2. Like a ton of incredible illustrators, you choose to go to Art Center in Pasadena for illustration (Sooooo LA). Why did you choose Art Center and what is the biggest thing you learned while studying there?
Art Center and I sort of met by accident. I was supposed to be in LA to tour Otis but I got there a few hours too early for their tour so I headed up to Art Center and was floored, I mean come on, they had the Clayton Brothers in their catalog. I had also checked out MICA and RISD and I don't know Art Center seemed like the perfect fit. Besides, I had heard stories about how many kids drop out after the first term and that you had to draw 100s of strangers for a single class, so it sounded like a wonderful challenge! The biggest thing I learned there was that it's never cool to just be comfortable with what you know, but it's better to have a bag full of tricks you're constantly adding to and to always push yourself to do new and different things with each piece you create.
3. You lived in Brooklyn not long after graduating from undergrad and then moved back to the south west a year later. What was most beneficial for you at the time for moving to the east coast and what do you miss now that your not in Brooklyn other than not being able to quote the Beastie Boys everytime you went home on the subway?
Actualllllly I lived way way way downtown in the Financial District, right above the J&R actually! The main factor for moving to NY was basically the same as most folks, I wanted to launch my career (if you can make it here you can make it anywhere *add a dick masturbating hand motion*) no but yeah, that was the main factor. Besides, I had lived on the west coast my entire life and was a little sick of the sun. But now I definitely do not miss snow or humidity.
4. When I was in undergrad, all of my teachers yammered on about how none of us would make money if we didn't work in full color. YET, 95% of your client work is strictly black and white and the other 5% is one to three spot colors. What is it that you think makes your work appealing to Art directors to just use your black and white drawings?
I worked with a very smart guy named Frank DeRose when I was in NY, the most important thing I took away from that experience was that I need to do me 100% of the time, and that while not everyone will appreciate that, the ones who do appreciate it will be my biggest supporters. So with that being said, I think the ones who are hiring me are personal fans of my work and that they want me to do me. And part of me doing me is either it's completely black and white or a single spot color. I'm being hired because they know I know what I'm doing and trust me to make something they'll like.
5. This sort of relates to the previous question but alot of your illustrations are either straight up portraits or vignette still lives/conceptual still lives. Why is it that you choose not to draw backgrounds?
Sometimes I think they're way too distracting and never nearly as impressive than whatever is in the foreground, so what's the point in having one then? I'm more about making statements than scenes.
6. Boston Terrier or Pug? In and Out Burger or Shake Shack? LA or NYC?
Neither, In and Out, NYC
7. What got you into making zines?
Mark Todd and Esther Pearl Watson, and I was already way into making big screenprints so it was a kind of natural progression! Plus I think someone is more likely to hold onto and appreciate a hand pulled zine v a mass produced lazorrr printed postcard, so I did it a lot at first for the promo aspect too.
8. I know that your a pretty avid biker. Do you ever do biking marathons or run marathons at all?
I hate running and I've thought about bike racing, but I do it more for shits and giggles. Come on, I'm an artist I have never been athletic my whole life!
9. Why do you love to draw hair?
I can zone outtttttttttt, and I'm a bit like a squirrel, shiny things excite me. Nothing better than a pile of shiny, greasy hair.
10. Inkers typically have a particular brush and ink they use that they prefer. Nathan Fox uses a Winsor Newton Series 7 brush and speed ball ink, Yuko uses Japanese sumi brushes and Dr. Martins black magic. What do you use?
I use a Kaimei Japanese brush pen, and then just whatever ball bearing cartridges are made for it (it's all in Japanese?). I'm quick and dirty when I work so ink and brushes and I don't get along very well. But I do love me some Black Magic for large flats!
11. Do you have any advice for the young illustrators who are just getting started in the field?
DO YOU, NOT WHAT'S COOL (that goes for you too graphic designers!)
12. Any advice for the Vets?
Never get too comfortable? (my one year old career doesn't like doling out advice to vets hahaha)
13. Final Word?
All of the work is under copy right by Kelsey Dake.
To see more of Kelseys work check out: Kelseydake.com