convention where that artist is, pay for copies of their artwork and tell them you appreciate and admire their work and you’ll be surprised at how kind that they are and how they really do appreciate your kind words. Bottom line: There is no need to steal someone’s work, and it is work!
Now from an artist’s standpoint there’s always the would-be deterrent of a small watermarked image or even setting up your html in such a way that there is no “Save Image as Option”. Certainly there are always going to be ways for the “hackinators” to get some form of copy of your art, but, I would suggest doing things that both protect you and that don’t provoke the meanies!
Q12: I didn’t get the chance to include this question for 2011, so here it is for you. Everyone has their own opinions regarding the meaning of art, or the definition of art. Any chance we can hear what you think art is from you?
A: In my view, (and here I go again waxing philosophical or whatever), I believe that ”art is the translation of emotion into the visual or even audible realm” (yeah my selfish quote again). You think of art in a painting, for example, it evokes an emotional reaction. When you listen to music, it evokes an emotional feeling. To put it simply, “the process of experiencing art is in essence a sympathetic one”.
That being said, I also have a couple of HUGE PET PEEVES regarding the misuse of art (and I don’t think that I’m alone in this). They are, that I can’t stand it when art is used as blatant, or even subversive, political propaganda, whether in a film or music or otherwise! I simply hate that! Now, I realize that art can be a very powerful method for those intentions, but, in my experience, when art is used that way, it not only cheapens art as a beautiful motivational vehicle, but, it contaminates the whole artistic process. Another irritant of mine regarding art, is that I don’t “get”, or even really want to socialize with, people who overly-intellectualize art. Enough with the urine soaked crosses and the elephant dung rubbish, because that is all that those things are…CRAP! I simply believe that those folks are just provoking and pissing off those that they don’t agree with and stroking their own egos while in the process of intellectual “self-gratification” (if you catch my drift).
Look, to each his own, I guess, but, there are many better, influential and productive uses for art.
Q13: And finally for the last question to round off our interview, ‘a picture says a thousand words’ or ‘tell a story’ out of your current portfolio, do you have one that you favour the most and why? Is there a subliminal message within your work?
A: Well first off, I have certainly not placed any subliminal messages in my art, but, if I were to “analyze” my artwork, I would say that it does say that I am a very passionate and imaginative individual who is anxious to express and live that positive energy.
That’s about it!
Thank you again for your time and interest!
Q14: Ok so this is optional, just out of curiosity what annoys you the most in your field of work? Do you get a lot of requests on art collabs, interviews, features etc etc?
A: In answer to that I would repeat what I stated above about the politicization and over-intellectualism of art.)
Hey Khuan, Thanks again for your consideration!