I am so excited to be able to interview a local artist here in central Florida, Brian
Demeter! He has also agreed to do a giveaway of this 5x9 Owl print!
Details of the giveaway are at the end of his interview...
(Q): Your art has such a fantastical and whimsical style - what other artists are your inspirations?
(A): Thanks. I’m a big fan of other illustrators. I’ve always loved the work of Larry Moore, Michael Whelan (Sci-Fi book cover legend), Drew Struzan (Star Wars poster fame), and Mary Grandpre (Harry Potter covers). Jimmy Pickering, Lane Smith, Peter Brown, and Oliver Jeffers jump to mind as well.
(Q): Anything else that's been inspiring you lately?
(A) Believe it or not I’ve just gotten into comic books. Only took me 34 years. I've always been a late bloomer. I’m a fan of many different artistic interpretations of iconographic imagery and well known stories so I dig how you can find that a lot in the world of comic books and graphic novels. I'm presently loving the artwork of Frank Quitely, Tim Sale, and Phil Noto.
(Q): I know you do a lot for animal causes. Do you have a favorite animal? And why?
(A): Yes, hawks. Hard to say really. I've always been attracted to birds of prey and felt a strange connection. I once found a Red-shouldered hawk's wing feather lying right in front of the driver's side of my car, like it was just miraculously placed there. I had raptors at my wedding. When I asked a spiritual guru friend what the hawk symbolized he said: "Hawks are the link between the animal world and the human world." Instant goose bumps (check out my artwork repertoire).
(Q): How can just anyone help out animals?
(A): When helping with anything in life I'm a fan of finding your own unique way of doing so. I do a lot of charity artwork for different animal related organizations for both conservation and rehabilitation... and even education. Use what you're good at as a tool to guide you.
(Q): What is a day in the life of a freelance artist/illustrator?
(A): Every artist is different so I can only speak for myself. I now have a toddler son so each day is different but before he was born I'd usually start the day with a 3 mile walk to get the blood flowing. Then once I got home a showered I'd begin work on whatever projects were going. I can usually only paint straight for about 4 hours at a time before my eyes feel like popping out of my skull. So I'd take a break and check e-mails or work on other business related items. Sometimes run errands. Then come back and work some more. If you have a rep, like I do there's a lot of juggling a bunch of aspects, like providing new samples and designing promotional materials. Plus, there's always websites, blogs, etc to maintain. Being seen is key!
(Q): What is the process that takes place when you create a new piece of art?
(A): It all begins with my favorite part: The Challenge. Once either the client or myself come up with a concept I love the spark of adrenaline that hits me. I'm usually the most creative within the first few minutes of conception. I'll create a pencil sketch and then look it over for any logistical problems. I tend to not be an over thinker in this stage which can be a double edged sword. However I prefer to maintain the initial emotion in the final piece so I don't re-visit the sketch much. Once the sketch is good to go I transfer it to which ever support I choose to work on for that piece. Could be pre-primed board, panel, wood. Then the painting, scanning, varnishing and... finished!
(Q): What would you say to other artists/musicians/creative types that want to have their dream job and work from home?
(A): This is an extremely personal decision for each artist to make. I still consider my self a beginner student in this arena but I did learn one valuable personal lesson recently. It may not be for everyone but may help some. Before taking the leap ask yourself: "Is doing art (or any artistic venture) something I enjoy more as a hobby, one where the most amount of joy comes from personal fulfillment (and perhaps a few bucks here and there, charities, contests, etc) or do I want to turn "fun" (your soul release) into "work". Is there a gray area? Of course. Is finding it easy? Not for me.
(Q): You are an amazing supporter of other independent artists and musicians (thanks!). How can people get involved in their local creative community?
(A): Response is key. If you take time to respond to other artist's work then others will take time to respond to yours when you present it. Whether you're the most famous artist in the entire universe or a child who just made art for the first time, what you truly want is a response. Simple as that.
(Q): Describe your perfect morning/evening/day.
(A): Perfect day, as an artist: George Lucas calls me, says: "Brian, I've have you and four other artist's in mind for a personal commission to hang in my office. Please get me a sketch of your favorite character to me in two hours. Whoever wins gets to be a Jedi Knight in my next production." I frantically tell my wife. She offers to take our son with her to 711 to buy me a Arizona Energy Tea and a Zone Bar (and Fig Netwons). When she gets back she drops the goods and takes our son for a out-and-about day so I can focus. Before they leave she hands me a Papa Johns gift card (for lunch). Hugs. Kisses. I'm OFF to the drawing board. My heart is pounding. I'm searching for reference. Posing in the mirror. Singing theme songs and I have it, the image! I'm sketching. Inking, Eating pizza, Painting. Scanning, E-mailing. Finally George calls me: "Sorry Brian, I've selected another artists." No worries." I respond. "I've already won a perfect day as an artist." :)
(Q): You and your lovely wife have an adorable baby boy. Has your art changed at all since you've been a daddy?
(A): As he gets older (He's 17 months now) I can see his influence coming through more prevalently. It's subtle now though. I foresee him having a big influence as he (or we) grow.
(Q): What are some ways to find art/inspiration in everyday situations?
(A): Take wisdom from a hawk. Seek it. Wait for it. Let yourself, float, glide, and soar within creativity until you spot inspiration... then dive when the time is right.
Thank you for your answers and inspiration, Brian!
Now that you all are crazy for his art and want a print yourselves, all you have to do is click here, sign up for his monthly enewsletter and come back here and comment that you signed up. The giveaway will be open until midnight, December 17.