Artist Proof Interview with Artist: Mike Lemos
Global Location: Lovely San BuenaVentura
AP Shop URL: http://www.zazzle.com/mikelemos
Born and raised So Cal artist now residing in San Buenaventura, CA.
I paint, I draw, design characters, logos and create fine art via both digital & traditional mediums. Over 20 years of professional experience for a wide range of clients & markets, creating design graphics & illustration, character design and concepts for toys, product, working with some great companies and clients.
AP: How long have you been making art for and what lead you to start.
ML: So yeah, memories going back to being 4 or 5, finding out I could use drawing to “communicate” my feelings about my older sister (7 years on me) picking on me by drawing a goofy picture of her and then doing it in with heavy scribbles before she could bring my mom back to show her what I drew.
Really what led me into doing art was using my imagination to deal with the anxieties (that a lot of time my imagination was creating in the first place, you know, monsters under the bed) and being really shy. it was a way to interact with the other kids in class by drawing cars, “army pictures”, alien invasion, space battles, monsters etc., so in other words art for me was “empowering”…
So how long?
Well professionally I got my first full time in house art gig in my early 20s for a company that did a lot of novelties (posters, old school t-shirt transfers, etc.) for the entertainment industry in the early 80s and I’ve stuck with doing art for a living from there on.
AP: Where do you currently live and work ω And how does this influence your work.
ML: I moved from L.A. California where I was born and raised to Ventura CA. about ten years ago and it has a very close knit creative community and art scene that has been thriving in the last 2-5 years, so that’s really inspiring and a great motivator (along with great friends) to creating new art everyday.
AP: Did you have formal training if so whatω If your self taught can you tell us what you prefer about being a self taught artist vs having formal training.
ML: No, I’m not formally trained. I starting worked at my first in-house gig in my early 20s as an air brush artist creating art for a company that made merchandise for most of the big entertainment companies in L.A., which gave me on the job training from the people that have took me under their wing, & encouraged me thru shared knowledge. I think not having a formal education may have the advantage of not being told by someone else what I “can” or “can’t do” and my finding those things out for myself…
AP: Can you tell us about where you make your work is it in your house, a studio etc.. and how it effects your work.
ML: I work at home working off my mac and my old oak art table pretty standard in the simple sense but I’m also creating another work space so I can do larger scale and more projects.
AP: What are some of you favorite design projects/exhibitions you have worked on to date.
ML: I’ve done Star Wars cards for Topps over the years, but the first was the most fun being that a lot of folks gave the art a lot of attention and also remembered the first card I did for the 1st Galaxy set years after.
I’m currently working on paintings for local shows in Ventura put on by Christina (Savage Tattoo) Diaz/Pistol Productions. The shows are the most fun I’ve had in years as an artist, they’re fun and the people and artist involved are great!
AP: What is your medium of choice.
ML: Acrylics and I love doing ink work though I do more digital work these days I’m going back and doing more traditional work again. Lots more fun in the tactile sense. I’m “glow-in-the-dark” crazy right now and just about everything I’m doing currently is done with intense glow paint.
AP: What is the relationship between technique and content in your work.
ML: Hmmm, dunno, I like to work in a lot of ways which can really influence technique but my whole objective is to get the content I’m aiming for.
AP: Who are some of the artists that have inspired you and or your work.
ML: Right off the bat I’d have to say Rick Griffin, a lot of the old EC guys, Wally Wood and the rest. Then there’s plus Big Daddy Roth, wacky Basil Wolverton or artist like Roger Dean who did a lot of art for various bands I listened to growing up way back when… Wow, so many people bring influence….
AP: In what direction would you like to see your work going over the next five years.
ML: More and more traditional painting and fine art, maybe some animation and definitely sculpted work.
AP: What forth coming projects and or exhibitions do you have scheduled for 2011.
ML: I’m doing art for the shows I mentioned being put on by Pistol Productions thru till November and I’m working on new characters and designs for some personal projects I plan on getting out there soon…
AP: Take us on a guided tour through a day in your life as an artist.
ML: An ideal day is starting off by writing in my journal, hitting my email inbox and some coffee, gathering a few updates for some visual input via some of the creative sites on the web, then I break into planning out my day depending what I’m working on, which means some drawing and painting and or whatever art I might be working on digitally. I usually have a long day which will start about 9 or 10am and go on until past midnight… I’m very passionate about my work.
AP: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions.