Hello Camille. I am very pleased to have you and your so inspiring talent in graphicart-news. Your poster was selected in the honorable mention posters of the First International Reggae Poster Contest. Congratulations! Tell me, how you felt when you heard about the honorable mention?
Aw, thank you so much for this opportunity!
And I was honestly so surprised! This is the first time entering in such a grand scale art contest and this also the first time I have ever felt like I’m actually getting somewhere in life (or at least starting to). I mean to even be recognized in this sort of way is a huge achievement. I was really honored.
How did you discover our contest and why you decided to take part?
My aunt, Liza Rapay, and family-friend, Steven Smart, told me about it. They work with Michael, and they thought this contest would be something I would like to participate in. I was a little iffy about entering, but then it hit me that I really had nothing to lose. If I placed, then hooray! If not, then oh well, I would not let it bother me so much. Plus the prizes seemed really cool, I like prizes.
You are the youngest participant (16 years old) and also self taught!! When did you first discover your artistic talent and how did you first come to draw?
This is going to sound cheesy, but I have been drawing since I could a crayon. Crayons were my tools of trade ever since I was a toddler. I would draw anything I could think of. I did not really get into drawing until I was eleven years old, when I had lots of family and friends tell me it was something I was really good at, and of course when you’re told your good at something, it makes you feel special, and so you keep doing it!
Do you remember what your first piece of artwork was?
A blue blob that I somehow convinced people was actually a flower.
What is your favorite medium? What techniques are you using?
Digital painting and illustration is where it’s at. I work strictly in Photoshop and I don’t have any special techniques, I make a whole painting in black and white (to make sure I get the shading and lighting right) and then I start adding color on top of it in multiple layers.
Are you studying arts? Have you considered a career in the arts?
If taking high school art classes count, then yes I suppose I am, at Dobbs Ferry High School. They do not really help me develop and progress (depending on the class), mostly because my teacher tells me to do one thing and I would do another. I like doing my own thing.
I’ve been considering an artistic career ever since middle school… or at least any creative career, maybe even the film and movie industry.
Do you have any other interests or talents that you’d like to share?
I play the piano and guitar, volleyball and lacrosse are my favorite sports, and I also love to read and write – I hope to publish a novel someday, how cool would that be? I could be the next J.K. Rowling! Um, maybe.
Yeah! That would be awesome! You never know…
Who is your favorite artist that inspires you?
Lois Van Baarle. Her stuff is brilliant. She makes wonderful and beautiful illustrations and I pull most of my painting style and inspiration from her works.
What is your take on the design field. Is there something that you believe should change in terms of education to design?
The design field is one of, if not, the most significant field in the world. It’s a mix of creativity and practicality. Art, math, and science all in one. We take for granted everything in the world. See the computer or phone you’re looking at right now? Someone had to design that. See that chair over there? Someone designed that, someone gave it for legs and a back for us to rest on, and whoever did deserves a billion dollars. That pencil? Mind-blowing, creative, and intuitive when it was designed and created.
There is nothing really I would like to change.
When you start to draw where does your inspiration come from? What is your favorite themes to draw?
Music. Movies. Books. Nature. Stories. Photographs. Illustrations. Anything. Inspiration comes and goes pretty quickly, but I usually lose interests with the ideas that come to me, and I’d abandon a painting half way or so and start something new.
I love to draw conceptual and surreal pieces and illustrations. Pieces that are easily understandable and recognizable, that may or may not have a deeper meaning.
Do you believe that art can change the world?
Of course! Remember the Renaissance and all the great art that emerged from it? How it changed Medieval Europe and the world completely? Who says that cannot happen again today? Art is powerful. Some people are too close minded to see it, but a picture is worth a thousand words. One drawing could start a revolution, a change, anything.
What role does recognition or awards play, if any, in the creation of your artwork? Did the honorable mention to RPC played any role to your ambitions?
Definitely! The honorable mention was a huge boost in my confidence and ambitions. To be recognized like this is like nothing I’ve ever experienced, it was a good feeling, and honestly I would like to feel that same feeling again and again. I cannot remember the last time all my self-doubts were just washed away in an instant. This recognition really pushed me to want to be a better artist and to just keep going.
When did you become attracted to Reggae music?
One might think a silly teenager like me jams out to pop and other junk (which I do, I will admit), but then I got into Bob Marley a two or three years ago. There’s something about the sound and rhythm that just makes you sway and feel so chill and relaxed, like I’m on a beach, it is kind of indescribable. I just really like it.
How would you summarize your experiences with the First International Reggae Poster Contest and will you take part to the second?
Well, I drew a picture, I emailed it, and then I waited. I guess the waiting was the most agonizing part. I went through a roller coaster of confidence and doubt as I waited throughout the whole judging process. I got a little bummed when I found out I did not place, but that is probably just because I am a competitive person and I like to win, so I just shook that off and accepted it, for the top 100 pieces really were amazing… but then I found out I got an honorable mention and I just felt so good, so privileged, so special to take part of something like this and be recognized. I was fifteen. This was huge for me, beyond huge.
And count me in! I will definitely take part in the second! This was a fun experience!
Do you have any advice for other young artists, self taught like you?
Be confident. Shake off the all the criticism and self doubt. Do what you want, it’s your life, and only you can live it. Oh and have fun – those are the best words of wisdom out there – have fun, fun is always good.
Thank you Camille!