Peace, it has been a minute since I posted. I’m working on my own project, URBAN MAGE behind the scenes and but there are a few interviews I need to publish. Here is the next interview of a very talented artist that has contributed to my project, Takeia Marie!
As it relates to your earliest memory as an artist, did Art choose you or did you choose Art? Haha, good question. I’m honestly not sure. I always liked to doodle, but the first time, I remember thinking that I really wanted to draw for the rest of my life was when my cousin first got me into anime. He showed me things like Nausicaa, Vampire Hunter D, Streetfighter the Animated Movie, and others. I remember being blown away by how detailed everything was, on top of being animated. So I guess those influences found their way to me, and then I chose art.
Who or What were your earliest inspirations and present influences that that inspire your art/comics/writing? I would say my cousin was one of my earliest influences. He also draws, and it made me realize it was something, I could actually do. As I get older, I find myself being more influenced by things that happen around me and the people that I see everyday. As far as artistic influences, my favorite artist hands down is Joe Mad, but I like looking at art that’s even outside of my style range because I think there’s something unique and interesting in different art forms.
How important is it to study your art and how do you approach keeping your skills sharp? I try to sketch something everyday and draw from life. I just try to keep practicing as much as I can.
What are some books that are on your personal shelf? Story by Robert McKee, Invisible Ink by Brian McDonald (I highly recommend that one), some art books like Kim Jung Gi’s 2011 sketch collection, The Legend of Korra art book, and various comics.
Are there any titles that you are currently reading? I’m reading Saga, Watson and Holmes, and Locke & Key
Give us a description of your Creative Lab or Studio where you work and how is the environment a co-creator or partner in ultimately what you create? Haha, I’ll be really happy when I have a room that I can use as my own studio. Right now I live in an apartment and I have my computer desk, which is set up with my Wacom Intuos tablet and a standard and large format printer. I also have a drawing desk which has all my traditional tools.
I like to jump between working digitally and traditionally depending on the project. There are times that I do everything on my computer and there are times when I’ll lay everything out digitally, print it out and lightbox over the layout with pencil or ink traditionally. It really depends on how I feel.
If Art can save the world, then that makes the Artist a Superhero; and every Hero needs theme music. Name the song or songs that you listen to for inspiration as you create? Everyone knows me to be a big Hip-Hop fan, and I do listen to that sometimes when I draw. But I’ll also listen to Heavy Metal bands like Disturbed, especially when I’m drawing intense action scenes, or sometimes if I’m in a more laid back, chill type of mood I’ll listen to some classic and 90’s R&B and soul music.
What techniques & tools do you employ to bring ideas to life? I work in a hybrid digital/traditional method, depending on what I’m working on. In most cases, it’s going to be my tablet and/or pencils and paper.
How would you describe your writing style or artistic technique? I would say my artistic style can range from comic-bookish to cartoony. Sometimes, I like to switch up the style that I’m drawing in, if for no other reason than to not get bored with doing the same thing over and over.
In terms of personal projects, what is the Flagship creative project for your company and how did you come up with the idea for the concept? The Forgotten is a story that I’m working on in between other projects. It centers around a young girl and a group of people living in an abandoned city that has been cut off from the rest of the world. The things that those people become willing to do in order to escape. I have concept art that I haven’t really shown anyone yet and some rough page layouts. It’s an idea that I came up with in the wake of a lot of discriminatory things that I saw going on in my community and stories that I’ve heard from families and friends.
is a story that I’m working on in between other projects. It centers around a young girl and a group of people living in an abandoned city that has been cut off from the rest of the world. The things that those people become willing to do in order to escape. I have concept art that I haven’t really shown anyone yet and some rough page layouts. It’s an idea that I came up with in the wake of a lot of discriminatory things that I saw going on in my community and stories that I’ve heard from families and friends.
What are some of the most immediate/follow-up projects? Fired is another story that I’m working on that will actually be closer to completion than The Forgotten simply because it’s shorter. It’s a little more light-hearted and it’s just about a lazy girl who hates her job and the crazy adventure she has after getting fired. It’s my way of paying homage to old rpgs that I loved like Final Fantasy VII and Legend of Legaia as well as old anime that blew me away action-wise like DBZ, Project A-KO, or YuYu Hakusho.
I’ve also worked on a short comic called Pathways with Justin Martin of R-Squared Comicz that will be coming out soon.
Talk about the difficulties of being an independent artist and the hurdles you’ve overcome to produce and publish your own works. I think I’m still trying to jump a lot of those hurdles, lol. One of the things I find that still tends to be a big problem is the assumption that artists should work simply for the love of making art. No one actually says that to you in those exact words, but you can tell when the sentiment is there. As artists, I think we are caught in this thing where we do work for free in order to get exposure (usually when we’re inexperienced), and then are consistently expected to work for free in order to get exposure – and at no time is payment even considered. Most people who ask you to work for exposure will have the same “my idea is going to hit it big” attitude, but no actual strategy for getting their product out there and promoting it. I’ve heard stories from pro artists that still get the occasional emails asking them to work for exposure, even though they’ve been working professionally in the industry for years.
I came to the conclusion, that if you’re going to work for free, unless it’s with a partner that you trust who is hard-working and has a concrete plan for getting their book out there, you might-as-well work on your own projects and get exposure for something that is yours.
What is your preferred medium for your stories; comic book, graphic novel, animation or movie? I like any medium that allows me to get a full story in one sitting. So I’ve always preferred graphic novels or trades as opposed to going to the store and picking up single issues. To me, the month or so break in between each issue takes the reader out of the story, especially when they’re reading a bunch of different titles simultaneously. I even think the one-shot can be a great medium for telling a successful story, like Halloween Eve by Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder or Sanford Greene’s Rotten Apple.
Here’s a fun question. Name a mainstream project/character or an independent project and/or character that you’d love to work on or revamp and what would you do to put your twist on it? People always laugh when I say this, but I always loved Sonic The Hedgehog and wouldn’t mind doing an issue on that comic. It was one of my favorite comics when I was younger and it would be cool to work on it.
For the independent artist, how has technology affected the way you are able to do business or make progress on your art? For example, but not limited to: Finding Clients? Artistic Collaboration? Getting work done? I think technology is a double-edged sword. The great thing about it is that it has given independent artists and self-publishers a huge advantage. Self-publishing used to be a lot harder and now it’s more accessible. That accessibility, however, is why technology is a double-edged sword, because it means that the market becomes saturated and you have to work harder to stand out. It’s not a bad thing, but technology comes with its gifts and challenges. It has definitely been an asset in streamlining my work flow, allowing me to meet artists that inspire me every day, and allowing me to work with different people in different avenues of entertainment.
Here are two questions about event presentations, conferences, fairs etc. What are the conferences that are on your yearly schedule to attend? New York Comic Con, Special Edition NYC (even though this one is new but I will be attending yearly), Mocca Fest, and Bronx Heroes Con.
What advice do you give to aspiring artists of all mediums about the importance of events and how do you prepare to maximize your potential at these fairs? These events are essential for getting your work critiqued. There are so many talented artists that are willing to take a look at an aspiring artist’s portfolio and give constructive feedback. Honestly, some people will really rip into your work, but it’s good because it helps an artist to grow a thick skin and to be able to take criticism (which, let’s be honest, is hard for all of us at least at the beginning).
I carry a portfolio with me and business cards and question the artists I look up to as much as I can. A lot of the best advice I got in terms of doing business as an artist came from just talking to people in artist alley at New York Con. Most of them are extremely open and willing to share the things that they’ve learned and their experiences.
On the idea of Art Imitates Life or Life Imitates Art, is the role of Art in human existence a catalyst for behavior and community building or is Art a mirror to reflect the world of what was and what is? I think it’s a little bit of both. Art definitely inspires the human experience and change in our culture in society. Look at all the technology we have now – especially touch screen technology. You saw that in a lot of sci-fi movies, shows, or books long before it ever existed in mainstream society. I think our imaginations will continue to influence the future of the world that way. At the same time, art is always going to be a way to comment on things that are going on in our society and the issues that we need to face.
Due to budget cuts for schools, classes and after-school programs, primarily in black and Latino communities, the youth are not getting exposed or are exposed to very little physical education and the arts. How important do you feel the arts are to the lives of the youth? I think it’s very important! It’s definitely an outlet that most young people otherwise wouldn’t have. If you think about it, our world is fueled by artists, down to the technology that has been created in recent years. So young people are the future artists that we’ll need down the road to keep prospering.
Whether it’s the concept of Six Degrees of Separation or Its A Small World, the culture to are smaller than outsiders know. To bridge the gap between yourself and your peers, do you belong to any artist groups or forums, if so which ones? I’m not a part of this group anymore, but Xion, which is a comic book group based out of Philadelphia, was a great community and worth checking out if you’re in Philly.
Khary Randolph also has an awesome Drink & Draw in NYC at Mary-O’s in the East Village. I’m really guilty of not attending often and he’s gotten on me about it before, lol. But that’s a habit I need to break. Here’s the Facebook page if anyone is interested:
Now to bridge the gap between your art and the public at large, give the name and address of your sites and forums where people can see your creativity and how people can get in contact with you for commissions and/or to follow your work?
Deviant Art: www.kiadesignz.deviantart.com
What impact would you like your art to make on the world? Honestly, I would hope that my art helps or inspires someone. I would love for my art to impact the world, but I think that starts with impacting individuals first.
What are your favorite quotes or philosophies of life that help you improve as a person or artist? I remember Louis C.K said one time:
“We don’t have any years left. No one has any years left. You’re born with none and you leave with how many you got.”
At first glance, that sounds kind of depressing and I know some people who have rolled their eyes at that quote, but I took it as this: we’re all born with how ever many years we’re going to get, and it’s up to us to choose how we want to spend those years. I think that artists are immortalized through their work and through the people that they inspire and influence. To me, that’s something worth remembering.
Thank you Takeia for taking the time to answer my questions. I appreciate it!
That’s it for now everyone! I must get back to editing and writing! Until next time…
Keep it Positive, Keep it Kinetic
& Stay Creative!
– Ced Pharaoh