Sunday, May 15, 2011

Creating visual stories that make people happy :)

When I first saw Bas' illustrations I felt like smiling... it was a good feeling, so I looked for some more. It's a joy to make and see people smile, even if just a little!

Bas made me even more happy when he agreed to give this very inspirational interview. Enjoy!

Artist Bas Waijers
The Moon from My Attic: Please introduce yourself. My name is Bas Waijers and I’m an illustrator. I wanted to tell stories ever since I saw Fantasia as a 10-year-old kid. I was born and raised in The Netherlands, but seven years ago I moved to New York; that’s where I currently live with my wife and 2 1/2 year old son.

TMFMA: Where do you enjoy doing your creative work? I enjoy working on ideas pretty much anywhere. Inspiration comes from many unexpected places sometimes, so I make sure to always carry around a sketch book and a pen. I love to sketch outside and then produce the actual illustration at my studio. You see my favorite park bench in the picture above!
Sunrise © Bas Waijers
TMFMA: How did you get started? I remember drawing ever since I remember dreaming! As I kid I was always drawing characters from Disney movies. Then around the age of 12, I started to draw more from my own inspiration. My professional career in illustration began in 1996. I never had a formal education in illustration or character design since those don’t exist in Holland. I’m pretty much self taught and learned mostly by looking at work that inspires me, and by trying to figure out how it was made.

TMFMA: What is exciting about your creative work? I love to create characters and the worlds they live in. But the most exciting, and the hardest thing to do, is to give my work a heart. It’s always a thrill when somebody picks up on it, and that’s the greatest reward I can get! I also love the challenge of coming up with new ideas and being original. 

ArtBeat Supplies © Bas Waijers
TMFMA: What’s your favorite medium or tool you create with? Every new illustration starts with making sketches. I always draw my sketches with a ballpoint pen. As a technique, it’s very unforgiving because I can’t erase anything. But because it’s so final, it has taught me to sketch quickly and decisively.

Sketches © Bas Waijers
When the sketch is done, I produce the final art digitally. At the moment I’m really into working with Flash in combination with a Wacom tablet. I like how flexible the drawing tools are, and how they allow me to work loosely and quickly. I also work with software such as Painter and Photoshop.

TMFMA: Do you work by yourself or do you also do collaborative work? I work on my illustrations by myself. But I’m also illustrating two interactive iPad books, and that’s all team work. It’s a great way to get immediate feedback and to see a entire project come to life. These images are from the upcoming app “The wonderful Colorful House.”

Wch © Bas Waijers
TMFMA: Tell us of a fun and creative project or a collaboration, and what you learned from it. One project that I’m really proud of is a book that I illustrated for my Dad when he got sick. I was able to show it to him two weeks before he passed away. It was my way of telling him how much he had meant to me throughout my life. Months later I was asked to develop it further into an interactive book for the iPad. It’s almost done and has a lot of heart. It touches on the topic of losing a loved one, and does so in a gentle, playful way. My hope is that it can help parents discuss this with their children.

TMFMA: Where do you like to look for inspiration? The great thing about inspiration is that it can come from anywhere, at anytime. It’s in everyday life, the way that people act and interact. I also get heavily inspired by animations, movies, games and music.  The trick is to be able to recognize a good idea in the middle of a flurry of not-so-good ones. Brainstorming is a very fast process, and it’s easy to dismiss ideas because you think they may not work for whatever reason. A lot of times though, it turns out that those original thoughts are the ones that are the best.

It's About Life © Bas Waij
TMFMA: Is there a person or thing that has influenced you in your artistic efforts? I’ve mostly been inspired by the wonderful animations from Disney, Pixar and Hayao Miyazaki. To me they are the absolute master storytellers. It’s incredible how they transport the viewer into their worlds of imagination.

TMFMA: What are the reasons for you to do what you do? After I saw Fantasia I knew that I wanted to create work that makes people happy, work that can lift somebody’s spirit and that can make them believe in an imaginary world! That is still my most important motivation today.

Stroll © Bas Waijers
TMFMA: What are your future aspirations and goals? I hope to tell many more stories that people can enjoy, in whatever form. Make Believe!

Website Apps:
Website Illustration:

Mr. Little © Bas Waijers

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Creating Beautiful Art from Recycled Junk & Glass – Mosaics by Flair Robinson

"Atomic Wheelies" by F. Robinson, photo by Lin Schorr
The art of making mosaics is an ancient one. They are made from pieces of colored ceramic tiles, glass, stone and other materials. Artists have been composing images in churches and homes that have lasted for many centuries. In more recent times, the technique of mosaic has been used around the world as decorative art in community places such as schools, halls, airports, and even subways. To continue our editorials on artists around the world, here is an exclusive interview with artist Flair Robinson featuring her fantastic and  inspiring collection of beautiful mosaics.

Artist Flair Robinson
The Moon from My Attic: Please introduce yourself.  My name is Flair Robinson. I am a self-taught mosaic and assemblage artist from Telluride, Colorado. I work primarily with ceramic tile, hand-cut glass and recycled junk. I am first and foremost a colorist and am fascinated by the endless combinations of color. I am constantly seeking new, different, and exciting variations. I find inspiration from unusual sources; road-side attractions, advertising from the 1940's and 50's, vintage fabric, ephemera and old southern folk art (the funkier the better!). I most enjoy taking bits and pieces of nothing and turning them into something. I don't seem to be able to commit myself to just one medium, or one style. My work is in a constant state of evolution.

"New York City" by Flair Robinson, photo by Stacy Smith
TMFMA: Where do you enjoy doing your creative work?  I have a studio space that is housed in the historic Stronghouse Studios building, in Telluride. My space is part of an artist's coop provided by Telluride Arts, our council for the arts and humanities. It's
a fantastic place and I am surrounded and inspired by other artists there.

TMFMA: How did you get started? I've been an artist all of my life, but there were many years that I didn't create – I sort of buried the urge to create under piles of work and everyday life. About 10 years ago, I had a major personal tragedy, shortly after, I woke up one morning and decided I no longer wanted to keep doing what I had been doing – I wanted to be a full time artist.

"Vincent's Choise" by Flair Robinson, photo by Stacy Smith
TMFMA: What is exciting about your creative work? When I work, the world around me disappears. I travel from thought to thought in my own little space, experimenting with this and that, playing with different concepts. When something works and I have that ah haa moment, it's the most wonderful feeling in the world and when others respond to my work in a positive way...well it just doesn't get any better than that!

TMFMA: What's you favorite medium or tool you create with? I've had a hard time choosing one medium over another. I think that's why I've combined both mediums of mosaic and assemblage and am now a mixed media mosaic artist I really enjoy mixing things up and pushing the boundaries of traditional mosaic style.

TMFMA: Do you work by yourself or do you also do collaborative work? I've done quite a bit of collaborative work with Wildcat Studios in Austin, TX. Their studio used to be housed here in Telluride, it was a sad day for me when they moved away. We've been experimenting with designing and printing our own ceramic tile, that I incorporate into my mosaic work.

Mosaic Chair by Flair Robinson, photo by Stacy Smith
TMFMA: Tell us of a fun and creative project or a collaboration, and what you learned from it.  I was asked to create a piece for the annual Ah Haa School of the Arts Benefit Auction. It's kind of a big deal around here to be featured in the live auction, so I knew that I was going to have to step it up. I decided to create a special mixed media mosaic chair for them. I really wanted it to be different than anything that I had ever done before and I incorporated many new techniques. I can't tell you how many times I chiseled things out and started all over again. I worked with and designed materials that I had never used before. It took me to countless hours to create, just cleaning off the grout (using mostly q-tips and nail polish remover for the fine clean) took me 7 days. I cursed that chair every single day, but the skills I acquired from doing it, pushed me forward (by years I think). When I was done, I missed working on it so much, that I was at a loss for what to do next. I guess you could say that I had fun...

TMFMA: Where do you like to look for inspiration? I am a collector of American, Navajo and Mexican folk art and textiles, those items often inspire me. I have a million art books, so those too. I spend countless hours on Flickr and other artist's websites, looking at all types of work—all of it helps to inspire me and to get me excited about creating

"If Only" mosaic by Flair Robinson, photo by Stacy Smith
TMFMA: Is there a person or thing that has influenced you in your artistic efforts? I am fascinated by Outsider, Visionary and Vernacular art and artists like Bill Traylor, Maddie Lou O'kelley, Nek Chand and Isaiah Zagar. Alternative environments like the Watts Towers and Cano's Castle (in Antonito, Colorado) really get me excited. If there's a house covered in anything but brick or wood (like license plates or plastic babies) I am going to want to pull the car over (my poor husband just shakes his head). Also the work of artists Tony Fitzpatrick , Margaret Kilgallen and Jean Michel Basquiat just to name a few of MANY!

"Peace, Love and Daisies"by Flair Robinson, photo by Stacy Smith
TMFMA: What are the reasons for you to do what you do? I have no choice in the matter – I must create. It's the first thing I think of when I wake up and the last thing I think of when I go to bed at night and in the countless hours of my insomnia. It's my every obsession and I am consumed by it. Someday, when I'm gone from this planet, it will be nice to have left a little bit of me behind...

TMFMA: What are your future aspirations and goals? I recently received a grant to learn how to create sculptural concrete substrates for mosaic application. I am so excited to finally be creating 3-dimensional mosaic work, something that I've wanted to do forever (I've always felt that I SHOULD be working 3-dimensionally). I'm going to be creating a big sculpture this summer – I cannot wait!

You can find Flair on Facebook  and Flickr under FLAIR ROBINSON STUDIO.