Tag Archives: artist

Stranger 73/100 – Joél

Stranger-73–Joel.jpgStranger 73/100 – Joél

“Love more. That’s a universal message that I think people just need to hear and to practice.”

Meet Joél.

What advice would you give to your younger self? “To find your passion and go after it and don’t be scared to take a risk. Take the risks, make the jump, make the connections, meet new people. Do the things that you’re afraid to do.”

What are your biggest challenges right now? “My biggest challenge right now is balancing this corporate career that I’ve built over the last ten, twelve years, maintaining it as well as balancing my creativity, being and artist and not suppressing that art and not suppressing my passion. Being able to fulfill both at the same time. It’s not easy.”

I asked Joél about the conundrum of working a full time job and doing art on the side vs. pursuing art full time. “I like to be able to do what I want when I need to do it. As a citizen in this society, everything costs. To be an artist costs… if it doesn’t cost you, it’s going to cost someone else. So, I figure why not me absorb the cost and I can do things at my own pace. I can do things on my own time. I can do things at will if I have my own resources and if I have my own assets. And I won’t need sponsorships and I won’t need to wait for the go.”

And you won’t need to sell out or compromise your art… “Exactly. It’s a balance that I’ve come to be comfortable with. I’m totally fine with not being a starving artist. I’m totally fine being the working artist who has an office job and I have my fashion line.”

Where do you want to be in ten years? “In then years I see myself successfully running my fashion line… maybe not at a global scale, but like just successfully running it. Producing stuff that people want, producing stuff that I want and just making my impact in a small way. And even if I’m still working corporate, it’s a win-win situation for me.”

If you could put a billboard up in Charlotte, what would it way? “I would tell people to just love more. Love more. Simply that. Love more. That’s a universal message that I think people just need to hear and to practice.”

Technical Notes: It was a bright day, so we moved to a shadier area to avoid any harsh lighting. I used a reflector to brighten up Joél‘s face.

Stranger 72/100 – Bill

100 Strangers - BillStranger 72/100 – Bill

“Don’t be so serious.”

Meet Bill.

What brings you uptown? “Well, I live over here. I’ve got a little studio right down the street.”

What advice would you give to your younger self? “Do everything different.”

What is your biggest challenge right now? “Being an artist in the United States. The United States is not a big art environment. If you go out of the United States, if you’re an artist, you’re much more accepted I think.”

What kind of art do you make? “I’m pretty diverse. I do some illustration… I’m mostly a painter. I’m an oil painter, but I do a lot of mixed media… charcoal and watercolor.”

Where do you want to be in 5 or 10 years? “Maybe I’ll be out of the United States. {laughs}. I like to travel, so I’ll go around and see places that have a lot more art and art is a lot more appreciated.”

If you could put a billboard up in Charlotte, what would it say? “I would never put a billboard up in Charlotte. I don’t know… probably don’t be so serious.”

Technical Notes: I used a small LED panel to minimize the shadows on Bill’s face.

Stranger 70/100 – Julio

Stranger-70–Julio.jpgStranger 70/100 – Julio

“Turn off your tech, and go outside and make love.”

Meet Julio.

“I’m currently an artist in residence at the McColl Center.”

What kind of art do you do? “My background is in illustration, and I’m self taught. As I come across new techniques and new materials, I typically work with other artists who have the skillsets to manipulate those materials to the specifications of my drawings.”

“I’m very much into pre-Columbian art… Mayan specifically. So I had this idea — what would Mayans have done if they had different techniques or tools or materials ? What if they were up north and they needed a headdress and could knit? What would their Mayan headdress look like? And so I met someone who does really good knitting and they were able to make my design.”

“A lot of the stuff I do is kind of identity-based I guess. So like looking into my Latin heritage. This other project I’m doing is based on Day of the Dead.”

What is your biggest challenge right now? “My biggest challenge would be figuring out how to make the balance… do you work the corporate job and do the art? I’m getting married next year, and I’d like to have kids. Talking with some of the artists it’s like how do you support kids and live the life? How do you not sell out? Like does it even matter? So that’s the biggest challenge, but I think most people go through that in one way or another.”

What’s the difference between good art and bad art? “I’m not a good person to ask. I don’t like a lot of art. It’s like porn — you know it when you see it.”

Does art have to say something? Does art have to make a statement? Or can it just be what it is? “Good art usually does.”

Does it have to be intentional? “No, sometimes you can just have a little mistake you know? But I think it should say something even if it’s just to piss people off just for the sake of pissing people off and pushing buttons. Even at that level, you have enough thought to know the other side.”

If you could put up a billboard in Charlotte, what would it say? “Turn off your tech, and go outside and make love.”

Technical Notes: We were in a shady area, so I used a small reflector to bounce some light from below. I bumped up the color temperature a few notches to give the portrait a warmer feel.


Stranger 65/100 – Jessie

100 Strangers - JessieWhat brings you uptown? “Painting.”

Meet Jessie.

“Yeah, I used to paint a lot of people. I used to paint a lot of trees and stuff. I really want to be an architect, but they do a lot of computer work, so I don’t like that fact. I would rather take the same aspect of the buildings and put it into my artwork. You can tell just by the lines that it’s architectural.”

What advice would you give to your younger self? “{laughs} Probably to not lose focus of my goals. Because there’s a lot of times where… people would tell me… doing other things are more important than doing your artwork. Art is always important to me, so I always feel like never give up. Which I never lost it… I just sometimes lost focus.”

What is your biggest challenge? “Now my biggest challenge is challenging myself. Finding new things to challenge myself is a challenge because I feel like I’ve conquered a lot of things. I can pretty much draw anything, so it’s like I want something to challenge me always.”

“Right now, this (current painting of the Hearst Tower) is pretty challenging because of the dimensions especially this right here (the front steps) is kicking my ass… just this… just because it’s circular. You have to add the characteristics to make it look like it’s circular but also squared with the background. This right here is challenging.”

What are your goals? Where do you want to be in ten years? “My goal would be not to lose focus and to go somewhere with it in a way. Or at least be able to do what I do comfortably everyday. That would be my goal. Not even being rich or like successful but just knowing that I’m comfortable where I’m at, so that way I can always do my artwork without having to worry about anything.”

What do you worry about now? “Nothing really. I don’t really worry much. That’s why I live my life how I do now. I just come out and paint and just hang out.”

If you could put a billboard up in Charlotte, what would it say? “Spread love. That will be a big sign especially in Charlotte because I don’t like negativity. I feel like if you’re going to do anything, I would spread love, not negativity. Don’t be a hateful person. Be more of a loving person. That way everyone would get the message to love more and hate less.”

Technical Notes: It was an overcast day with very flat light. I used a reflector to draw more light to Jessie’s face.