Chris: I completely agree and especially when you get sort of tunnel vision and that’s the problem with competing or obsessing over too much over work that you admire at a very young age because you haven’t necessarily haven’t figured out who you are even just as a person let alone an artist, therefore it’s easy to just co-opt someone else’s identity. I mean I did this, I said before, I traced Ninja Turtles, that’s what I did. I had my stick figure phase and I had some very interesting drawings. I look back on them now and they’re stick figures but they’re little creatures. They’re like stick creatures, but they’re really interesting. And I sort of lost all of that for a while through middle school and early high school and just kind of doing a very kind of microwave leftovers version of what was popular in the eighties and then later on I sort of came back around. It was fundamentals that eventually saved me, but the point being, it’s easy to become very you know, Steven Silver was telling me recently…he was like, “Back when I was learning, you had to work harder to see the work of others, of the pros.” Like you had to work harder to collect that work, you had to go buy a Mort Drucker book or you had to go check it out at the library. There wasn’t this sort of rapid endless, infinite slideshow of amazing paintings or amazing techniques or whatever that we have now with the internet. So therefore, it was slower, like the consumption of other people’s art was slower and that forced you to just make more of your own stuff up because you had such a…you had limited access. And now, it’s easy to just binge all the time.
Pascal: Yeah, that’s interesting. What you said at the beginning, I agree 100%. Especially the way you said it to co-opt someone else’s personality, I think that’s a great way of putting it because I think that’s what all younger artists do simply because they are looking for a point to start, which is also the hardest thing is to start get going so you just like…what a great way…co-opt someone else’s personality when you’re young and impressionable, and you don’t know who you are, like you said…everything is better than you, so you try to grab someone else’s style or even personality-wise, not just art-wise but in general. You try to model yourself after someone else. I know that at one point I had for like a year stopped looking at anything on the internet. Any art or anything, because I tell my artwork looks so much like other artists I like (inaudible) each time something would come up I would try to not look at it. I would force myself to like just sketch, draw, or just explore different things, even if I didn’t like where I was going, especially in terms of colors because believe it or not I really wasn’t good at color before.
Chris: Well that actually leads us to another question, actually two and I’ll just throw them both out there in case you know, it’s the same answer. But Jessikate Patterson says, “How do you get the inspiration for your lighting setup, is it something like film studies, or plain air painting, or photography?” And then Teagan says, “Do you have any tips on making your color palette sing?” So maybe those are the same answer, maybe not.
Pascal: First of all, three things to mention, like I don’t do plain air painting, I don’t do photography and I don’t do video studies, so that’s really funny. What I do is I’ll walk around and I’ll look at my kids and I see how the light plays on their face and I’ll look at my wife and see how beautiful she is whichever light hits her, and she’s always beautiful, so I guess that’s pretty easy. But right now I’m training a lot, so I’ll be like biking on this like bike road and the lights just the way they hit the road and go deep deep into the road and I feel like it’s like magic. I have this sense of like wonder and amazement when I’m walking around, especially in California and in the Bay area because the light here is so incredibly beautiful that it’s like, I can’t do two steps without seeing something that I want to paint or draw. And so what I do when I see that is like I literally stop and try to look at it and describe it with words in my head. I think I actually talk about this (inaudible), where I’ll look at something like for instance when the light hitting the road, I’m thinking, what exactly am I seeing here? I’m seeing there’s black, there’s white, there’s red and how is the light hitting vertically which sometimes like I’m saying things out loud, there are things and the words helps you to understand what you’re looking at because a lot of times you just don’t know. You think you’re seeing something but really when you actually describe it, you realize that you’re actually seeing something else and you also notice details that you would not necessarily notice if you don’t actually sketch it or pay real close attention to it. So describing things in my head helps me break them down in a way that I can understand and when I go home I actually try out what I actually remember from describing it.
So for instance, if I see the light hitting the road I’ll tell myself okay, so this is where I am. I am about like ten feet away from this and I’m about 6’1” so I’m about this high from the ground, and I’ll actually really tell myself those things. And I’m seeing this car going forward and it’s really really dark under the car, but it’s really light right next to the car so that’s the shadow and that’s the light of the sky reflecting right there. And the light of the sky is kind whitish but not totally white. You see white because…and I try to tell myself, why do I see it white? Oh because I’m next to it, it’s super super dark, but it’s not really white because I see this white bag and this woman who’s totally whiter than this. So I do this, I play this game of trying to describe everything I see. I’ve been doing it for a few years and actually (inaudible) basically. So I get better at it, so I go faster at doing it and now I’m able to actually like…oh, I’m seeing one thing that I really want to understand. Like well sometimes I’ll bike and I’ll see San Francisco in the distance and it’s covered by clouds and some of the tops of the buildings are shining because the light is coming through the clouds and hitting the top of the building. So I’ll just stop and look at it and tell myself the top is golden and the rest is purple. It makes no sense but it is. And that’s how I’ll draw those buildings, and I draw them and they look like photos and I’m like oh that’s amazing. But still, done in my own way. So that’s how I study lighting and that happens like 24 hours a day, literally. It’s almost like a running dialogue or monologue in the back of my mind. As I’m looking at you right now, I’m looking at my walking bands and how the light is hitting on them just thinking about it because we’re talking about it. Now we look for drawing as well before the colors, I remember this one particular instance when I was in France still, I was walking downtown basically and this car was driving by me and I was realizing that as I was looking at the car in the distance and the car was turning around this huge bend, the wheels under the car would visually move from one side of the car to the other. And if I focused on it, it looked like the wheels were actually moving alongside the surface of the car. And I was trying to describe to myself the feeling of it and then I came home and did an animation of it just in single drawings of how it would move.
And I remember thinking my god, I understood how that moved just by observing and describing it to myself. So, I would look at buildings and try to figure out how they were built from the outside in and the inside out, you know like where the back walls would be, the ones I can’t see. Try to make them like invisible in my head so I can see the structure of it, that’s also how I draw cities as well. I’m pretty good at drawing cities, not because I spend so much time drawing them although I did, it’s also because I just draw (inaudible) and try to figure out where the back things are. It’s very mechanical, that’s one of the things about drawing is like, there’s a mechanical approach in which will make you grow better but the inspiration of like how you’re going to use it is something that is always going to grow. The rest is you can learn, but the inspiration of it’s different.