Monday, April 4, 2011

Sidebar Trevor von Eeden Interview - Arun's Article

The interview was actually a piece of audio on the sidebarnation website. Trevor von Eeden is a comic book artist known best for Black Lightning, the first original black superhero in the DC Universe. He is asked questions about his origins, his recognition, and his influences in his career.

All in all, he's a cool guy. I listened to the first 45 minutes of it and Eeden seemed like he enjoyed talking about his experiences and his work just as well as he enjoyed working with Neal Adams and talking about some of the artists that influenced him and why. I've always admired comic book artists for various reasons. I've always wanted to be able to do what they could do, but I know I could never have the patience for it. I only understood this when people tell me they don't believe I have the patience to do other things, like print, shoot and edit videos, sculpt, and sew. Artists lean towards their own mediums of expression even if talent-wise they may be capable of far more. So, instead of trying to make comics, I enjoy reading them instead. I wish I could tap into that form of expression for some of the ideas I might have, but I couldn't pull it off with the same way. I don't have the drive a comic book artist needs to possess if he or she wants to be recognized.

It's very hard for comic book artists to be recognized. I've learned this from people who were interested in trying to go that route. If you're not persistent, you won't make it very far. Like any other kind of freelance art, you'll get rejected many times, and it's all a matter of finding the right people at the right time.

Anyways, I'm going to get to answering the questions:

1. I started working in black and white more often when I noticed that I pay far more attention to values and lines in my sketches and concepts than I ever do to color. Color is always a second thought, like the background in a piece where only the subject was taken into consideration. Another thing I notice in my developmental processes is my evolution of style. About ninety percent of the time I'm being influenced by a style of another artist I am recently placing the most interest in. A lot of that influence comes from games or shows; not necessarily other fine artists. I don't try to change that. Sure, I'll look at other artwork from time to time, but fine artwork was not the very basis of my interest in drawing, painting, and sculpting. All it has ever inspired me to do is develop new techniques by examining and dissecting ones used in the works of others. And I'm talking about technical things that manipulate the visual and physical presence of the work. 

2. I'm not sure anymore. If musicians count, I'd say Beck and David Bowie. If producers count, I'd say Fritz Lang and Tim Burton. I consider them artists even if they don't work in the same medium as I do. But stylistically, in their own way, they've been of great influence to me. There's William Kentridge, sure, but he came in pretty late in the game. I've seen his work in person and it was amazing to look upon, but he doesn't have the nostalgic, heroic punch that the former artists I mentioned possess to me. When I was younger, before art school, I was a fan of Salvador Dali, mainly for the detail, symbols, and the play on imagery. I've grown detached over the years however. 

3. Sometimes. I'll have to admit that making stop motion videos is extremely tedious and since my dad's less than positive reaction to the first one I made, I lost a lot of enthusiasm in making them. But the raves I got from everyone else kept me going with it, even though I've been steadily losing interest. For anything else I do, it's very hard for me to tell. I'm a chameleon; my colors change depending on the environment I'm in. The same goes for my art. Depending on the audience, where I am when I make the work, and how I feel, things change. 

4. I'm more fond of the result than the process. I've come to realize that in everything else I do, even though I try to fool myself when it comes to printmaking. No. Even then I care more about the piece than the work it took to make it. My interest in process does exist however, when I'm doing something new. If I'm trying something I haven't tried before, using a method of my own division from the observations I've made of some interesting piece of work, I get very excited about trying it out and seeing if I can make it function properly.

5. Of course. You draw from observation, ergo what you see is what you're experiencing. Sometimes whatever you're drawing may not look exactly like it does in real life, but that just informs the viewer all the more of your own state of mind vs the world around you. I see someone who's trying to sharpen their skills, who enjoys drawing and keeps doing it in hope of improving. To what means, I'm not sure, but you still try. And I know you've done drawings that don't necessarily come from observation, but they still say something about what has influenced you in the past.

6. If you're still doing drawings, making monotypes, and weighing the option of making comic book pages, then sure. A lot of experience is translated into those forms. But I do think that you should arrange experiences in a more narrative fashion. I saw nothing wrong with presenting your work in a sketchbook format. Books are one of the most classical ways of telling a narrative. 

7. Not really. I think we all get that, maybe not all the time, but I know I can't look at something I've done without seeing room for improvement. Why should I base my opinion on that if I often feel the same about my own work?

I wish I could say that I had some gleaming role models and that I came into some luck or that I developed some revolutionary technique, but I'd be lying if I tried. My work is often born from sleepless nights and indecipherable sketches and they find organization soon enough from there on out. But I've always been trying to find my own way and do whatever interests me the most. 

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