“A Minute with Miguel” May 2014 interview

Miguel Latorre is a talented photographer currently working as an intern for the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana. His interview of me originally appeared in the May 2014 Arts Council newsletter.

Miguel header_SM

Heather photo by Miguel Latorre

Q: Your art ecompasses a wide variety of mediums, including digital art, printmaking, pen and ink, acrylic and pastels. This broad range allows you many creative opportunities….do you favor any of these mediums? Why?

A: I think my two favorite mediums at the moment are digital art and decoupage, because digital art allows for infinite exploration of a piece (many different versions, unlimited changes, and so on) and decoupage is the exact opposite…it’s an incredibly cathartic feeling to glue down an element and know I can’t do much if anything to take back what I did.

Q: The themes of your work seem to vary. All the way from the whimsical to dark and spooky. I believe this is one of your strengths. Are there any themes you stay away from?

A: I try to stay away from what I call “Disney” style art and from art that overly objectifies or minimizes a person or creature. I actually enjoy seeing fine examples of almost any kind of art, but these two styles seem to be the most inimical to my particular way of portraying things.

Q: How would describe your artistic style?

A: “Stubborn.” My style consists almost entirely of seeing a piece of art or an idea superior to my work, becoming disgruntled, and then doing my best to master the skill set that enabled the better artist to create it. I’ll purposefully avoid using the same style as another artist, but I frequently slave to increase my range of techniques.

Q: In your printmaking, you seem to favor block prints. What is it about the block print process that attracts you?

A: I love the block print process simply because it can be performed no matter what your circumstances. Since my “studio” consists of a corner of the kitchen table with some toys shoved aside, I definitely have to have a printmaking process that takes a minimum amount of space to perform. In addition, I have always adored creating stark pieces with strong attention to value, and block printing is ideal for this.

Q: What are the first things you do when planning a new print?

A: These days I design a print first on the computer. I discovered a neat process by which you can print your design on a toner printer and then transfer it to linoleum using acetone (or in my case, fingernail polish remover!) This way I can create more photographic looking prints.

Q: How much does spontaneity figure into your creative process?

A: Deeply integral. In digital art, I’ll frequently notice something about a couple of windows that are overlapping or a layer I accidentally moved or turned off that improves or drastically changes how I envisioned the whole piece. In traditional art, I’ll accidentally destroy a print or drawing and then notice it would be ideal for use in collage or decoupage. Moreover, most of my successful pieces are actually based on dreams I had, so I was unable to plan them out…they simply arrived in a flash and I obeyed.

Q: My favorite piece of yours is a print with a group of dark, anonymous humanoid silhouettes on a white background. The effect is intimidating yet mesmerizing at the same time. What was your inspiration for this piece?

A: Haha, do you know, the inspiration was all my friends on the Arts Council of Doom! I was trying to portray them for a zine project…there’s a Stephanie Osborne shadow, a Todd Huber shadow, and so on…

Q: I had no idea that you made comics until I visited your website sandpaperdaisy.com. How would one go about obtaining issues of your comics?

A: I’ll be printing up and selling my comics soon for a table at Cincy Comicon, this September 5-7. Before that, I can have “The Killing of Dreams” printed up anytime on an individual basis if anyone wishes to request it. Eventually I plan to put my comics on Amazon and/or Indy Comics Planet, these changes will be announced on my website http://sandpaperdaisy.com.

Q: Was it fun participating in the EvilleCon this year? I saw you made illustrations specifically for this event.

A: It was amazingly fun. Don’t ask me why, but I adore anime and have absolutely no compunction about making the occasional anime-style piece. That probably makes me inconsistent, but I think of the anime/manga style as a direct evolution of the old ukiyo-e style blockprints that used to come out of Japan. And I’ve always loved that style.

Q: The Big Lebowski in Little China Arts Council of Doom up, and I happen to know you are one of the artists who is entering work. Without giving away anything about the piece, can you give us some hints as to whether your work will be dark or whimsical?

A: I’m afraid it might come off as somewhat dark…ironically so, because it consists of blazingly bright colors! But I chose to focus on one of the more sinister iconic scenes from “Big Trouble in Little China,” so it has a somewhat unsettling feel to it.

Q: If you wanted to learn to work in an artistic medium that’s outside of your experience, what would you choose?

A: Screen printing!! I plan to add that to my skill set as soon as I have the time. The other thing I very much want to learn more about is basic use of 3-D programs, so I can more efficiently construct convincing backgrounds.

Q: There always seems to be an unspoken story behind your digital work. Is this something you do subconsciously, or do it on purpose to make the imagination of your viewer try to come up with their own interpretation?

A: Much of that is probably due to the fact that the vast majority of them come from my dreams. A dream might only focus on a few moments of time, but there is clearly a vast story behind many dreams that you, the dreamer, somehow take for granted without being able to fully articulate it to yourself. This is how I feel about all of my projects, based on dreams or not…the moment I portray is simply a glimpse of some vast story. I very often continue this story over many pieces. “Atomic Jazz” and “DRIFT” portray the same two children, and they will continue to appear. “Plague Doctor,” a painting, can be found as a character in my comic project “The Ocean.” “The Crowd,” the one you like Miguel, will be appearing again in an upcoming comic for Cincy Comicon…and so on. Each picture I make is a different moment from the same universe, perhaps eons apart, but always connected.

Heather Landry’s Work

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