Things That I Love
I had originally intended on posting an entirely different entry (one that I am particularly excited about sharing), but I felt it needed more time to have more content and be the best blog post it can be! So, with love in the air this past month in particular for many folks, I thought I would share the things I love that inspire me. This might be a good topic to pair with my recently updated artist statement, which I will copy here:
Rachel Perciphone is an illustrator who portrays strong, diverse characters within fantastical and colorful worlds. She draws inspiration and symbolism from mythology, music, comics, fantasy and sci-fi. Throughout her work, she explores themes of empowerment, nature existing with the supernatural, and body positivity. Most of her pieces begin as pencil and ink drawings while the final painting is usually completed digitally. She graduated from Moore College of Art & Design in 2014 and continues her dedication to growth as an artist through mentorships, participation in gallery shows and conventions, freelance work, and most importantly, daily practice. She continues to push her creative boundaries to create a portfolio with a specific point of view that promotes confidence and showcases the idea that beauty and inner strength is both multifaceted and plentiful.
I had a few proof-readers involved in the writing of this new artist statement and I am very thankful to them for their keen eyes and help with the trimming and editing :)
It is an interesting thing, describing your own work. I feel so "in progress" (and maybe I always will...and should!) as I evolve into the artist and person I will become. I feel so different from the artist and person I was four years ago, when I graduated from college. And even then I was very different from the person I was when I was a freshwoman. But when I look back, even in my earliest sketchbooks (cringe-worthy stuff), I can see some similarities... like layers of erased lines on a sketchbook page before the final drawing is completed over top. I can see where I started and I can see from those early days signs of where I wanted to go, even before I could see those signs myself. Now that I can recognize these patterns and directional clues and have a much more concrete idea of who I am and who I want to be, I am able to write about myself and my work in a way that encompasses the past, present, and future with more confidence and clarity. (and I also look forward to the day when I read this and think "wow, i really should rewrite my artist statement" because of all the growing I'll have done by that time)
I've had many influences over the years. In my senior year of college, we had an early assignment to cover two large illustration boards with pictures of things that inspired us, to see if there was an overall pattern we could discern. If I were to recreate that assignment, my boards would have many changes. Some pictures would carry over today, but many others would be left behind as my tastes have changed since then. I believe my inspiration boards would look more cohesive overall as well as I start to pin-point the particular things that I like, or the similarities among the differences.
Some things haven't changed over the years... At least not since middle school, when I was introduced to many of my favorite bands (and old enough to start exploring music on my own -- and to have a few CDs confiscated from my mother! By the way, Mom, since I know you will be reading this... I still love Eminem! You couldn't stop it! lol). I grew up with the music of Queen and they remain in my top three favorite bands of all time. In my early teenage years I was introduced to Rammstein by my best friend and they've remained my favorite band ever since. And right around the end of high school / start of college I first heard Florence + The Machine, which completes my top 3 favorite bands. I suspect this trio will always remain particularly special to me over the years. I've had the good luck of seeing Brian May & Roger Taylor (of Queen) perform twice, Rammstein FOUR times (when I used to think I'd never get the chance at all!), and I hope someday to see Florence perform. I listen to sooooo many different musical groups. But I think the genre I listen to the most is actually theatrical, orchestral music. I like the big crescendos and the pulsating drums and the bass.... I also love when this is combined with some electronica. Daft Punk and Hans Zimmer, for example, are in my top 10 favorites probably. They've always generally been on my favorites list. And they teamed up for the Tron: Legacy soundtrack, which I adore. I remember being so excited when it was first announced! The Dragon Age: Inquisition soundtrack by Trevor Morris is another favorite. And I think "Drive" (the movie) has one of the best song compilations for a movie. It is also one of my favorite movies. I curate playlists based on moods or genres so that when I'm in the mood to paint a particular thing, I can set the tone. I could speak on the music subject for an entire blog post, but I think I'd better move on for now.
Something I find inspiration from daily is nature. I adore sunsets, particularly the brightly colored orange, pink, and purple kind! I love bright, sunny days and those days when it's incredibly windy but warm out, just before a storm. I am continually fascinated by starry skies one can only see in the country where urban lights haven't polluted the view. I love how it looks like diamonds were just spilled into the universe like glitter in a craft room. For similar reasons, I also love fireflies in the fall. I love the moon, particularly harvest moons and when you can see the moon in full view during the evening when the sky is still blue. I like to think about how vast the universe is and how large these objects must be and how big their cast shadows are. I would love to see the Redwood forest someday so I can feel incredibly tiny and unimportant. I don't mean that negatively, but I think it's a really interesting perspective to think about how huge and how old these trees are and how much time they've existed through... but our lives are so short and we are so small and we are really just a blink in time. Tortoises amaze me for those reasons as well! I love seeing them in person and marveling at the fact that some of them are older than my grandmother and that they've seen generations walk past them and humanity change and they've lived through world wars. Animals are fascinating. Plants and flowers are fascinating. The world is a very interesting place.
Bonus facts: My favorite color is orange and my favorite animals are penguins, gorillas, and raccoons. And my cat, of course. :P
Stories! How could I not be inspired by stories? I've always been interested in mythology, and I suppose that's greatly due to both of my parents. They gave me Perciphone as a middle name (yes, yes, we know the spelling is "wrong" but it's exactly how my Mom wanted it to be spelled!) and my sisters' cool middle names inspired by great women of history and pop culture. So we all like mythology, fairy tales, magic, and history. It can be no surprise then that one of my favorite books is American Gods by Neil Gaiman. My other favorite books include Wuthering Heights, the Harry Potter series, The Uglies series, Redwall (and Brian Jacques' other works), A Court of Thorns & Roses (recommended to me by a convention goer who stopped by my table a couple years ago!), and the His Dark Materials trilogy. Among many other books, but these are the notable ones that I've enjoyed and cherished since I was a kid. And let's not forget about comics! My interest in comics began with my Dad and two old issues of Batman and Superman that were given to me (I was only allowed to pick two out of a box he was giving to my cousin. Hmph! But what a wonderfully influential two issues they were! I still have them. Nicely bagged and boarded now). Some of my favorite comics are Blacksad, Saga, Shadowman, Batman, The Crow, Locke & Key, and Calvin & Hobbes. To name a few. There really isn't enough space in this blog for everything and I'm itching to get to my spotlight category...
Bonus fact: My favorite movie is Pride & Prejudice (I also enjoy the BBC tv series immensely) and my favorite cartoon is Spongebob.
Ah! Art! The category I most wanted to talk about. This category deserves a blog post all of its own, and I am sure one of these months I will sit down and take the time to make it happen. My "top two favorites" are easy for me. Dan Dos Santos and Adam Hughes. These top two were really planted in my mind during college. For a long time prior to that, I thought Alex Ross was the numero uno in my books but... I began to realize that, despite his incredible skill, his work did not personally inspire me as much anymore. I think I started to break away from admiring the most realistic comic artist I knew of to appreciating more stylized approaches to drawing and painting. This makes sense when I think about how many artists learn and develop... often focusing on drawing accurately and using realism as a measure of skill and then learning that there is so much more beyond realism that art has to offer. And Dan Dos Santos was introduced to me in college by Dominick Saponaro (one of my favorite college instructors and veryyyyy skilled artist). And it was a very smart recommendation because his work is a beautiful blend of realistic rendering and stylization that I admire so, so much! In many ways his work is a perfect combination of my artistic interests. Adam Hughes is my favorite comic cover artist and Dan Dos Santos bridges the gap and works on both book covers and comic covers.
I have recently taken a greater interest in wanting to explore style and shape and color and surrealism more and this has led me to know many artists I now list among my favorite sources of artistic inspiration!
SO, here is a list of some of my favorite artists today (of past and present)! Soon I will make a follow up with a more in-depth blog specifically about these artists and why they inspire me. I will also update with links to their websites ASAP!
Dan Dos Santos
Scott M. Fischer
And some bonus honorable mentions working today:
Alex Dos Dias
Ivan Alifan (be prepared for some adult content with his portfolio, but truly a wonderfully skilled artist!)