Jun 20, 2012
Today we had the opportunity to interview a skillful young artist, Sam Wolfe Connelly. On this interview, Sam talked about some of his ideas and concepts on creativity, illustration and life. Hope you guys enjoy it.
1) First of all I would like to thank you for doing this interview, it's an honor for us to present more about you to our readers. I would like to start asking you about when your interest for illustration and art?
I've always been into art since I can remember. I started doing illustration though after I saw an illustration by Sam Weber on the cover of Communication Arts (the 2008 issue I think). It was a portrait of a bloody vampire and I was like 'whoa, this is illustration?' and from then on out, I knew what I wanted to major in at school. I think I was always under the impression that the category of 'illustration' had to be dull and mainstream, but I was inspired to see that I could make it my own.
2) Which artists do you use for reference?
These days I really try not to look to hard at any other artist's work, alive or dead, simply because it seems really easy to slip into a state where my art doesn't feel like my own. I tend to look much more at photography as a form of inspiration, and my technique tends to branch off on its own from that. It helped me a lot in school to look closely at artists that I admired and to learn how they approached drawings, but it makes it easier on finding my 'style' by distancing myself from them now.
3) Your style is quite influenced by fine art, realistic and surrealistic paintings. How did you develop this style and how would you describe it?
I hardly ever know what to describe my own stuff as. I've heard people say 'dream like' which I think is a little funny since I rarely dream at all. I like leaving some mystery in my work. I think a valuable thing to do is hide elements from your viewer, because too much of what I see today is so blatantly exposed, it gets boring fast. Anything somberly eerie really intrigues me, and I always try my best to stay true to what I really find fascinating. I think there comes a point where you, as an artist, need to create a visual language for yourself, and the only way you can, is if you pursue and draw what you truly love. For a while I felt like I had to look for a 'style' or look for a voice to shine through in my art, but that mindset only sets you farther away from what you really should be achieving. I just take a step back and ask myself 'what do I really want to express?' rather than 'what SHOULD I express?'
4) Describe us a bit about your creative process while creating a piece.
First I'll figure out what I need to say, whether it be a job or a personal piece. I'll break it down into basic elements that I want to include and try and fit them into a nice composition using thumbnails. Sometimes I'll go through a couple, sometimes I'll got through 30. Once I figure out the blocking and shapes, I'll do a final sketch in actual size on newsprint and transfer it over to my final paper (which is usually either BFK Rives or Stonehenge). Then I'll do the actual drawing in graphite and bring it into photoshop and add some coloring.
5)What's the best thing about working with illustration and what is the worst?
Best thing is getting paid to do what I love. The worst would most definitely be dealing with the certain clientele that act like they know what they want from a project, but wind up leading you through rounds and rounds of excellent ideas only to end up where you started. It's always a shame to see good ideas go to waste.
6) How do you describe your daily routine?
I have pretty bad insomnia, so I'll tend to wake up around noon, make coffee, answer some emails, and sit down at the drawing table at around 1. From then on til about 3-4 am I'll work (with a few breaks thrown in for eating and reading). Then I'll pass out, wake up, and do it all again.
7) Which is your favorite piece so far?
Usually it tends to be whatever I'm working on currently, and then immediately once I finish it, I'll hate it and never want to look on it again. BUT I guess I could say, for me, 'Harvest' seems to be the one that I enjoy the most as of now. The mood in that piece is really close to what I shoot for in all of my work and the drawing seems to speak well for itself.
8) Tell us five lessons you believe are really important for every illustrator.
-Even when you're working for a client, you're working for yourself, so make your art appealing to you. In some cases you'll have to compromise, but it's a good mindset to start things off with.
-You're bound to get a whole lot of rejection. Revel in it and use it to push your stuff further.
-Be nice to people.
-Know your own worth and don't sell yourself short.
9) Tell us some websites that you like to visit.
I found this website with a lot of hi rez images of paintings which is really great for reference and looking at close details you cant find mush of on the internet: http://www.waterlili.es/
I also like to check out what Tor.com has every once in a while because you can find interesting gems like this: http://www.tor.com/features/series/a-is-for-artist Other than that, I mainly stick to what my tumblr feed dishes out.
10) Thanks again for your time, please leave a final message for the ones who are starting out on this kind of business.
Sometimes it's hard to figure out where to start or where you want to head, but just remind yourself that as long as you're drawing or painting or making something, you're going somewhere and improving your skills. Make sure it's for you though, and no one else. Everyone makes art when they're little for their own enjoyment, so dont let the possibility of getting paid for it ruin that.