Artist Feature! – Johnny Villamar.

There’s nothing I love more (well…) than meeting other artists. It doesn’t matter what kind of art, either. It could be photography, music, sculptures, fashion designers, artists, anything! Everything is equally as fascinating. So, that’s why I decided to start a weekly-ish artist feature. In celebration of everything weird, wild, and funky.

This weeks feature is a good friend of mine, Johnny. I believe I met Johnny through one of my art blogs a couple years ago, and man has our stuff grown since then. When I met him, as far as I knew he only did photography, and it was wonderful stuff! But then, he starts posting these portrait drawings, and a little while later he posts some of his graphic design stuff, and it’s awesome.

So, ladies and gentlemen, Johnny Villamar!

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Hi Johnny! Thanks so much for agreeing to be the first feature – I’m sure you know how much I admire your work. So, who’s work do you admire? 
I’ve been fortunate enough to go to school and study work from many different artists. Some of the people that influence my own graphic design work include: Paul Rand, Alexey Brodovitch, Saul Bass, Milton Glaser, and various other artists. Their work is iconic and timeless. I wish someday I’m able to create something of that caliber.

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Do you like things that are similar to yours, or opposite ends of the spectrum? 

Having sat through multiple art history classes in college I have learned to admire and draw inspiration from all types of work. Although I mostly work with photography, illustration, and graphic design, I also look at things opposite of that. Examples of that include: architecture, environmental design, and industrial design.

So, you do three different kinds of art, but which came first? Did any of them inspire the others?
I was first introduced to Graphic Design in 9th grade (~8 years ago) so I guess you could say that came first. It wasn’t until I graduated high school that I was truly hooked on the idea of creating art. In order to get into the graphic design program at school they make you go through a series of intro classes, so I started with a 100 level drawing class which taught me to see things differently. Through drawing I learned about the importance of composition. The summer after that class I decided to teach myself about photography, and eventually I made it into graphic design.

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What programs do you use for photography and graphic design? Why do you use them?
I mostly use Adobe Lightroom for photos and I apply VSCOfilm to give them a “film” look. I tend to stay away from photoshop mostly because lightroom allows me to work with multiple images at a time and this speeds up my workflow. Most of the time I don’t really need all the power of photoshop since I rarely composite my images.
For my graphic design work I mostly work with Adobe InDesign and Illustrator. These programs allow me to create vector art that can be scaled to any size. This is the biggest advantage of working with vector art. From these programs I am able to export to many file types.

How do you go about doing your drawings? Do you see a photo and decide to just go, or do you plan it before executing? Do you grid the paper or totally freehand that sucker? Do you breathe in eraser shavings?
Whenever I decide to draw a large scale portrait I look for a high quality image (so I can zoom into the details) and make a grid in Photoshop. I then map out a grid on the piece of paper that I’ll be using. The use of grids only apply to my large scale drawings because I want the image to be as close to the original as possible.

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As far as I know, you do your physical art with pencil, have you ever tried using ink or any kind of paint – or would you ever in the future? Why not or why so?
When I was working my way through the art program at school I was introduced to working with ink and acrylic paint. Although I am not opposed to working with these again, I don’t feel very comfortable trying paint or ink at the moment. It has been almost 3 years since I attempted a piece with something other than pencil so I still need practice.

Camera talk time. What’s your dream camera and or lens? Film or digital!
My dream camera would be a Leica M9 simply based on looks. I have a fascination with the design of old film cameras, but the functionality of a digital camera. The Leica M9 has both! Too bad it’s extremely expensive.

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What excites you about what you do? What makes you passionate about it?
This is a tough question to answer because there’s not one thing that excites me about what I do. I enjoy being tasked with an assignment and finding a solution to it. I get excited every time I take a good picture, come up with an eye-catching design, or finish a drawing. I get especially excited when I have the opportunity to share what I have come up with.

Could you see yourself doing anything outside of the world of art, or has it roped you in too tight? 
At the moment I actually don’t see myself doing something outside of the art world. Art is definitely something I’ve focused on for a good portion of the last 8 years, and I’m 1 year away from graduating and getting my BA degree.

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Favorite color, food, place, and artist/band? Do they enhance your creative spirit?
My favorite color is green! I’m a lover of Italian food (without forgetting my mom’s mexican food cooking). Since I’ve lived most of my life in a city I am always seeking nature. I guess “nature” is my favorite place at the moment. My favorite artist/band..Ellie, you sure know how to ask difficult questions! I can’t pick favorites, but lately I’ve been listening to music from Watsky, The Maine, Arctic Monkeys, and of course Eminem. I can’t say the influence my work directly, but I do have music playing while I’m working.

Got anything you wanna promote? Links?

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Huge thanks to Johnny for being the first feature! Definitely check out his links. He posts some really great stuff. And, if anyone wants to submit their own pieces of work, please feel free! As I said before, any kind of art will be wildly accepted. Just go to my “contact” page and email me some examples.

Make your day lovely. And sign up for my newsletter!

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