1) Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Paz, which is basically «Peace» in Spanish. (Just in case you’re wondering: no, my parents weren’t hippies 😛 ) I’m 23 years old, I’m from Argentina and I live in a small city, approximately 550km from Buenos Aires.
2) You are a freelance graphic designer, what is your artistic training? Where does this passion for drawing come from?
I’m partially working as a freelance GD, but I’m also finishing my degree in Design & Visual Communication. So I have academic education in Design but actually none in art. People use to think it’s closely related but it’s not quite that way. That’s why I’m mostly self-taught, which is a really exciting journey. Of course it has its pros and cons. You can freely make your own path in the artistic field, you choose what to learn and how to learn, but it’s also a slow process and sometimes it could be frustrating as well. I always drew as a child, but just like any other child my age. In my early teen years I got really sick and it wasn’t until then that art really become a passion for me. I found in drawing a place for hope.
2a) Which software do you use for digital painting? Photoshop?
Yes, I use Photoshop and occasionally Paint Tool Sai.
3) I saw in your DeviantArt gallery that you draw and paint a lot of portraits, is it your speciality? What does attract you in a subject?
I guess. I never though of it as «my speciality» but yes it’s the most recurring genre in my list. I find some kind of soothing feeling at observing people’s features. I mean, not in a creepy way, don’t get me wrong. But looking in their eyes, wondering what they hide, what they think, how the rays of light fall over a cheekbone, showing its prominence. That kind of silly stuff. I travel by bus a lot and that’s my favourite moment to play this observing game. People tend to relax and get lost in their thoughts, and turns out to be a pretty good real life anatomy exercise for me.
4) How do you proceed to do a digital painting? Is a basic drawing essential for you before beginning? What are the different steps in your creations?
Usually the idea first pops up in my mind like a pretty vague thing, and it’s like a voice in my head, -pretty annoying sometimes-, that make me feel the need to put it on paper. Sometimes I do a basic sketch in any paper I find near. Sometimes I just draw the sketch digitally. Then I do some research about specific items. For example, if I want to draw a braid, I try to watch and study lots of pictures of braids. After I have a pretty much solid idea of what I want to paint, I start blocking out areas of color. This part is mostly intuitively, just putting colors in a canvas. Then I make decisions of lighting, tone and mood. And finally the most maddening part that is getting into detail and try to get closer as possible to what I had in mind.
4a) So you don’t really work directly from a picture, it is more a composition of different ones plus your imagination or your memory?
Exactly, unless I deliberately want to paint an specific portrait without changing much. Then I kinda stick to the main reference.
4b) How many different layers do you have in your creations, on average?
Among 5-12. I don’t use the same method every time. It depends on the piece and if I feel in the moment that I need to paint something in other layer, of if I need to make a certain layer with a certain opacity, etc. It’s really up to what’s going on in the moment.
5) Many of your compositions are dark. Is that a choice, a conscious purpose?
I guess I never consciously decided to paint something dark. But I have to say painting is for me a way of speaking of growing and healing. There’s this saying I love so much that says something like “Art washes away the dust of everyday life”. Probably with some of my paintings I’m washing away that demons we all carry.
6) You have a great imagination. I love your “Half light” Kate Beckett, and your Stana with the bird (“Make my heavy heart light”). How and where did you find your inspiration for those paintings? How long does it take to make paintings like these?
Thank you. Music is a great and common source of inspiration for me. But sometimes the inspiration comes from the most unusual and unexpected places. The one with the bird was a funny one. I was studying some latino-american icons for a college project, and this blue bird happened to be one (to Ecuador I think, I don’t remember). I watched a video of it and I think of Stana. I must admit I might have some level of obsession with painting this girl. But maybe I get from both a similar vibe, ha. I don’t know, there’s no logical reasons why I painted that really.
A standard painting could take me several hours. I get really, really absorbed. I could go completely lost into a painting. Sometimes it’s my stomach making noises the one who let me know I haven’t eaten for hours and then I take a break.
7) I saw that you also master the graphite pencil art. Do you often use traditional medium? I started with graphite portraits. I still love the traditional art but I kinda left it a little bit aside. I got my first tablet 1 year and a half ago, and since then I’ve been trying to improve with this medium. I couldn’t choose one, because both have its beauty, but at the moment I’m more focus with digital painting.
8) Are there artists, famous or not, that you admire and that maybe influenced you? Masters from the old school there are many. I’m deeply and forever in love with William-Adolphe Bouguereau. I also like very much the works of Alphonse Mucha, and Magritte’s surrealism. In a more contemporary field, I’m such a fan of Dan Dos Santos and Sakimichan.
9) How did your painting evolve in the past years and how do you see it evolving in the future? Do you have any projects right now? I think the step from traditional to digital was a challenging but productive one. It provides me with many new perspectives about techniques and styles. I’m trying different approaches all the time, so my paintings are very eclectic in that sense. I feel I’m still walking baby steps. I blush when someone refers to me as an “artist”, ‘cause I think that word is like so big, and I have such a long road ahead. Last Saturday I had my first public exhibit in the local museum. It scared the hell out of me because it was the first time but it was a really nice moment, and I really look forward to participate more in that kind of events.
10) I read on your Tumblr page that you are a martial art instructor? Does it help you to focus on your art? Sure. I find in the discipline that comes with practising martial arts a great deal of freedom. It helps me, keeping me balanced, physically and mentally. And keeping me flexible, not only anatomically talking but also what it concerns to creativity. We all know that what doesn’t bend, breaks. Plus is always good for a girl to know how to defend herself. 😉
11) And finally, can you tell us where we can find you on the Internet?
- DeviantArt: http://peacexofxart.deviantart.com
- Tumblr (just a place for the fangirl side of me): http://motionless-dream.tumblr.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/paz.ilustracion
Please, if you want to show Paz’s artwork, ask Paz first, mention the source and don’t forget to credit her correctly.
If you missed our STR show on Tuesday, January 14th, 2014 (the interview starts at about the 25:00 min mark): http://www.blogtalkradio.com/stanatalkradio/2014/01/15/str-166-011414-s6e12-deep-cover-recap