Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Artist Focus: Raphael Vicenzi

Raphael Vicenzi is a Belgian Illustrator whose loose handmade style is both spontaneous and eclectic.  Coulsdon College Visual Arts Department caught up with him recently and asked a few questions.

CC: How would you describe your work or style?

RV: I think it's a weird mix of fashion illustration, street art, DYI,  typography & collage works. It's just a melting pot of different influences that found their way into my way of thinking. I try to stay spontaneous when I work now, I used to over think what I did.

CC: How do you find work or commissions?

RV: Usually people will contact me directly or go through my illustrator agency Colagene. They find me through my portfolio on Behance for example.

CC: Can you describe in a few words how you make your work?

RV: Either I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do or I just start a new piece and see where it leads me. Thus said the results are always very different from what I imagined. I just draw the woman, I use references a lot, then Ipile up textures & elements until I am happy with it. I try out different things until it clicks. The basic idea helps me to gather different elements that I just place around. Like I said, I try to be spontaneous when I work and hope for the best.

CC: Did you go to college, what did you do?

RV: I have no higher education and I did not go to any art schools. I am  self-taught. Not the easiest way but it relatively worked for me.

CC: What do you enjoy most about illustration?

RV: When I come up with something unexpected. I never realize if I am inspired or not, it just flows by itself.  Sometimes it does not work and there is nothing I can do about it.

CC: What or who inspires you the most?

RV: My life, books I read, numerous artists (Tom Bagshaw, Banksy,  Muscha,Eduardo Recife, Sylvia Ji and so many others...) that I see  everyday on Tumblr. The more sources I use, the more I can make different connections between unrelated things.

CC: What advice would you give to young artists or illustrators?

RV: Work a lot, be curious, read books, put your works online, ask for help,find your own way of doing things. I always think that what Ira Glass said about creativity is the best advice I heard :

"Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me.  All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste.  But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you.

"A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
 Raphael's work can been seen on his website, My Dead Pony and on Behance.

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