JP Valderrama is simply killing it right now. With his 20’s behind him he is looking to make his mark on the art world coming into a new decade. He distinguishes himself from the others with his take on pop culture and comics with impressive dynamism. You can nowadays catch him participating in just about every major art exhibit and quite frankly, the sky is the limit for JP. We sit down and talk about him joining Mondo, his love of Asian films, and his creative process. Read below for the full Q&A…
Believe it or not you are one of the few artists I’ve encountered that is really open to doing commission work. What kind of challenges do you encounter meeting the expectations and needs of a client?
JP: It really depends on the client. I’ve had really easy projects where the client is happy with whatever output I produce and they pretty much leave all the creative decisions to me. There are a few hard ones where they can’t make up their mind with what they want. I’d rather stop here because it is not a very good experience.
Like you, I’ve always been an artist but during my formal years at University I switched over to visual arts. How has web and graphic design helped you in your career as an illustrator?
JP: Web and Graphic design has certainly paid the bills while I try to develop my illustration skills. Also, my web background has definitely helped me create a web presence for the Fresh Doodle.
Your Tony Stark piece is pretty incredible, as your official entry into Bottlenecks new gallery. Could you tell us a bit about how this piece challenged you versus your other superhero portraits?
JP: To be honest I didn’t put much effort into this piece. As an artist, when you feel good it tends to reflect on your art as well. So as I was working, everything just fell into place and the timing was perfect. BUT there are also bad days, luckily Iron Man didn’t get a taste of it.
How were you able to balance your multi-disciplined arsenal without feeling like you were neglecting any of your skill-sets during this period of time five years ago?
JP: To keep the balance you’ve got to use all of your skills regularly. Graphic and Web design during the day, and when you get home from work, draw.
I suppose you are mostly famous for your semi-realistic portraits combined with great textures. How did you come to develop this style and claim it as your niche approach to the arts?
JP: I’ve always been a fan of Russ Mills (byroglyphics) and used his works as an inspiration to develop my technique. So far two out of thousands say that my work looked liked his and I completely ripped off his style. I actually took those as a compliment because his work is so awesome and if you put my work against his side by side, you can tell that there’s an influence but I’ve pretty much molded a style of my own.
This also, isn’t your first rodeo, as you’ve been apart of other exhibits like at the Light Grey Art Lab. How do you mentally prepare for a group exhibit? Do you feel any initial pressure showing your work among talented artists?
JP: I’ve gone past the fear or pressure of having my work out with the best. I’ve been showing my work in community sites like Deviant Art, Shadowness etc., and this is where you actually see the best of the best in the world. Instead of getting intimated, I actually use it as inspiration to get better. Worked really well for me as I’ve gained a fan base and attract new ones everyday. And as for preparing for exhibits, always go for what you think is best because it defines your work and vision, it also brings out the best in you.
What are some of your favorite Asian films?
JP: Asian films? Kung Fu Hustle and Shaolin Soccer! Oh, and Asian Horror movies! Gotta love those!
So going back to your superhero work, like Spiderman, etc. I also notice you’ve done pieces for TV like Boardwalk Empire and Movies like Planet Terror. Is it a necessity for you to be a fan of these shows in order to generate great and interesting art, or will an interesting character suffice?
JP: I believe being a fan of the show helps big time! it gives you a better vision of what to create!
I bet you’re familiar with Mondo at this point and they seem to be recruiting artists everyday. Would you ever be interested in joining their stable of artists? If so, which films’ posters would you like to recreate?
JP: OF COURSE! Whatever the theme is, I will create!
Lastly, the age-old advice question. Can you offer up any unique feedback for any struggling creatives out there?
JP: From the words of the Fresh Doodle, “Practice + Patience + Commitment = Success story”. The secret formula where every word works perfectly with every word. First hand experience right here. =)
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