Every project is unique and I typically take one year to complete a body of work.
Go behind the scenes and learn about how I creative my Photo-illustrations.
Many different sources in my life help me to generate ideas. Sometimes I’m inspired by art and photography, and sometimes my ideas come from something completely different. Books, podcasts, travel, art galleries, friends, and going for a walk are all potential sources. The complete artistic concept rarely comes in one piece. Many times, half-ideas I’ve thought of in the past merge with new ideas to create something innovative.
I like to always tell a story with the artwork. After I have an idea, the next step is to do research. I take the story stem I have and look at other artists who have explored the same area, read about the topic, talk to people who know about it. All the pieces of information stew in my project soup until it’s clear what I’m trying to do.
The next step in the creative cookbook is doing some sketches and tests of the idea to see if it will work. I often use paintings as inspiration for my art, and the conversion to photography can be difficult to give life to at times. I might create a quick photo-manipulation with images from the Internet to see what I need to add, change, or subtract.
I pick locations that fit my themes. Some of my projects require the model, and all the other parts to be shot separately from the background. I often plan trips for my photography and travel outside of Canada to find the right backgrounds.
When traveling, it could be quite difficult to find a spot on the day of the shoot while my models and team wait. A day of location scouting is needed to find the exact spot that fits the photo-shoot. I take some photos, upload them, and review them. I make sure to schedule the shoot on a day that the weather is on my side.
Just like a location needs to be handpicked, so does the model. I first outline the specifications of what I’m looking for. For the Goddess Almighty series, I needed a dancer. I needed someone who had a normal woman’s body to support my vision. A small ballerina could have made the image look like a fashion shoot. I look for my perfect model using model agencies, Model Mayhem, friends, and Facebook.
The method and timing is unique for every project. I take different images in different locations and combine all the elements together. I often shoot the background first, followed by the model, and any other elements in the studio to match the lighting later.
When I’ve done all my photo-shoots, I select the best images. My style is surrealistic and requires a lot of image compositing, photo manipulation, and digital painting. This process can take weeks, or even months. My piece “Goddess Icon with Horns” took half a year to complete.
Once I’m finished with the photo-illustration, I go into the printing process.
I have to ensure that what I created looks good printed and framed. There are many options for fine art and print based artwork. I can print on different surfaces like acrylic, or metal, or a variety of different papers in different sizes, and using various frame types. Those decisions are made based on what’s best for the artwork and what I’m trying to communicate. I always make sure that the paper I’m printing on is archival and acid- free, to ensure that the print lasts for a lifetime.