Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Mid-Century Design - Artist Caleb Gray

This has been an unusual week for me, several new life and artistic challenges presented themselves all at once! So I pondered more about some topics and asked myself these simple questions: what's my vision for what I do? What am I trying to accomplish?

As my understanding of art licensing has increased and has changed as a consequence, I think the direction is going to be a bit more tailored for what I want to do. Chatting with artists and friends has also inspired me to try out new ideas and techniques of painting which I want to pursue.

And as for new and unique ideas and looks, I am very happy to feature artist Caleb Gray, who I met at Surtex this past May. His style is just very fun and engaging!

The Moon from My Attic: What made you want to become an artist? Even as a kid, I was always imagining, creating, and drawing so I knew I wanted to be some sort of artist when I grew up. Then, once I realized all my favorite artists were illustrators, it helped me hone in on exactly what kind of artist I'd enjoy being.

TMFMA: What's exciting about what you create? Little things like a perfect color palette or a character's expression with just the right twinkle are always exciting to me. In general though, balancing the mid-century and contemporary aesthetics I enjoy so much along with carrying a kid-at-heart vibe through my work keeps it all fun for me too. And if it's exciting to somebody else as well then it's a success!

TMFMA: What medium(s) do you use to create your art? Why did you choose it?
I start out sketching everything by hand before moving it on to the computer, so the finished art is digital. Call me old school, but I enjoy sketching things out with pencil first and getting fluid lines or funny character poses just right! Then fine-tuning it on the computer cleans everything up and gives it the bold, graphic nature of so much of the mid-century design that inspires me.

TMFMA: How would you describe the art you create? My art definitely has a retro vibe, but with a contemporary twist. Most importantly, though, I hope my art is as fun and cheerful for everyone else to see as it is for me to create!

TMFMA: Is there something that inspires you to create art? While mid-century design and illustration is a big source of inspiration for me, random things like funny dialog, sassy characters, catchy music, or a color combination that catches my eye can also get my imagination going. Such fun sources of inspiration make creating art fun, which hopefully also translates into a fun and entertaining final product!

TMFMA: How do you hope your art makes people feel? On first glance, I hope the overall impression is cheerful and fun. Hopefully my art also tells a story or makes people smile that sticks with them afterwards!

TMFMA: Can you tell us about your art licensing journey? My introduction to art licensing came when I was designing in-house for C.R. Gibson. Seeing the huge range of art being licensed and the equally huge range of applications for that art really opened my eyes to possibilities for illustration that I hadn't realized. The projects where I got to create the artwork in-house and then design products using my own art were always my favorite, so that let me know I would really enjoy creating art for product design.

Also during my time at C.R. Gibson, I attended the Surtex trade show which gave me great insight into creating a portfolio and presenting it to manufacturers. Even still, there was a learning curve once I went out on my own. I was lucky to have met several more established licensed artists during my time at C.R. Gibson, though, who were very helpful and encouraging as I started out and still continue to be today.

TMFMA: What advice would you give to someone new to this industry? Create, create, create! Not only will you improve your skills as you go, but you will also begin to realize what your strengths are so that you can emphasize them. Also, as you start out building your portfolio try to stick with subjects you enjoy. If you try to force themes you don't particularly enjoy it could show in the final product, but if you enjoyed what you're working on, that comes through too!

Caleb Gray Studio:

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