I have known of Greg's work for a little over a decade and have only recently had the pleasure of getting to know him. Our paths crossed mostly out of common interest. I had given a few talks earlier in the year about artists entering the gallery business. Greg was giving lectures as well, teaching aspiring and professional artists about "creating their own art empire". Seeing as how we were talking about pretty much the same things, we were destined to meet eventually.

Having worked in the commercial illustration industry for a while he has aquired a lot of knowledge and wisdom. I thought it would be worthwhile to interview him and to share some of his thoughts with everyone as well as talk a bit more about his upcoming workshop on November 26:

"ARTIST AS BRAND"


The art world is so vast. What position do you see yourself in the art world/art scene?

I see myself as a creator and educator. In the past I was the illustrator in publishing (All the major american periodicals, book publishers, newspapers) , then five years as a concept designer in film. You can see my most recent work in the December release of, "Narnia, Voyage of the Dawn Treader." Inspiring other artists to achieve their goals is very much a part of who I am, hence teaching higher education, lecturing, presenting workshops is a part of my life force. I am now branching out into my own stories in the form of illustrated books/multi-media books.
Music has been in the background but will be making it's way to the front with these projects. Film is another muse.


You have done a lot of work throughout the years...What were some of the most memorable times in your career?


Moving to NYC after graduating Art Center was a life changer. Becoming friends with awesome artists like Matt Mahurin, David McKean, George Pratt, Greg Manchess, Donato, Stephan Martiniere, Ciruelo, and so many others.

Being commissioned for the major periodicals was always a thrill, Rolling Stone, Time, Sports Illustrated, Playboy, etc. Spending time on journalistic projects with Boxers Mike Tyson, and Sugar Ray Leonard, actor Klaus Kinski, gold medal diver Greg Louganis. I received an amazing education working with Production Designer Barry Jackson on two films. Concept designing with Director Michael Apted for "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" was a joyful experience. The best times generally blossomed from the people I worked with.Also letters and correspondence I would receive from individuals about specific (usually editorial) illustrations I had created would touch me deeply.



With 28 years of experience in the art field what has been your greatest accomplishment?

Some people might say my project with Mike Tyson, but I feel that it has been the career in general. I am always pushing to try new things, expand my potential beyond my fears and limitations. My mantra forever has been, "Am I more than I am?" A personal project, The Visions of Vespertina musical CD and booklet created with Michelle Barnes ten years ago, could be considered a big accomplishment. That projected has morphed into an illustrated book to be published next year so sometimes accomplishments keep on going.



Times have changed a lot since you started as a professional artist. How have artists within industry evolved from the time you started working?

You could make a living directly from the publishing industry up until about a decade ago. Publishing attempts to compete with all the new media that keeps manifesting but is having a difficult time of it. I have been talking about the coming of the electronic book for twenty years, however it is only now with the iPad that it will become a form of education and
entertainment that transcends what the paper bound version or even the Kindle has to offer. This technology will start a renaissance in the publishing industry but what that model is going to look like we still don't know for sure. I surmise it will have more the face of the entertainment industry. The entertainment industry (film and games) is another one. They are streamlining and moving toward micro studios. The giant studio dinosaurs of the past are becoming extinct. This has come about because of the technology, which is great news for artists creating their own independent art empires.


How do you feel your art has evolved over the years?

I embrace process, so it is always changing. Whether the media or medium changes, my goal is to remain authentic to my core vision. Keeping my art, music, writing, etc. true to myself will always bring a sense of who I am to the final product.


What is one major influence in your work?

Frank Frazetta rocked my world when I was a kid and still does. There is an element of him in me, and a generation of artists! The vitality of his figures, his use of light, color, all melded into a symphony of muscle and beauty. Fantastical art throughout the ages has been an underlying influence. Music, film too. It is almost impossible to define just one. I am most touched by an art form when it encompasses what I call a synergy of transcendence. This is something I will talk about another time.


What inspired you to create the Artist as Brand Workshop?

I am committed to empowering truth within people, through my art and teaching. Whether through my art, lecturing or teaching I endeavor to inspire the spark of wisdom and empowerment in the individual.

The Artist As Brand workshop was born of the desire to see artists align their authentic visions with financial success. I am sharing a new art career path not taught in schools, anywhere. It encompasses a synergistic method that myself and a few others have used for long term career sustainability. The beauty of this system is you can do it yourself outside of the corporate machine we have been lead to believe is the way to financial security. YOU become the industry!


You use the term Art Empire....can you explain to us what that means?

An Art Empire is produced when an individual or group become the rulers of their creative and financial destinies. This is the objective of the Artist As Brand workshop. See for yourself.



What deems a successful artist to you?

In my opinion that would be any creative individual who is authentically diving into the depths of their soul to bring forth a unique one of a kind vision to the world. Now to define a successful artist who is also financially successful, that would be someone who has brought their unique vision to the world and is able to care for themselves, their family with income made from their craft until they pass from this earthly plane. That is the goal is it not?


What advice would you give artist that are trying to get into the commercial art field?

1. Know thyself. How does it serve you to work in publishing, film, games, etc. How will you truly serve this company working for them? Ask yourself why you are choosing this career path, and then what is it you are truly offering the company you intend to work for.Remember it is not just about paying your bills, or that you have a skill set that will fill that position.
2. Know your craft. Know the history of your art form and all the stellar artists who have taken it to transcendent places. Then explore and push that craft to the next level.
3. Know how to promote. Promotion never ends. Learn the benefits of sophisticated flag waving. Inspire others to do it for you!
4. Know the importance of renovation and reinvention. Innovation and imagination is key to keeping yourself fresh and interesting.
5. Know there is no such thing as security. Even if you sign a contract for a company it does not mean they will honor it if the company goes under, or of they cannot pay you, or they don't want to work with you. Keep your fingers on the pulse of what is happening in your industry. Keep in touch with friends and others in the world you are interested in. It is true that who you know is more important than what you know in the corporate world. Keep up your contacts.
6. Know you will work hard. It is always hard work to make a success of yourself. My question for you is...Do you work hard to help someone else build their empire, or do you work hard to build your own? You can choose.



"I bow to everyone's art spirit. May everyone enjoy peace and prosperity."

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Comments


Blessings Greg see you in Alhambra. Namaste Andy



Thanks for the inspiring words Greg. Awesome. I always love your message to artists.



Thank you Andy and Kristian! Keep living in your art spirit.


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