What piece of work best represents you and why?
I’d have to say it would be an older piece, one of my most iconic paintings, my first Viva La Muerte from 2008 – the pose, the rose and the skull helmet are very signature to my style. Her pose is simple and powerful. This portrait is one I’d always drawn before, but in this particular painting it feels more surreal. It’s a throwback to my older works, maybe that’s why I’m so down for it. It also represents my Hispanic culture and upbringing. The Day of the Dead, Dia De Los Muertos, is also the day I was born. There’s just something about this painting that feels right and represents who I am.
What are you up to these days?
Right now I’m currently into patterns and working with charcoal in different ways, also getting back into film. I’m hoping I can start production with a new short film this year. I’ll keep ya posted on that!
What are three things you’ve learned that young creatives should know?
I always say, “stay focused and push yourself hard, eventually things will unfold and start to happen.” Try not to worry so much about what’s going on in the outside world. Create your own world, pursue it unrelentingly, and most importantly, believe in it!
Describe your create process – from how you select the imagery to your final brush stroke.
The inspiration just comes, it’s pretty organic. I think about my headgear collection, helmets that I find visually interesting, and I start visualizing a new character based on these external props. Sometimes it’s more topical, like if a big fight is coming up, I may want to do a new boxer. I love going to old flea markets, there’s a lot of inspiration and energy there.
Other times, it’s just seeing something strange, or even hearing a few words. Something someone says can trigger an idea, or a song, a rhythm, or a beat can push me in a certain direction. Even a specific scene from a film can lead to a new DirtyLand character.
I try to find inspiration in everything, and will write ideas down or do a quick doodle. Then it’s all about getting the sketch right, perfecting the pose. As a result, I will take that final sketch and tight pencil that I transfer onto maple board. After the pencil is on the board, it’s all about laying in the oils and finalizing the details with airbrush.