Illustration November 4, 2014
Illustrator of the Day: Milan DelVecchio
ADC Member's work is "unrefined, with pockets of whimsy and crass"
Illustration Month has begun at ADC. We’ve just finished hanging a jaw-droppingly beautiful illustration exhibition here at the ADC Gallery that opens tomorrow. And on the ADC blog, we have started our ADC Illustrator of the Day series, spotlighting the many illustrators who are also ADC Members. Some are professionals, some are students, and some just draw for fun. And it looks like our next contributor might be having too much fun!
Brooklyn, NY, USA
Almost every kid likes to draw. When did it become more than just a kindergarten project for you? How was that interest nurtured?
My interest in drawing was nurtured even before kindergarten. My mother, an elementary school teacher by profession, and fine artist at heart, taught me how to draw. She still has my first self-portrait (circa 1990, age 3), framed and hanging in our living room. I decided in second grade that I either wanted to be a cartoonist or a fashion designer. From there, I honed in on developing designs for either clothing or quirky monster characters.
How much of your ability is self-taught versus through schooling?
Although my educational experience has always been geared toward the visual arts, it wasn’t until very recently that the principles in design really kicked-in for me professionally. For much of my artistic life, I have been less inclined to foundational rules – such as the Fibonacci spiral, rule of thirds etc. It is both a gift and a curse that I rarely use a reference to draw inspiration from. I am still finding that balance, but very much enjoy the development of an often ill-proportioned meandering stream-of-conscious doodle on a napkin. I find that the “randomness” is not randomness at all, but it yields the true psyche of the individual.
“It is both a gift and a curse that I rarely use a reference to draw inspiration from.”
How would you best describe your illustration style? Would you say that you had a specialty?
I would describe my style as unrefined with pockets of whimsy and crass at times, with a thoughtfulness for dissection and empathy for dissonance.
I find the most inspiration from characters who cross my path on a personal basis – which was not always the case. I am compelled by learning the origin of people, individually and according to them. I am interested in the stories they tell, the way they tell them, what details they include and the inflections and gestures they make as they tell them. I am inspired by the mutation of energy behind a more-or-less fixed physical body. The beauty in illustration for me is the opportunity to either hyperbolize or dissect. Stirring comic relief, disturbance, or the combination of the two is a reaction I’m most concerned with achieving.
What’s your weapon of choice? Any particular brands or models you swear by?
Lately, a composite of analogue charcoal and digital oil paint. I love charcoal because it’s easy to be aggressive with. Broad strokes and happenstance smudgery, very romantic. I appreciate digital software (ArtRage and Photoshop), because of its convenience. I don’t have to wait for paint to dry, I can set up shop in almost any environment, and I can work on multiple projects at once without taking up too much space. Combining digital with analogue is also a treat when it comes to collage.
Otherwise, Bic pen on exposed skin while I’m stuck in commute on the subway.
“The beauty in illustration for me is the opportunity to either hyperbolize or dissect. Stirring comic relief, disturbance, or the combination of the two is a reaction I’m most concerned with achieving.”
Finish this sentence: “Despite what you might think, illustration is not _______ .”
Illustration is not cake. Unless you draw a cake.
What other artistic passions do you have?
Fashion/Costume/Textile design, motion graphics, concept art, fiber art installation, and dance. And then all of those combined!
Which professionals do you look up to the most in the illustration world?
Ralph Steadman, Roald Dahl, Yoshitaka Amano, David Mack, Eric Carle and Brian Froud.
At the end of the day, what do you love most about being an illustrator?
The ability to defy three-dimensional physics (as we know them to be) on a two dimensional plane – and then imagining jumping into that world. So… escapism at its best?