Featured Artist: BirdBlack
DBH: Where are you from?
I’m originally from Toronto, Canada however I currently reside in Melbourne, Australia.
DBH: What's the origin of your artist name?
It’s the reverse of ‘Black Bird.’ My favourite birds are ravens (when I was a kid I was obsessed with the poem ‘The Raven’ by Edgar Allen Poe so that may have something to do with it!); I love the magic and mysticism associated with them, how throughout different cultures and folklore they’re perceived in vastly different lights – the creator and the trickster, the light and the dark, the good omen or the bad – ultimately there’s something otherworldly about them that I’m incredibly drawn to. The art I like the most, to look at or to create myself, often reflects these qualities so when I decided to choose an artist name to run my business under, Bird Black was my first choice.
DBH: How would you best describe your art style?
I’m drawn to creating illustrations that juxtapose between the light and the dark so as far as style goes, that’s something that’s probably be the most prevalent within of a lot of my work; other than that though, I tend to work in thematic bursts that will often reflect what I’m interested in at any given point in time. Sometimes I’ll get into a headspace where I’m super infatuated with a subject, mood or concept and I’ll do a whole series of works based on just that one thing but then wont do anything like it again for months afterwards. I can’t really control where my mind will take me so I find it’s best to be fluid and not set too many constraints on what kind of style I should or shouldn’t be adhering to.
DBH: Where do you find your inspiration when creating your art?
Like most artists, I get a lot of inspiration from reading books and listening to music, I’ve always been really into history, mythology and astrology as well which I think comes through quite a bit! I’ve also found that as my kids get older I’m getting a lot of inspiration from books or shows they’re into. Actually, the little raincloud that often pops up in my work was originally inspired by having My Little Pony on repeat in the background for weeks on end – eventually it just sort of wormed it’s way into what I was doing!
DBH: When did you know you wanted to make a career in the art world?
I’d always loved drawing and going to art classes as a kid but it was never something I thought that I might one day be able to pursue a career in – it just seemed too big, too serious, too out of my league. One day though, when I was around 9, my friend showed me some of his comic books and it all just sort of clicked. I decided, pretty much straight away that I wanted to pursue a career in the arts and I honestly haven’t looked back since!
DBH: What does a day of creating artwork look like for you and how to you start your creative process?
I love to be organized! Depending on what I’ve got scheduled for the day I’ll make sure to have all my materials at hand that I think I’ll need. I think it’s probably the same for most artists, but I loathe being interrupted when I’m working, however, as I’ve got two little youngsters running around I’ve had to learn to expect (frequent) interruptions! I find though, on the days that I take the time to organize myself it’s not too hard to get back into the creative headspace. As for starting the creative process, my favorite way to kick things off is by sketching out a new idea, it’s a great way to get out the cobwebs! If I’m feeling a bit uninspired there’s a (growing) stack of work on my desk to choose from so I’ll just work on whatever speaks to me; on these days I allow my mood to decide what feels best as I’ve learned over the years that pushing yourself to be creative can often lead to frustration which ultimately leads to getting nothing done. Finally, If I’ve got a lot of custom pieces to get through these take priority so I’ll spend most of the day working on them however I’ll try and sneak in a little sketch here and there to keep it fresh.
DBH: What artist (either current or past) do you most admire and why?
I’ve been a big Tara McPherson fan, since forever. There’s always something slightly off-kilter about her work that is equal parts beauty and equal parts terrifying - I can look at her pieces all day. I’m also a huge fan of period artists like Botticelli, Caravaggio, El Greco and Hieronymus Bosch.
DBH: What's the best advice that's been given to you as an artist?
Art is subjective. You’re never going to be everyone’s cup of tea, so don’t create art to please other people, create it to please yourself. That and be nice to people!
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