Joey Potts Interview:
Global Location: USA
Joey is the co-creative director at Formula Werks and has called Chicago his home for the past several years, after graduating with a BFA in Illustration from the Maryland Institute, College of Art. He has been drawing and painting since childhood. His father’s drawings, Saturday morning cartoons, video games, plush animals, comic books, T-shirt illustrations, toys, and skateboarding were his earliest influences. After graduating, he moved to Chicago where he was able to focus his attention on apparel design, custom painted shoes and toys, and of course, paintings on canvas and wood panels. He is always working on new pieces and hand-painted customs for shows in the U.S., Asia, and Europe, as well as many other artistic ventures. Joey’s clients include New Balance, Hasbro, Beautiful Decay, Burger King, and Freshly Dipped. When not painting, he is drawing, creating T-shirt designs, pacing back and forth, hating slow computers, and dreaming of eating a steak. He is also a founding member of the Chicago art collective the Cartel.
AP: What inspires your art?
JP: Everyday life including, but not limited too: waking up, walking down the street, music, friends, skateboarding, the news, T.V., the internets, t-shirts, other artists, signs, old photographs, science fiction, folklore, myths and mythical creatures, religion, good design, old paper, stains, woodgrain, food, patterns, family…it goes on and on.
AP: What is the relationship between technique and content in your work?
JP: 90% of all pieces start out as sketches- these vary from quick scribbles to detailed drawings. These sketches help me to figure out the technique I’m going to use for each piece. If I’m doing a highly detailed painting then the technique is very slow- I sketch in the base of the drawing onto the panel or canvas, mix color, underpaint, block paint, and then continue with the highlights/shading/glazing etc etc etc etc etc. If its a loose collage then I’ll usually time myself to be done within a given amount of time, which forces me to focus on the essential components in the piece. If its a drawing than it starts as a pencil base drawing on the paper and I then proceed to ink it.
AP: Describe your first experience of making art and how it affected your life’s journey.
JP: The first art that I can vividly remember was when I was about 5yrs old. Out of nowhere my dad brought home a drafting table and a ‘Learn how to draw Cartoons’ book. I remember sitting there for hours tracing and trying to copy the images, and eventually adding my own features to the cartoons to make them my own. Being that young I didn’t think much about it, I just knew that it was fun and that I enjoyed doing it. I guess that enjoyment and that personal time that art gives has never gone away!
AP: Describe your most recent experience of making art.
JP: Ha, well, the most recent didn’t go so well! I’ve been experimenting with some different mediums and approaches- and yeah, lets just say it won’t be posted on any websites or in my portfolio! However, even though my last experience was an epic fail, I learned and I will try again and again- I believe that’s one of the most important aspects of making art, to try new things, to experiment, to learn and to apply these experiences to the next project.
AP: Take us on a guided tour through a day in your life as an artist.
JP: Honestly, its not very exciting, ha! I wake up, pour myself some coffee and get on the internet to look for full time jobs (I was recently laid off). When I’ve finished the job search or am so frustrated that I want to put my head through a wall I go downstairs to my studio and start working. I may be working on a new t-shirt design, a commissioned piece, a painting or collage, or I may just tack some newsprint to the wall and paint gestural squares for an hour or so. Basically, my day just repeats like that, between downstairs and upstairs, the studio and the office- with numerous stops in the kitchen for coffee/meals/snacks.