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Interview with Brian Smith

“My work is exclusively focused on the human figure and consequently I have been a longtime fan of PoseSpace”

Brian Smith is a professional artist, award-winning graphic designer, and art professor from Canada. He started his artistic career as a designer in 1969 and created his own business in 1979. Smith and his team earned several design awards and in 2004 he decided to become a full-time artist and focus on his fine art pieces —something he had been already doing on the side for many years.

Soon after leaving his company, Smith gained more recognition as a professional artist. In 2005 he was awarded the title of Honorary Drawing Master by the Drawing Society of Canada, in November 2008 he was named Artist of the Month by American Artist magazine and even got featured on TV on the show “Star Portraits” in 2009. Brian has also been teaching life drawing, portraiture and figurative abstraction for over 30 years in colleges and universities in Canada —such as the Ontario College of Art and Design University and the Haliburton School of The Arts—, as well as at his own studio.

“Underwraps – Secret” by artist Brian Smith 


In this Q&A Canadian artist Brian Smith shares with PoseSpace how he got into art, what artists influenced his work, how he discovered figurative abstraction and what he always says to his art students:

Can you tell us about your background and how you got into art?

I am very fortunate to be the son of a full-time artist. My mother was a fashion illustrator and spent her working days as well as her time off, drawing people. So it was natural for me to become enamored with the idea of figurative work. At the age of 21, I was accepted directly into 2nd year on full scholarship at the Ontario College of Art and Design, graduating in 1969. Over the next 37 years I was a professional graphic designer including running my own business from 1979-2004, and my staff won over 90 international design awards over that period. In 2004 my two senior employees bought the company and I was then able to focus more on my fine art work that I had been doing all along in the background. From 1985 to the present I have been teaching drawing and painting the figure at several post-secondary colleges and universities as well as conducting workshops across Canada and a Master Class in my own studio.

Which artist or painter has influenced you?

Many of my painting influences are figurative abstractionists such as Richard Diebenkorn, Eberhard Hückstadt, Melinda Cootsona, Harry Paul Ally, Carmel Jenkin,  and Kathy Jones. My drawing influences are much more classical and include Pierre Paul Prud’hon, Edgar Dégas, Alphonse Mucha, Anthony Ryder, and Zhaoming Wu.

You’ve earned several awards. From your personal view, what’s been your greatest artistic success?

In January 2005, I was awarded the title of Honorary Drawing Master by the Drawing Society of Canada. Gerrit Verstraete, co-founder of the Drawing Society, noted that to receive this honour, an artist must “demonstrate a substantial commitment to drawing as well as mastery of drawing techniques. They have developed a body of work that positions drawings as complete works in themselves and not just preparatory work or ‘studies’ for paintings. A Canadian drawing master is an artist who loves to draw, who draws well, who is comfortable in one or any number of styles and who has spent many years creating drawings that in turn have become valuable contributions to Canada’s overall artistic heritage.” Previous inductees have included Robert Bateman, Peter Mah, Eric Freifeld and Ken Danby. Pretty good company.

What do you think of PoseSpace? Do you prefer books or individual poses?

My work is exclusively focused on the human figure and consequently I have been a longtime fan of PoseSpace. I am fortunate to live in a large metropolitan area and have fairly easy access to many excellent models. However, PoseSpace offers me the opportunity to choose different model “looks” and poses at a price that is very reasonable. One of the features I most like is the ability to see the pose from 16 angles and choose my pose from the various nuanced angles. Most of my PoseSpace purchases have been books/DVDs which give me an even further discounted price as well as so many more poses and angles.

Michaela reclining” painting by Brian Smith based on model Michaela (image shared by artist)


Tell us one thing you thought you knew, that it later turned out you were wrong about

For the first 40 years of my fine art career I focussed on classical red chalk drawing of the figure much like da Vinci and Michelangelo. And, as I improved my skills over those years, I thought I had reached a pinnacle in my art. In 2002 I discovered figurative abstraction thinking: “How hard can abstraction be?” However, after 40 years of accurate, proportional, well-rendered figures, I discovered I knew nothing about abstraction and that it was immensely more difficult, more challenging, and therefore, more rewarding than lifelike, classical drawing. So, here I am at 74, deeply in love with being an artist and challenged every day I go to my studio to create work that is meaningful and maybe just a little bit better than the art I did yesterday.

How has your style changed over the years?

As I mentioned, I was classically trained in the typical red chalk drawing style of da Vinci and Michelangelo from the time I was 18 years of age. My goal for the next 40 years was to develop that specific skill in order to capture the essence of the model in a classical drawing. I still do classical drawing every week and I do regard it as the foundation of all my art. However, when I was invited to be a member of a 3-person exhibition at a major Toronto gallery, we decided (out of the blue) to spend the year leading up to the opening date, being more abstract in our work. The other two artists seemed to understand what “more abstract” meant and showed some very exciting and strong work. I, however, clearly had no idea how difficult abstraction would be and consequently, my work paled beside the other two artists. And the challenge for me began. Over the past nearly 20 years, I have explored figurative abstraction, bumped soundly into dead ends, thrown away a serious amount of canvas and paper, and have

also had some very exciting results. And I continue to grope my way into a style that I enjoy and that gives me satisfaction without becoming formulaic. Life is good!

What advice would you give to young artists just starting their careers?

I tell my students all the time to “Show up for work!” The great thing about being an artist is that, if you want to be a better artist, you simply do more art. So, show up for work as often as you can —even if you are not working on “the big project”—, just show up and work/play at your art.

Brian Smith’s website: http://www.drawn2life.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/briansmith.aoca

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/briansmith.aoca/

Twitter: @briansart

Interview by Andrea Miliani

Interview with Roy Stanton

“My interest in the human figure as a subject is at the absolute foundation of what I enjoy doing as an artist”

Roy Stanton is a talented American artist based in Florida. Even though he has been interested in art ever since he was a little boy, he also studied Zoology in the University of Florida and worked as an animal trainer at the Busch Gardens Zoo for a few years. Later, Stanton took a different path in his professional career and started painting and sculpting, followed by studies of Digital Art and Computer Animation at the University of Washington.

Stanton is also an actor with a solid background in stage and film. He played Major Joe Williams on SyFy original series “Z Nation”. His interest in horror, science fiction, and fantasy is also present in his sculptures, paintings and graphics. This artist’s most recent solo show at the West of Lenin gallery in Fremont was called “Heroes, Villains and Monsters”.

Frankenstein by Roy Stanton (image shared by artist)


In this Q&A artist Roy Stanton shares with PoseSpace how he got into art, what he has learned on open studio sessions, who are his favorite living artists and why Vaunt is his preferred model:

Can you tell us about your background and how you got into art?

Having a father who was a frustrated graphic artist (his family never encouraged him to follow through on the goal) meant I was exposed to drawing at a very early age through the pieces he would create at home, and I think being a fairly shy child meant I would spend more time on my own drawing than playing outside with other kids. Even so, I think a book my older sister gave me, “The Great Comic Book Heroes”, was the catalyst that really set up artwork as a permanent part of who I am. In fact, my earliest career aspiration was to be a comic book artist. That changed when I discovered and started paying attention to fine art and pop art, realizing the potential of telling stories and communicating ideas through a single image. My interest in sculpture came later and for a time dominated my artistic endeavors, but, eventually, I found that the enjoyment I get from simply putting pencil to paper and drawing is, for me, really unmatched by any other artistic pursuit.

As for making a living from it, ultimately I’d say that I’m a semi-professional artist, in that I’ve never solely made my living by it, but at times it has contributed a great portion of my income.

You’ve been attending an open studio on weekends, what have you learned throughout this experience?

I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is the extremely valuable use of a model in creating imagery. For many years, after completing my formal instruction, I was doing work without using a model of any kind. In some cases I just didn’t have access to one, but other times I simply was so taken with an idea I would dive in and ignore the step of working out a pose with a model. I wouldn’t say that was detrimental, but going back to an open studio I was reminded of all that I had forgotten from not looking at a model. By the same token, when I discovered the PoseSpace website and started using the photos as reference, it was a similar revelation: it told me what I didn’t know, and helped me to polish my skills in composition and basic figure drawing.

Do you have a favorite PoseSpace.com model or book?

As a matter of fact, I do; I love using Vaunt for a lot of my prelim sketchwork. She does some terrific pose work and has a body and face type that I like using in my painting and sculpture. I often get a “femme fatale” vibe from her, and those tend to be the females I like to depict: ones that have an edge and some complexity to them.

Drawing of model Vaunt by Roy Stanton (image shared by artist)

What are your goals or aspirations as an artist?

I think at this stage of my artistic life I’m more open to exploration than ever before, and am trying out new media as well as technique. I still have a strong interest in portrait work, but I’d like to get back to a little more symbolism in my paintings and re-acquaint myself with oil in creating those images. I have been greatly inspired by my new home in south Florida as well; we’re surrounded by amazing wildlife, birds in particular. I think I’d like to capture many of the birds as the subjects of my new portraits. That doesn’t mean I won’t be using people in my art as well, I think my interest in the human figure as a subject is at the absolute foundation of what I enjoy doing as an artist, so I can guarantee that I’ll be continuing to utilize open studio and PoseSpace as resources for future work.

Do you have a favorite living artist, whether famous or completely unknown?

I have three that stand out in particular: Kehinde Wiley, because his paintings are monumental, yet retain an unmistakable sense of life; and in the less “fine art” realm, Adam Hughes and Alex Ross. Hughes is a master of form and pose, while Ross brings a realism and humanity to his watercolor work that is unmatched.

Where do you get your imagery from?

Predominantly from the twisted avenues of my own mind. It’s a pretty wild time in there, I gotta tell you.

Tell us one thing you thought you knew, that it later turned out you were wrong about.

I think that would have to be the notion that there was an endpoint in growing as an artist; that the education would, at some point, be over. Completely wrong. To be honest, I find that each image, at its beginning, holds the same excitement as the first, and the same challenges. Will it work? Can I accomplish what I want? Granted, I have the benefit of experience to bolster me up when those concerns pay me a visit, but I have to say that getting that little bit of uncertainty definitely keeps boredom from setting in. Give me a new problem to wrestle with, a new challenge to solve, and I’m a very happy artist.

Roy Stanton’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheArtOfRoyStanton/

Deviant Art: https://www.deviantart.com/roystanton

Interview by Andrea Miliani

Interview with Carol Heyer

“I really enjoy being a freelance artist, spending my time working on the things I love”

Carol Heyer is an American full-time illustrator and writer who usually combines fantasy, sci-fi and realism in her work. She has created 30 children’s picture books—among them Humphrey’s First Christmas and Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude— and has earned several state awards. She has also worked for prestigious companies such as Disney and Scholastic, and even wrote Thunder Run, a film released by Cannon Films.

Her rescued dogs, Peanut and Cashew Nut, are her studio companions and coworkers. This talented freelance artist is constantly working on new projects. A few months ago, Heyer’s painting for a fantasy series, “The Root Doctor”, won a Finalist Award in the CFA, The Circle Foundation For the Arts contest.

“Rootdoctor”. Fantasy Art 30 inches by 40  acrylic
 /Circle Foundation of the Arts Finalist (image shared by artist)

In this Q&A artist Carol Heyer shares with PoseSpace how she got into illustration, who are her favorite artists, how PoseSpace helps her develop her art and what life experiences influenced her work:

Can you tell us about your background and how you got into illustration?

My mother was a great artist and she taught me how to draw when I was a young child. She instilled a love of art that never left me. My father was artistic too.  He made gold rings cast from wax forms. Eventually he started making contemporary sterling silver jewelry. I learned jewelry making from him and made jewelry for a few years.

I took art in high school and then when I went to college, they asked me what my major was, I said art and I’ve never stopped painting and drawing.  I work mainly with acrylic paint on portrait canvas and prefer working larger, at least 30” X 40”.

Which artist or painter has influenced you?

There are so many, but I think my all-time favorite is still Maxfield Parrish. I love his colors, the contrast between cool and warm. I also like N.C. Wyeth and Andrew Wyeth.

Alla Prima, or direct painting is a style I really appreciate, and among the artists I admire are Richard Schmid and Tibor Nagy.

Have PoseSpace photos and books helped you in your artistic career?

Definitely! For years now, I’ve bought all of the books offered and many, many of the individual poses and sessions for various freelance assignments I’ve worked on.

How?

Well I’m a full time illustrator with little time to hire models. So I take full advantage of PoseSpace and all of the amazing photos. I’ve painted angels, and wizards, book covers, educational art et al. I always say I’ve painted everything from bookmarks to book covers!  I prefer to work realistically and having great reference is essential for me to get the results I’m after. I often take several PoseSpace images and meld them together to fit my composition.

Angel drawing by Carol Heyer based on michael 022—01 (image shared by artist)

What is the importance of gesture drawing for you?

Figure drawing is really important in all my work. Gesture drawing brings a spark of movement and energy to all of my illustrations, from humor to realism.

Do you have any shows or activities on the horizon that you’d like to tell our readers about?

I was invited to show my art at in the TRAC 2019 Invitational Show, (The Representational Art Conference). I currently have three paintings on display.  The name of the show is Imagine and the art leans toward fantasy, which is my specialty. Among the artists showing are Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell and Roger Dean, etc. all artists at the top of their field.  

I’m also working on a new children’s Halloween picture book and I’m having so much fun creating the characters and writing the text.

I like to have at least three easels going at the same time.  I.E., one with fantasy art, another with children’s illustration and of course one with my current assignment.  If I find I get bogged down on one painting, I switch to another and work on it for a while. Then I can go back to my original work with a fresh eye.

What life experiences have influenced your work?

I worked for several companies in their art departments, including a movie production company. There I worked on story boards and production art, as well as writing. One of my scripts Thunder Run was produced and released in theatres. Another was produced and released to video. I worked there for some years before going out on my own to become a freelancer, illustrating and writing children’s picture books et al.

I really enjoy being a freelance artist, spending my time working on the things I love.

Carol Heyer’s website: http://www.carolheyer.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carol.heyer.7

Twitter: https://twitter.com/carolheyer

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.cl/carolheyer/boards/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/carolheyer/

Interview by Andrea Miliani

Interview with Tiziano Gilardoni

“I’m convinced that art is a continuous flow”

Tiziano Gilardoni was born in Italy in 1974 and is currently living in a small town near Milan. He is a self-taught artist who creates beautiful sculptures using modeling clay and plaster. Even though his favorite expressive medium is sculpture, he is also a talented photographer and painter.

After studying Gilardoni’s work, anyone can understand the value that this artist gives to lines, light, textures and emotions. He can capture images of the Uriezzo Gorges and make viewers admire nature’s composition or draw a nude female model and encourage people to praise her or sculpt a mermaid and arouse powerful feelings in the audience.

“The Mermaid”, sculpture by Tiziano Gilardoni (image shared by artist)

In this Q&A artist Tiziano Gilardoni shares with PoseSpace how he discovered sculpting, how Rodin influenced his work, who is his Art Model muse and how he explores different styles:

When did you first know you wanted to become an artist?

If I look back to my childhood I remember I took in my hand a brush earlier than a pencil. There is no precise time in my life when I decided that. When I grew up I attended technical studies but I never stop drawing and painting during my free time. Then there have been times in which I worked nonstop on many projects in parallel and times when I created very few works.

I’m not sure I’m an artist… of course, I produce something that could be addressed as pieces of arts in the common sense, but I think that this definition should have deeper implication in the social impact of the works, time will tell.

You draw, paint, sculpt and even do photography… how did you develop all of these artistic skills?

I used to be a self-taught painter and an amateur photographer until I decided to attend a part-time 2 year course at the Italian Institute of Photography in Milan (IIF). This gave me the motivation and the critical view to seek harder for the topics and the fields of expressions I really felt belonging to me. Then in the following three years I attended some courses in the local art academy to improve my technique in life drawing. And in the meanwhile I discovered sculpting, that has been literally a revelation: I’ve never considered that could fit my way of expression until the first time I modeled a piece of clay, and from then on I realized it was the most natural and comfortable way for me. It has been the real driver to study human anatomy.

I’m convinced that art is a continuous flow: after a while that I deal with the same subject or the same technique I feel that I’m becoming self-referential, therefore I try to focus on a different topic, to experience something new or I even jump from sculpting into photography or drawing. And each project has its proper language that best fit to it: one shall be expressed by drawing, another could only be represented by a statue, and a third can only be a black and white photo. In the end, I started developing some skills to find my way, now I try to learn new skills that could fit the ideas I have in mind.

Which artists have influenced you?

I saw the marble of The Kiss at an exhibition in Milan, I started turning around it and I would never stop… in that time I understood that Rodin would have been my reference for sculpting. Sculptors can be divided in two groups: those who create a statue with a main view, and those who think that all the point of views are equally important. Rodin belongs to the second, and me too. When I work on a figure I want it to communicate something from each point of view: as long as the observer turns around it he/she should find new details, a foreshortening that provide an impression never felt before, or an unfamiliar point of view that compel him/her to stop and look again, literally a physical journey around it.

And then I like the color and the technique of Redon, the “flat” fields of color of Gauguin, the portraits of Helmut Newton, the atmospheres of Jeff Wall and the high contrasts of Salgado.

Do you have a favorite PoseSpace model or product?

The one I used most is the pose set of Vaunt. I liked this shooting very much because the poses fit pretty well with the ideas I had in mind, both for sculpting and drawing. But I also have some paper book as reference, I usually go through them when I have some new project in mind and I want to figure out the right posture and details.

“A World Apart” sculpture by Tiziano Gilardoni (image shared by artist)

Do you have a favorite source of materials?

I like to go to exhibitions and look at the work of other artists, and I also look at art sites on the web. All these provide me suggestions and techniques for future experiments. But the ideas for my projects usually come from everyday life and go through a long process of sedimentation and rethinking, only when I have clear in mind what I want I finally start working.

How has your style changed over the years?

I like figurative art and even if sometimes I explore new combinations, I think I will remain linked to figurative topics. And I’m moving towards simplification, both in subjects and shapes. Looking back to the last years I know that I usually oscillate between “color” and “monochrome” times: I really like powerful colors, when I decide to work with then I privilege saturation and vividness, they really become the key point of the composition; then after a while I come back to the monochrome, especially when I use photography, it is a kind of catharsis to clean the mind from the resonance of colors and prepare myself for the next step.

Tiziano Gilardoni’s  website: http://tizianogilardoni.weebly.com

Behance page: https://www.behance.net/tgilardoni7801

Interview by Andrea Miliani

Interview with Joseph Pearson

“I believe in the power of art to provoke and expand society’s re-imagination”

Joseph Pearson is an American artist based in Asheville. He paints people and figures using pastel pencil, charcoal and oil. His art embraces the social realism concept: he enjoys drawing scenes from the street and mirroring a reality. In this artist’s paintings, you can find a woman in a coffee shop scrolling through her smartphone or a young boy getting a haircut in the barbershop.

Pearson recently held an exhibition in a private high-school called “Thoughts on the Times: Reflections on Today’s Current of Racial Injustice and Violence in America” and he was pleased when he realized that the young students understood his work. He believes that art can heal and open minds.

Gesture drawing of Anarebecca by Joseph Pearson (image shared by artist)

In this Q&A artist Joseph Pearson shares with PoseSpace how art helped him to express himself, what artists influenced his work, details about the art-making process and his greatest achievements:

Can you tell us about your background and how you got into art?

My background in art started when I was about 4-5 years old. I copied the illustrations in an old Sears and Roebuck catalog. I loved the idea of being able to make a figure from lines and shade. As a child and into adulthood I was an extremely shy person. Drawing allowed me to express myself in ways I couldn’t say in words and still does. The nude human figure has been a staple of artist training for hundreds of years. It is the most challenging and to me the most interesting subject. I especially love the female form for its grace, curves and sensuality and natural beauty. In addition, the figure allows me to connect with other humans in the expressing of my ideas because of our common humanity.

What are your goals or aspirations and which artists have influenced your work?

I believe in the power of art to provoke and expand society’s re-imagination. Throughout history, the arts have played a pivotal role in the expression of viewpoints and in influencing a change of perceptions and ideas about a given subject. That’s my goal as an artist. My major influences are the social realist artists, especially those of the old WPA (Works Project Administration) under President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

I had the honor of training with and being the friend of the late Hughie Lee-Smith, one of those artists. I love the works of the Charles White, Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence.

I love Thomas Hart Benton, Raphael Soyer and many others of this school. Edward Hopper is one of my all time favorites!

How did you discover PoseSpace?

I discovered www.posespace.com searching for figure drawing resources.

Charcoal drawing of model MikaM by Joseph Pearson (image shared by artist)

Can you tell us about the process of making your work?

My art making process starts with an idea I want to express, this may be something I read, hear in the news or just an idea that comes to mind. Then I gather source material to develop the idea. If the final product is to be a drawing I may keep it gestural or I may develop it further depending on the idea I want to convey. It all starts with gesture, gesture is everything! That’s what I practice most from posespace.com.

I paint people as portraits and figures. I work in oil, charcoal and pastel pencil. I am a muralist and printmaker.

What has been your greatest artistic success?

My greatest artistic success(s)… there have been many. Most recent is having had an exhibition at a private high school where I addressed social injustice and the kids got it! That’s the power of art! Prior to that I had the honor of painting a mural and doing four charcoal portrait drawings for a very popular downtown restaurant here in the city. 1971 as an art student at the Art Students of New York I was awarded a full scholarship to attend this venerable institution! In 1998 I was awarded the prestigious Pollock-Krasner Foundation of NY grant. In 1999 I Commissioned by the White House Historical Association to represent the state of MS in celebrating the 300th anniversary of the White House (2001 calendar). There are many other activities I count as major success that can be found on my website.

Joseph Pearson’s website: josephart.net

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Artist/Joseph-Pearson-Artist-1785168475036811/

Interview by Andrea Miliani

Interview with Shannon Morrison

“After many years of using the airbrush, it has become a profoundly magical process for me. I am amazed by how an image seems to magically appear, yet my hand never touches the painting’s surface”

Shannon Morrison is a self-taught artist who creates wonderful pieces of figurative art using his airbrush and acrylic paint. He was born in Michigan in 1973 and currently lives in Arizona, where he is focusing on increasing the production of paintings and improving his technique. With an Iwata HP-B airbrush and Createx colors, Shannon creates beautiful and realistic paintings with a subtle touch of fantasy.

When he is not painting or drawing, this artist also plays the shakuhachi—the Japanese bamboo-flute— and enjoys working out. He describes himself as a “fitness junkie”, and his passion for physical activities led him to appreciate more the human body and inspired him to study human anatomy. In his most recent work, Shannon focuses on the nude female body.

“Blues contemplation” by Shannon Morrison (image shared by artist)


In this Q&A artist Shannon Morrison shares with PoseSpace how he got into art, why he uses airbrush as a tool, what life experiences influenced his work, valuable advice for artists who have an interest in airbrush and more:

Can you tell us about your background and how you got into art?

I have always been involved in art. Ever since I was a young child, I can remember spending hours drawing and coloring. One of my most profound memories was becoming incredibly jealous one holiday because my older brother got a Super Hero drawing set and I did not. I don’t even remember what I did get that holiday. All I remember is that I wanted a drawing kit, so that I could also draw things.

As I got older, I took drawing classes in school, confident that I could go somewhere with my artistic talent. Challenging life experiences kept me from pursuing further art education past high school, but I continued independent art study on my off time and weekends. I worked with anything I could – books, DVD’s, and just pure practice.

In my thirties, I launched a small graphic art business specializing in airbrush and custom painting. This lasted about a decade before I grew weary of the pressures of deadlines and unreasonable requests. I began to realize that I was not cut out for that specific industry and closed the business.

In recent years, I have shifted focus to pursue my own visions and ideas, and that’s where I intend to spend my remaining artistic years.

Why did you choose the airbrush as your main tool?

I chose the airbrush because of its apparent unmatched ability to convey realism, as demonstrated in the inspirational works of Chuck Close, Don Eddy and H.R. Giger. Now, after many years of using the airbrush, it has become a profoundly magical process for me. I am amazed by how an image seems to magically appear, yet my hand never touches the painting’s surface – I have a thought and it’s then rendered.

What life experiences have influenced your work?

There are two major life experiences that have shaped and influenced my art, from the tools used to the subject matter. First, my family seemed to have a never-ending struggle just to get by and I grew up with very little, which forced me to use my imagination as a way to escape this reality. I would create my own intricate worlds which, still to this day, I see come out in my paintings.

Additionally, I was extremely physically active and worked hard to develop my physical capacities, which contributed to my obsession about how the body looked and moved in space. This appreciation and fascination for the human form became the main focus of my art and paintings. My ideas focused on capturing the form in action, like a split second in time, similar to that of a still frame. This stop-in-action would create questions for the viewer as they searched for the story, often creating tension that could not be resolved.  

Do you listen to music while you work? What is your perfect environment to paint?

I am an amateur musician and therefore music is always on when I paint. I use music to shape moods – if the art has a light theme, I find music that creates that mood in me before I start to paint. It’s very hard for me to paint a sad theme in a painting while listening to music that picks me up and makes me happy (and vice versa).

Regarding PoseSpace, do you prefer individual poses, books, or sessions?

Early on, I had been using images from magazines and the internet, but I felt that the finished paintings and images were not fully mine because of potential copyright issues. One solution, using live models, was both time and cost-prohibited for me.  Later, I stumbled upon PoseSpace, which eliminated my need to find or afford live models.  Pose Space allowed me to produce finished art in full confidence that it was my own and without the worries of legal ramifications.

Additionally, I use Sessions, but I had started off with a couple of hard bound books from Amazon. Sessions allows me to see and adjust different perspective and angles with the same model.

“The Wall” by Shannon Morrison inspired by model Becca (image shared by artist)


What advice do you have for artists who have an interest in airbrush?

The most beneficial advice I can give aspiring airbrush artists is to see the airbrush as a tool to produce a result.  Similar to other art processes, it will have to be learned and practiced until it becomes second nature. In teaching airbrush classes in the past, I found that a lot of the students assumed that the airbrush was easy and some type of silver bullet that would paint great art for them, but that’s not the case. It takes time to master the airbrush, and even after that you still need to have developed drawing skills, understand value and shape, and have mastery of composition and color theory to produce good art. It is my belief that the airbrush does nothing more than apply paint—a very cool way to do it— but it’s still just another tool.

How has your style changed over the years?

Art is a process that is ever unfolding and growing in me – what I am working on now may change completely in ten years. There have been times on my artist’s journey where I never really thought of myself as good enough, but I kept at it. The days became weeks, weeks became months and finally months into years, and somewhere along the way I started looking at my own art and thinking “I am getting pretty good at this.”  It became clear that I had gotten somewhere and had something worthy to say. Now in my forties, I have many years of learning and painting behind me (and so many more to go), yet I feel like I am just starting to see real fruits of my labor. My future goal is to just keep creating and moving forward.

Shannon Morrison’s website: http://shannonmorrisonstudios.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mrshannonmorrison

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mr.shannonmorrison/


Interview by Andrea Miliani

Interview with Christina Ellis

“I have worked with many mediums, both in painting and sculpture but for some reason that fact that not many people work in cement/concrete – it interested me more”

Christina Ellis has explored “the storytelling of the human experience” in art for decades. This artist began her career as an illustrator and art director, but later studied sculpture at the University of Alaska where she learned from her professor and favorite artist, Ken Gray. Her work led her to discover and feel passionate about an unpopular material among sculptors: cement.

Ellis has participated in many exhibitions and demonstrations such as the “No Big Heads” show. She is now immersed in her studio in Portland Oregon enjoying the challenges of sculpting busts in cement. She finds inspiration in strangers on the streets and imagines what it would be like to invite them to a dinner party and meet them face-to-face. The result would be hard to predict, just as her cement sculptures.

Sculpture by Christina Ellis (image shared by artist)

In this Q&A artist Christina Ellis shares with PoseSpace how she fell in love with cement, why Ken Gray is her favorite artist, her rituals and advice to art students:

When did you first know you wanted to become an artist?

I have always been an artist. If I could find some mud or sticks, I was creating art. There was something about it that made the world feel right for me.

How did you get started with cement?

I have worked with many mediums, both in painting and sculpture but for some reason that fact that not many people work in cement/concrete – it interested me more. While researching concrete one day, I came across a video about a sculptor named Katherine Stanek. Her work was so beautiful and profoundly touching the way she took this blah, messy medium and created visual masterpieces. I was hooked.

How do you start a sculpture— do you have any rituals?

I have a ritual candle infused with herbs and essential oils to awaken creativity, playfulness and imagination. I have it burning whenever I am working in my studio.

Do you have a favorite artist?

My favorite artist was my college art professor, Ken Gray. He was a phenomenal artist and sculptor and a phenomenal teacher. He brought out the creative light in each one of his students. I always had a deep interest in sculpture but had been putting off taking sculpture classes because they were long and hard and dirty. One day, I learned Professor Gray had cancer. I immediately enrolled in every one of his classes. He taught me the joy of sculpting.

Scupture by Christina Ellis (image shared by artist)

What do you think of PoseSpace?

I think PoseSpace is an amazing service for artists. The care and artistry that is put into the photography of each pose is a great resource when you can’t get a live model.

You opened an art school in Southern Oregon, could you tell us more about this project?

I had renovated an old house downtown Medford Oregon and wanted to bring art instruction to a community that was not known for its exposure to the creative world. I had a full school of dedicated students, both young and old. My timing was off though, the next year, 2008, people were forced to choose between groceries and art school tuition. I had to close the doors.

What advice do you have for young artists who have an interest in sculpting?

Allow yourself to be free – play, create, make your own rules.

Christina Ellis’ website: www.cmegallery.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/cmegallery

Instagram: www.instagram.com/cmegallery

Interview by Andrea Miliani

Interview with David Nelson

“Once I saw that contemporary artists were dealing with ideas, everything changed for me and I was hooked”

David Nelson is a contemporary artist based in Dublin, New Hampshire. His interest in art began as a child when he discovered comics. Later, at the university, David studied and admired the great artists, but ended up revealing the real value of contemporary art. His work, both abstract and figurative, capture his style and innovation with striking colors and disruptive ideas.

Nelson defines on his website one of his main interests in art, the idea of agency: “For something to come into being by letting other forces be the agent doing it.” This concept makes more sense when we see one of the paintings of his “Incarnation” collection; a bunch of dots in cyan, magenta, yellow, and key —properly placed—that create beautiful shapes of human bodies when seen from the right perspective.

“Incarnation: Garden Variety” 20’ x 16’ clear acrylic finger-painted on billboard vinyl (image shared by artist)

In this Q&A artist David Nelson shares with PoseSpace how he developed his techniques, how he discovered CMYK dots, what contemporary art means to him and a few details about his experience at the Governors Island Art Fair:

When did you first know you wanted to become an artist?

When I was in my teens, I was an avid comic book collector, and took a comic art class with a local artist. I loved it. I decided to study fine art at University of Maine, where the department head surprised me by taking my not-very-traditional portfolio seriously and was very open and encouraging. I was also happy the university setting would give me the opportunity to study literature, my other big interest.

One of your main interests is the idea of agency and you use only primary colors. What inspired you to come up with this concept?

I began my studies absolutely hating contemporary art, thinking it was the biggest cultural hoax in history. Until my senior year, that is, when I was forced to study it. In spite of myself, I became fascinated. Art was about ideas. Art was a visual means to explore complex questions about life—the same philosophical and theoretical questions I was discussing in English Lit and science classes. What’s the relation between order and chaos, emotion and intellect, objectivity and subjectivity, pattern and disruption? Once I saw that contemporary artists were dealing with ideas, everything changed for me and I was hooked.

Which artist or painter has influenced you?

When I had to do a paper on a living artist for the Contemporary Art class, I told the professor I didn’t know any— my heroes had been Degas, Vermeer and Tiepolo. He said, “OK, do Jean Dubuffet.” I never heard of him, so when I saw his paintings looked like the scrawls of a child or tar poured on a canvas, I was horrified. That is, until I read his thinking behind it. He was trying to capture something universal and atavistic, something deeper than intellect or observation. He was grappling with those same dynamic balances I was: organic/mechanical, emotional/intellectual, abstraction/representation.

How has your style changed over the years?

In college I made abstract works with a tight linear pattern, but using paint that would creep and craze on its own. I created strict grids that were made up of scribbles, mechanical patterns made up of organic leaf shapes, splatters that were random, but precisely placed by a friend’s personal computer.

Later, experience in graphic design and art direction introduced me to CMYK process color. This got me thinking, what if I spattered the dot pattern with paint? What if I controlled the paint by using random numbers or scattered objects? I’d be making an image by relinquishing control rather than taking hold of it. Colors would layer and mix “on their own.” I spent about ten years exploring this dynamic in non-objective process paintings.

I was tempted to use the CMYK dot idea to form more concrete images, but that was crazy — introduce subject matter? Things!? Actual things are so freighted with meaning—or plagued with cliché. Then I remembered Dubuffet: kids and cavemen all wanted to draw the same thing— the simple human form.

So I took straightforward, full-body photos of my family, color-separated them, blew them up to life-size, and executed the coarse dot pattern with clear CMYK acrylic from a ketchup squirter. No pose, just standing there—a record of “this is me.” I liked how the vagueness of the painted dots fought with the photographic “realness” of a particular individual. I’ve explored this idea in a range of scales—applying paint with industrial syringes at postage-stamp-size, to finger-painting 20’ x 16’ figures on billboard vinyl.

To learn as much as I could about the figure, I decided to try sculpture. It worked for Degas, after all! I was pleasantly surprised to find I had a pretty good working knowledge of anatomy. Drawing those muscular superheroes in my comic art days wasn’t wasted.

“Garden Variety” 12” x 12” x 20” Polymer clay, artificial moss, glass garden cloche (image shared by artist)


How did you discover www.posespace.com?

It became pretty clear that If I was investigating the body in this iconic way, it was inevitable for me to consider the nude. It was great to find quality reference at Posespace. I’ve been especially glad to see models with “normal” body types and straightforward poses. The 360-degree views are tremendously helpful for sculpture.

Can you tell us about your experience at the Governors Island Art Fair?

Governors Island is a former military base 800 yards off Manhattan’s southern tip. For  five weekends each September, over 100 artists from around the world transform spaces in the historic buildings with their art. I showed paintings from my “Incarnation” series in 2017 and 2018. It was terrific to talk with hundreds of visitors every weekend. My artist’s statement prompted a lot of great conversations: “The human experience means bringing our unseen into where it can be received some way by other bodies. And something is always lost in translation. So life is always a beautiful, frustrating challenge of giving and receiving partial messages, garbled transmissions, incomplete sentences.”

David Nelson’s website:  www.davidnelsonart.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/davidnelsonart/


Interview by Andrea Miliani

Interview with Davey Edwards

“I believe the female anatomy is one of the hardest to sketch in realist form. The way movement and gravity affects the fluidity of women’s anatomical parts is one of God’s greatest designs”

Davey Edwards teaches cadastral sciences in Texas and has a Ph.D. in geosciences, but during his spare time —besides riding his Jeep— he uses his pencils to improve his drawing techniques and exercise the right side of his brain. A few years ago, he started drawing on his son’s lunch bag and, after some encouraging feedback, he decided to share his art.

Even though he doesn’t consider himself an artist, he’s been building an interesting portfolio on his Instagram account. The female body is his biggest challenge and favorite subject. PoseSpace poses have helped Edwards understand the human body, and social media channels have been a great source of motivation: “I use other’s artwork on Instagram to inspire me. There are a lot of great artists around the world!”.

“Lazy Summer” by Davey Edwards inspired by Adhira from Posepace (Image shared by artist)

In this Q&A interview, Davey Edwards shares with PoseSpace his goals and aspirations as an artist, his favorite painters, and the life experiences that have influenced his work:

Can you tell us about your background and how you got into art?

Currently, I am a professor of cadastral sciences at a university in Texas.  I grew up loving the sciences but also loved art; drawing, painting and sculpture. When I went to college, I studied pre-medicine with aspirations to be an orthopedic and design prosthetics.  My love of art found a new avenue when I studied anatomy and where I got into figurative art of the human body.

What are your goals or aspirations as an artist?

All day I use the left side of my brain, to be able to sit down and concentrate on an art piece give me a sense of relaxation and use the right side of my brain.  For several years now, I have been wanting to write a graphic novel, or an illustrated novel. I have a storyline and have sat down a couple of times to write it but usually get busy and lose interest before getting it back again.  The name is Allu, it is about a succubus born from a fallen angel, Lilith, and Adam and Eve’s first born, Cane. It is a mixture of legend and biblical history.

Allu, Davey Edwards’ fictional character inspired by Sarahann (Image shared by artist)

Do you have a favorite living artist, whether famous or completely unknown?

Well my favorite artist and the one I think I usually emulate is William Bouguereau but he is not living.  But for one that is living I would say Amahi Mori, she is a pencil artist who has got a great understanding of human anatomy. I would say that I try and use her style of pencil art combined with Bouguereau.  As you can see, as long as I practice and push my ability, my art has evolved with pencil.

Do you have a favorite PoseSpace.com model?

If I had to choose a favorite Posespace model, it would be Saju and Sarahann.  They appear to be tall and proportioned to how I would like to see my character, Allu.

What life experiences have influenced your work?

I think I live a very interesting life.  A lot of what I get to see influences my artwork from real life to museums.  If you scroll through my Instagram account, you may notice that I primarily sketch/paint female characters.  This comes from my love and respect for women and not what some might think. I believe the female anatomy is one of the hardest to sketch in realist form.  The way movement and gravity affects the fluidity of women’s anatomical parts is one of God’s greatest designs.

Tell us one thing you thought you knew, that it later turned out you were wrong about

Oh if I could only be right half the time…

Davey Edwards’ instagram: https://www.instagram.com/doubledaggie/

Interview by Andrea Miliani

Interview with Dennis Young

“It is inherently satisfying to reproduce on paper or canvas a likeness of a human soul that engages the emotion and the concerto of effects and highlights of the human form”

Dennis Young is a self-taught artist located in New Castle, Delaware. He worked in healthcare for many years but now he is a full-time artist. Around twelve years ago, he decided to paint again and remembered how much he enjoyed doing this. Figurative art that captures moments—cityscapes, facial expressions, experiences, landscapes— became his new passion.

Recently, Young opened his own gallery where he exhibits his beautiful oil and pastel paintings. He specializes in plein air art and has earned many awards in this field. During winter, he takes refuge in his studio and works on portraits and human figures.

Dennis Young’s business card featuring painting
 of model Jenni (image shared by artist)

In this Q&A painter Dennis Young shares with PoseSpace how he became a doctor and an artist, his regrets and satisfactions, advice for students or artists interested in plein air painting, and more:

When did you first know you wanted to become an artist?

At the end of my last semester in Pre-Med in college I opted for a studio drawing elective where I drew assignments in charcoal on newsprint. My instructor set me aside from the rest of the class to work independently. I also drew faces from photos and that really pleased me. But I had intended to become a doctor since ninth grade and art did not figure into that. During the first two summers at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, I went out into the countryside in Wilmington and painted landscapes that would take me weeks to complete. I had never heard of “plein air painting” and I had no instruction. I still loved to paint faces and did so back at home. When I started a private practice in psychiatry and started a family with my wife, Teresa, I put away the paints for the next 30 years and didn’t think about them. Now that’s a HUGE regret. I stumbled upon a notice in the local paper for an introductory watercolor class and tried it. Then it all came back to me. For about the last dozen years or so I have been trying to make up for that lost time and think about how much farther along I would be in my artwork if I had just peeked out an hour a week back then to paint and draw.

Why figurative art?

I am drawn to paint the human figure and especially the face and the eyes. It is inherently satisfying to reproduce on paper or canvas a likeness of a human soul that engages the emotion and the concerto of effects and highlights of the human form… the light and shadows, the warmth and coolness, the form and subtleties. Sort of Pygmalion-like, I look forward in the mornings to visiting the easel and gazing (critically) upon the developing form on the easel where only days before there were only a few unintelligible paint marks on the canvas.

Can you tell us about the process of making your work? How do you decide when to work in your studio and when to work outside?

I especially enjoy painting outside and being engaged as part of that subject. I like to paint where people are and to interact with the curious. I have even dressed in pirate costume and painted Delaware’s tall ship, the Kalmar Nyckel. The difference between painting inside and outside is analogous to listening to a concert on the stereo and being at a live performance. I do not paint outside in the winter months and my studio is my favored activity where I paint from photos in travel and also my portraits and figures from live models but especially from the PoseSpace site. That is a joy that justifies winters for me.

I begin the painting of the form directly with lightly sketching in thinned oils and then block in colors and focusing on getting my facial proportions right. I establish highlights and put a lot of focus on the eyes. I suppose my 40 years of office consultations where I would listen and look directly into the eyes and facial expressions of people have influenced my gravitation to perceptions of facial nuances.

(images shared by artist)

Do you have a favorite PoseSpace.com model?

I have several PoseSpace models I gravitate to but the one I have painted the most is Jenni. She has brought me awards and she graces my business card. She garners the most comments in my newly opened gallery, Mo’zArt. That’s the gallery I have opened in Old New Castle, DE after having retired from medicine.

Do you have any shows or activities on the horizon that you’d like to tell our readers about?

I have participated in quite a few competitions and shows in the past ten years and I will be in more this year but the highlight of my artistic ambitions has been to open my own gallery a year ago in the center of the charming historic town of New Castle, Delaware. I exclusively hang my own work. Though I am not making a profit from sales I am having a blast. I host Fourth Friday Art Loops there where residents and tourist come and enjoy the art, good conversation, wine and live (in warm months) music. My current show for February and March is exclusively the form and portrait, “Clothing Optional”.

What advice would you give to young artists regarding plein air painting?

I would advise someone new to plein air painting to make every opportunity to go out and paint, even if in solitary circumstances. One reason is to soak up the experience of being out in the aforementioned live “concert”. Another is to attempt to see nature as the instructor who will show color in shadows or who will give a critique about painting what you SEE rather than what you KNOW. This is an opportunity to get your mistakes out of the way and to feel good about some beauty you’ve created been if you hadn’t planned it. You will surprise yourself one day with some real gem you’ve painted and that will come with practice.

What’s been your greatest artistic success?

I am still awaiting my greatest artistic success which may forever elude me. That would be winning a significant award in a major plein air competition. Otherwise my cherished successes has been the satisfaction of seeing the emotional reaction in people to whom I have delivered a commissioned painting. Even when I wasn’t so satisfied with the painting myself!

Dennis Young’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dyoungarts

Website: www.dennisyoungarts.com

Interview by Andrea Miliani