Wondrous science fiction cityscapes? Alien creatures? Magical realms? These are just part of a day's work for concept artist Eve Skylar. Eve will be doing a live art demonstration at the Issue #22 Release Party, going down Friday, March 18 at 6 pm. She spoke to me over the phone about her work.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I'm a concept artist for film, games, and animation. I'm an artist and an activist. Right now I just finished a contract for Unicorn Studios.
You work in design and animation. Was it hard to get into that business?
I'm not quite sure what you mean by "hard." I think "hard" is a fairly relative term. Things have changed a lot so that artists have more access for their art to be seen now. They can have portfolios online, they can have networks and collaborations from all over the world. So in that way it's gotten easier but at the same time there are a lot of gatekeepers to the industry. So I guess it depends.
I think I'm really lucky because I like to do what I'm doing; I like painting and drawing so I guess it's not that hard. [laughs]
What kind of activism do you do?
I mainly work with the Asian American community and also with women. When I was at UC Berkeley I directed "The Vagina Monologues".
Your work has a lot of sci-fi and fantasy. Are you interested in those genres outside of your professional work?
Yeah, definitely. I think I was lucky as I was growing up. Technology was changing rapidly as far as animation and film. It was the first time we saw dinosaurs walk on screen with Jurassic Park and even 3D animation evolved. Star Wars was really big in high school. I was definitely influenced by that genre and apart from that I'm a really curious person so I tend to research everything. If they ask for a design of New York, I look at the architecture, the fashion. So definitely I think because I'm curious … exploration plays a lot into my art.
How do you get started on one of your pieces? Where do you get inspiration from?
I think a lot of my inspiration comes form my own personal experience. Even though a lot of the artwork seems fantastical, it's very grounded in real emotions and real experience that is very personal to me. I'm very much inspired by the things I see as I walk about my daily life and also things I see that are happening right now in this culture, especially in film and animation that is so prevalent.
Is there a particular medium you prefer working in?
Right now I like to experiment a lot, especially in my personal work. I tend to cross the different mediums, because they're very interrelated. Painting can turn into 3D sculpture. But in terms of my work for animation and design, I usually use this paint … it's like poster paint but it's from Japan, it's what the animators used to do their backgrounds in.
Do you do contemporary art outside of your freelance work?
I do. I dabble in my own stop-motion films. Right now I'm preparing for a gallery that I'm collaborating with in June. So I do a lot of paintings on the side and at the same time I'm also collaborating with a lot of artists from around the world to create short animations. I also have a split-show with Rick Kitagawa at OZ Gallery in the [San Francisco] Mission [District].
You're going to do a live art demonstration for the release party. Can you tell us a little of what you have in store for us?
Sure! I will definitely have an easel set up and I'll start with a blank canvas, completely new. And I will probably have acrylic and also my animation poster paint. I'm not quite sure what the piece will be but it will definitely have something to do with the themes of resilience and peace. This artwork will later be donated to the post-event raffle to help with the Japan relief fund.