Thursday, January 23, 2014

Mazel Tov to me!

So... Back in October or November, an issue was published of a magazine called hDL Magazine, that featured an interview with me and a multi-page display of my artwork! I just finally got my digital copy of the article today, and they're mailing me the hard copy. Here's the thing: The magazine is only published in Hebrew, in Israel! How did it come to be, you may ask, that Don was contacted by an Israeli magazine publisher to interview him and publish his work?

No idea!


And here's the English translation of the interview (or rather, the English interview from which the published Hebrew version was translated):

How and when your connection to the world of art and caricatures started?

I’ve been drawing ever since I was old enough to hold a thing that could make a mark on another thing! For whatever reason, it’s just always been something I’ve loved to do. When I was about 15 years old, I used to read Mad Magazine a lot. I don’t know whether you’re familiar with this magazine in Israel, but it’s a humour magazine best known for its spoofs of popular movies and TV shows, which are all drawn, comic book style, with caricatures of the shows’ stars. I became absolutely fascinated with the caricatures, especially the work of Mort Drucker and Jack Davis. So I started trying to draw caricatures of my own, at first copying the styles of those two artists, but eventually starting to try heavier exaggerations and to develop my own style.

What attracts you doing those caricatures?

I guess I see it as a way to combine my love of drawing, my lifelong fascination with entertainment culture (movies, tv and music especially), and my somewhat warped sense of humour.

What is your main agenda in your special art?

I’m not sure I really have anything I’m trying to “say” as such, or any message I’m trying to put forth with my artwork. If I do have an “agenda”, I guess it would just be to try to get people seeing caricature as an art form and not just as a cute novelty like they see in amusement parks and such. It can be used as a fun distraction in that way, of course, and I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that-- I hire my services out for parties and events like that myself-- but that’s not all caricature has the potential to be. There are some really fantastic caricaturists out there proving that caricature can truly be a valid, expressive art form, and I just want to be a part of that.

What is your favorite caricature?

My favourite of my own artworks I guess would be my caricature of the Beatles as seen on the Let It Be album cover. Partly because I’m a huge Beatles fan, and partly because it was the first one of all my full-colour, portrait-style caricatures I did, so it’s still very dear to me on a personal level. But as for which ones I consider to be my very best, I would have to say my Seinfeld, Eric Clapton, Sting, Bob Dylan, Jack Nicholson and the cast of LOST.

Where do you get the inspiration? Are there any special moments that
you take with you into your art?

My inspiration doesn’t come from personal experiences, really. Mostly just from seeing a face with a lot of great, prominent features. It’s an automatic habit of mine now to start semi-consciously analyzing every face I see for what its most notable features are. And when I see someone (especially a celebrity) with a lot of them, it really makes me want to sit down and start sketching!

Where are you from originally and how old are you?

I’m 44 years old, originally from a town called North Bay, Ontario, Canada. But I currently live in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

What are your next goals in the world of art?

I always have, in my mind, a list of celebrities I want to caricature whenever I find the time. Plus, I have a number of ideas for large, collage-style group caricatures, like my LOST drawing, that I want to do. Unfortunately, time to work on such things is limited, what with my having a full-time job, a family and all the other usual things to take my time up. So a lot of those ideas may be quite a long way off from being accomplished.

Have you ever been in Israel before? Maybe the Middle East is a great
place for ideas, potential caricatures?

No, I’m afraid I’ve never been there. I haven’t travelled nearly as much in my life as I’d like to. But hey, feel free to send me a list of Israeli celebrities and maybe I can do up some sketches! Maybe there’s even potential there for a follow-up article! Haha!

Describe me your work process

I always start with several rough sketches. These are very loose, just trying to get a feel for how the specific features of the face I’m drawing fit together and relate to each other. When I have a sketch I’m happy with, I usually use that underneath the paper on which I’m drawing my final artwork. Most of my caricatures are done in coloured pencil on paper, though I also have several digital paintings. The process for those is similar, but with variations, of course. Once I start on the final piece, though, I tend to work quite slowly, mentally planning my next move as I go along. Especially when working in coloured pencils, because, unlike most kinds of paints, there’s very little ability to correct mistakes. What you draw with coloured pencil can’t very well be covered up if you decide you don’t like it.

People love caricatures – why is that in your opinion?

I’m no psychologist or anything, but I think maybe subconsciously, many people are self-conscious about the things they see as their own physical imperfections, and maybe it’s a comfort to them to see others, especially celebrities who are often considered more physically attractive than us average folk, represented as also imperfect. And when it’s done in a way that also has a humorous element to it, it brings it into perspective that ultimately, our physical appearance isn’t that important. It’s something we can make light of and get a laugh from.

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