Today I'm featuring a literal artist on the blog and the only male to grace this week of indie artist showcasing. I know Jonah personally through my local church, through competitive dodge-ball games at youth group, and through being co-workers at summer camp (where he is aptly named "Sketch"). As an artist myself, I always enjoyed seeing Jonah working on his various drawings while sitting in chapel or during youth group Bible study and I love his style of art. For mine and Jonathan's wedding he made us this beautiful painting that I am uber excited to hang in our house when we finally put up some nails. Right now it generally sits on our kitchen table and I see it every morning. He also did the self-portrait above. ^
You can find Jonah on...
Facebook and Instagram and view more of his amazing art.
You can check out our interview here below...
Q: When did you first start drawing and when did you first start drawing seriously?
A: I’ve really been drawing for as long as I can remember. My mom still has pictures I drew when I was four or five, so for most of my life I guess. I always enjoyed art and drawing, but it wasn’t until around grade 7 or 8 when I really starting doing it as a regular thing instead of just an occasional hobby.
Q: What do you consider your epiphany moment, where you decided this was what you wanted to do?
A: I’m not sure if there was really a specific moment when I decided. I think it was more of a gradual thing. Probably if there was a moment, it was when I started to seriously consider my future, and creating art was really the only thing that realistically came to mind. It’s the only thing that I can see myself doing, not that I couldn’t do something else if needed.
Q: Do you have a process when it comes down to making art? How do you usually start projects?
A: I’m not too sure if I have much of a process really. It depends on what I’m creating. Random doodles and sketches will often turn into a finished drawing, but paintings or more serious drawings usually require planning out for them. When starting a project, I’ll usually think of what I want the finished product to look like in my mind, then put on some good music and just kind of let it happen.
Q: How much time do you generally take on any given piece of work?
A: It really depends on what I’m working on. I’m somewhat of a perfectionist, which means that in my opinion I usually take way too long on the project I’m doing. Sometimes it really pays off and I really like how it looks, but sometimes I get too into it, and after all the time I sunk into it, take a step back and realize all the mistakes I made which I couldn’t see while working on it. At that point, I have to decide if I want to take the time fixing it, or just scrap it. Conclusion is that it’s usually too long. For drawings it’s usually around 5 or 6 hours, while paintings maybe 10-15.
Q: What would you say is the key to the success you’ve seen in your growth as an artist over the years?
A: Really, just practice, practice, practice. When I started, I didn’t consider myself a good artist, and in some ways I still don’t. I think it’s constantly a growing process and you should always be challenging yourself. I look back at even stuff I made from a few months ago and can pick out so many things I don’t like and have already gotten better at doing. Basically, don’t ever be satisfied with where you currently are. Always be shooting for something better.
Q: What are your favorite materials to use? What are some tried and true brands you depend on or can recommend?
A: I’m not exactly rich, so for the most part, I tend to buy cheaper supplies that maybe aren’t considered very artistic. For the past several years I’ve almost exclusively used ballpoint pens from Dollarama. I’m kind of returning to using pencil now mostly because of art college, but it is better really than just pen. I very much enjoy acrylic paints and what you can do with them. As for specific brands, I really like Prismacolour markers for colouring inked drawings, but other than that, I usually go with whatever’s cheapest.
Q: What is one thing (or several!) you would like to see change about how the creative community is treated when it comes to working as an artist, especially an independent one?
A: I think just to be taken more seriously as professionals. That’s something that’s changed a fair amount in today’s culture, but I think there is still a degree to which artists aren’t quite given the respect they deserve and may be seen as slackers.
Q: Did you take art lessons when you were younger? Or were you more self-taught?
A: I was always in art class in school, but I consider myself more self taught. I don’t think I learned too, too much in art class until later on in grades 9-12, which is after I considered myself an artist.
Q: Do you have any degrees/certificates in your artistic field? Or are you pursuing any?
A: I don’t have any. I’m currently in art college, hoping to major in Character Design, with a minor in Comics.
Q: What advice do you have for aspiring young artists? What is the best advice you’ve received?
A: Really, just practice all the time. Pay attention to your mistakes and always work on them, because if you don’t, you’ll end up an art college student who can’t draw feet.
Q: What is your favorite and least favorite part of art for you?
A: I really enjoy doing the lighting on objects/people, so basically shading. I think my least favorite is when I discover a huge mistake I made and having to figure out how I’m going to fix it.
Q: Who is someone who inspires your artistic career?
A: I have several, hopefully that’s ok if I list a few of them. I’ve always really enjoyed reading different comics like Jeff Smith’s Bone, Stephen Pastis’ Pearls Before Swine, and more recently, Hirohiko Araki’s JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. As well, I really like the various artworks by Salvador Dali and Roger Dean.
Q: What is your favorite style of art to work in? What is your favorite medium?
A: I usually work in a fairly realistic style. I’ve been trying to get better in other styles that are a little more cartoonish recently. I really like acrylic paint, but the meium I use the most is just pen and ink.
Q: I understand you are a fan of classic rock, do you have a particular favorite band or bands?
A: That’s hard to answer because there’s so many I like, but my top choices would be Pink Floyd, CCR, ELO, Fleetwood Mac, and ABBA.
Q: Where do you see/want to see your career in five years?
A: I’d like to see myself in a stable job maybe working with a gaming company doing character artwork, or illustrating my own, or someone else’s comic.
Q: Aside from art, what are some of your other hobbies/talents?
A: I played the piano for roughly 12 years of my life, I do enjoy it, but I haven’t been able to play much recently. I also play video games a fair amount. A talent I have is being able to whistle and hum at the same time, though I don’t know if that’s a fairly common talent.
Q: How have you managed your time to effectively create while still being able to do other things you love/hold a job/etc?
A: To be honest, recently art’s been more of a side thing while other things like a job and things at home have taken centre stage. I have been known to be fairly bad at time management, leaving project’s until the night before, etc, so hopefully I can change that.
Q: What is something you would like to see change in the creative community?
A: Modern art. I understand that nowadays art is less so about the visual appeal of the art and more about the ideas behind the art. I know and agree with the point that art needs to have a idea or driving force behind it to convey the artist’s message, but in my opinion certain modern art projects are just piles of trash. And I do mean that literally. Maybe I’m too literal to get the idea behind the art, but I do believe that some modern art nowadays is random things thrown together and called art, which I really hate.
Q: Do you ever have times of self-doubt and worry that you find hard to get through concerning your creative career? Do you mind sharing about them?
A: Yeah, pretty much all the time. Wondering if I should’ve gone to a college for something more stable, for what I don’t know. Art is my passion is really the only thing I can see myself doing. I also compare myself to others constantly, which in some circumstances is good, and a way to better yourself, but it also can negatively impact you and make you feel inadequate, which I do a fair amount more than I should.
Q: Where/how do you gather the most inspiration for your art?
A: Unfortunately, I’m not the most creative person. So a lot of my inspiration comes from the things that I enjoy and from the people I look up to. Whether it be a comic I like or a game I’m into at the time. I’m trying to work on myself to change that.
Q: What is your biggest dream relating to your creative career?
A: I think it would be super cool to work somewhere like Nintendo, designing characters or locations for the games I love playing.
Q: What do you feel has been a defining moment in your art career so far?
A: 2 years ago, in grade 11, my school put on a huge production called The Music Man. Unfortunately, the art class had to give up our entire year to paint the sets for the play. That really sucked, but one good thing came out of it. The school got the art class to create the poster for the play, and all the students created one. Mine was the one that got chosen as the official poster for the play, which I feel was a really big step for me. Also get to somewhat learn Photoshop while doing it, which was cool!
Q: What do you feel is the hardest part of being an independent artist?
A: I’m not sure if I’d consider myself an independant artist yet. Like, I’m not working for anybody, but I’m not exactly selling artwork on my own either. I’m doing it more for fun and to better myself right now. Although, from what I’ve seen, I’m thinking the hardest part is getting your name out there and being known.
Q: And what is the most rewarding?
A: I’d think it would be getting an artwork exactly right, either to what you foresaw it being, or just what the consumer wanted.
Q: Finally, where do you see your career heading in the near future? Any big changes or excitement ahead that you’re looking forward to?
A: To be completely honest, I’m not too sure where I see it going. I kinda know what I’d fields I’d like to go into after college, but I know that a lot of people at ACAD find something else that they love and start doing that, so I guess I’ll just go through it and see where God leads me.
Thank you, Jonah, for your participation, and thank YOU for taking the time to check out another indie artist. Please take a look and some of Jonah's work through the links above and let him know what you think. Also be sure to leave a comment, especially if you have any more questions! See you tomorrow for the next feature! :D