It is pretty easy to just draw the main character, but I found that when it comes to developing character I prefer to think deeper. For example, a few years ago I was studying how the human body works (what does the muscles do?), and the first thing I thought was that I think a lot of muscle fibers must form in the human being because a typical person’s body has lots and lots of muscles. So I was really inspired by that and I thought, ‘Hey that’s probably the best way to do it’.
How much would we see of your work in your life?
I don’t think I’ve done anything like this for the past 15 years! I still draw a lot of sketchbooks and the like, but I like to travel a lot – a lot! So my whole life has been a combination of working on my art, traveling and living by myself and meeting other artists. (In my dreams I’m a cartoonist and I’m a fly in the ointment.)
Where is your home now?
I live right next to the zoo in Chicago where I teach kids how to read English. And then right next to the museum of photography in Brooklyn.
How long have you studied art?
I studied at the Chicago School of Art, which is my current art residency. My first book, ‘Anatomy of a Gumbo: A Book About Coney Island,’ about the construction of the world’s largest amusement park, is available from the Smithsonian Institute for the US Government. It’s a memoir, based on years I spent there working on a book on the history of Coney Island and one of my earlier books is called ‘The Mystery of the Big Dipper’ which is dedicated to a local artist that I met who has died. He was very much my mentor in the early days of my career. He was one of the main things I looked up to in terms of art and he was the guy that taught me about the history of the amusement parks – from their beginnings to where they are today. I’ve been trying to find out about all the places that I’ve studied and how the history of these places has affected me in life.
How important is to you the connection with nature and nature-inspired elements to create art?
It’s very important. It’s not just about the drawing. I actually feel quite bad when a drawing is taken from the natural world and put into a commercial setting. It’s really difficult –
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