Friday, November 4, 2011

AldoJeffrey Interview

Today we present an interview that Hillary did with Aldo Jeffrey of Art by Aldo Jeffrey.  Hillary said that she was drawn to Aldo's work because it displays excellent technical skill while expressing some very personal and private emotions.

First, Tell everyone a little bit about your background as an artist.
I've always drawn. I started by doodling, but then moved on to copying drawings out of magazines of videogame characters when I was younger. I never really considered being an artist until I realized that you can actually make a living doing it (if you do it correctly). When I was about 22, I had the opportunity to sell some of my drawings at an art fair.. They were terrible drawings, I scotch taped them to a little table, just the pieces of paper, and stood on the side of the road for about 5 hours, while people drove by or walked by. I didn't have any prices for anything, so most people just looked, but one guy bought a drawing for $7...and that was enough motivation for me to become an artist. The first month I had 5 drawings, the next, I had about 25. I've been drawing since.
Eventually, I would go back to school to learn how to make 3d art for videogames. So now I'm a 3d Artist as my job and career, and 2d 'fine art' as my hobby.

Your art seems very personal. How did that develop?
I've never really given much thought to it, but if I was going to guess, I'd say it's probably a combination of a few things. When I started out, I would spend most of my drawing time, drawing for girls in school. I wanted them to like me, and so I would draw for them....some people write notes; check yes or no. Not me, I just drew drawings. So I think just from those, I would put all my feelings and emotions into them, so they were pretty personal drawings, even thought they were usually of things like flowers or mermaids or whatever the girl liked. Once I realized what type of guy that made me, I stopped drawing to get girls to like me (or tried my best to). I think it probably did have some effect on what direction my artwork would eventually go though.
I think another reason why my artwork is so 'personal' is because I know when people look at my artwork, they don't really know why I made it or what it says about me...they can never be in my mind. They can only take it for what it is, what they whatever they say about my work (in regards to the 'personal' things), is more telling about them as a person and how they see life, than what my artwork means or says about me.
Probably the biggest reason though, is my family. I grew up in an environment where everyone was pretty honest with each other, and I think it just seems like the most efficient way to approach I try and be honest with all the things I do, including art. I'm not sure if growing up in that environment made me not be afraid of just putting stuff out there, but I know that for me, it's probably not as hard as some other people (just because of the experiences I've had in life).

I also noticed that some of your art is very dark in theme. Some people shy away from expression of darkness. How do you feel about creating art with dark, melancholy or otherwise unhappy themes and why do you choose to do it? 
When I was younger (about age 12 to about 22), I was terribly depressed. All I could see in life were dark things. I didn't understand how people were able to just go about being happy when there was so much misery in the world. I would ask them for answers, but no one really had any other than...well, if you think about those types of things, it'll make you sad, so don't think about those things. My reasoning was always that if you didn't think about it...that's how you end up being someone who doesn't care about people (or become detached from your empathy)...and I didn't want to be that, so I kept thinking about stuff that was depressing. So I think I've always been sort of drawn to darker/depressing things. I started really drawing when my heart was broken and I just wanted to die, so I think it started out sort of dark and continued that way
Honestly though, I don't consider my stuff to be that 'dark'. There are a few that are, that I made when I was battling depression, but for the most part, I think there are always different ways to look at my drawings....good and bad. And so someone might look at one drawing and cry and another might laugh, because they see it as sort of like a dark sense of humor, others, just see it as dark; others, don't focus so much on the dark in the drawings, but the light...and so they see it as being hopeful, little bit of light in a dark world...that type of thing.
Why do I do it? I'm not sure, but I'd guess: I've spent most of my life trying to come to terms with the dark things in this world (and in me) only to realize that most people ignore it...and I don't ever really want to be like that, so I make the type of art that I make. I make it for a younger version of myself. I make the type of art that would get my younger attention, sort of shallow and obvious on the surface, but if you look into it, maybe you could see the bigger picture or at least see it in a different way. I think of this like this....when you're depressed or your life is surrounded by darkness, you don't really see all the helpful things around don't look for look for the dark...and so when those types of people see my artwork, it immediately draws them in, because they relate to's 'them'...and so they would investigate it...look into it...THINK about it...and how dark it is....but then maybe they'd look up, and see me smiling...and look at some of my other stuff, and see that it's not all dark...and so maybe they will consider some of my other ideas, or maybe they will ask me about whatever 'dark' theme the piece is about...and so I'll get to talk to them...maybe point them in the right direction to the answers they're looking for. I don't think of it as being important or anything like that, maybe it's just a way for me to connect with people.... and it just as silly as when I tried using my artwork to get laid, but hey, at least I don't feel bad afterwards. :)

What is the most important thing for you as an artist?
The most important thing to me as an artist: This is probably one of the harder questions but I think it's not having to feel like I have to sell art to make money. I think it changes the creation process when you know you have to be able to sell something. So I try to avoid ever feeling like I HAVE to make money off of my artwork.

What would you tell other artists who are seeking their own voice or trying to "make it."
As for what I'd tell other artists trying to find your own voice: Don't. Whatever you find, it won't be really be yours. (generalizing, I know) It will be what you think other people want, or it will be what you think hasn't been done before, or maybe will be your voice...but you wouldn't know it...trying to find your voice is a lot like trying to find don't finds you. See, it's because the person that will love you, will love you for who you are...and so if you improve yourself and become the person you want to be...then the person that will love that person (you), will find you....but you can't just sit around and you date. See what's out there, see who you like. That's basically the same thing with art. Your goal might be to find your voice and style...but really...just try and be a good artist and you won't have to find your voice, it will find's almost impossible for it not to, if you're a good artist. So focus on being a good artist, you'll voice will develop....just go out there and see what's around....try different styles, different things....anything that you it...copy if you must. See, starting's important to recognize that you're not you have freedom to really do anything you's all just training. It's how you learn. A lot of people get caught up because they think artists think....I want to say 'this' with my drawing...and then they draw it...but really, it's more'll draw, and you'll think...hmm, something is missing...what should I put here to balance out the drawing? Oh, maybe a clock....oh, maybe lots of clocks....and you enjoy drawing it. Over the years, all of these types of small decisions will add up...and someone will look at you and say....oh, THIS is your voice! And you'll think...oh no, that's not what I was aiming for...I'm going to start doing these other things...and then your voice becomes that....and so all your little preferences that you make...down to things like...what type of medium you want to use and all that stuff adds up to being your voice....and it's not something you can look for or really plan (well you can, it's just not as efficient)'s just something that develops on one's quest to become a skillful artist.

And finally, where can we find you and your art? and my facebook page:
My facebook will have all my updated work. Everything else (including etsy) always gets updated later due to procrastination.

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