Skye Walker is a graphic designer and fine artist that lives in Cardiff, CA. At the age of nine Skye decided that he wanted to be an artist while drawing a picture of Garfield the cat. Skye believes that collaborating is one of the most important things you can do as an artist, and has turned many of his collaborations into lasting friendships. Now for our exclusive interview.
What city do you call home?
Surfing vs body surfing?
Surfing will always be my first love. But I’ve been stoked on body surfing lately, it’s such a different feeling than surfing – but still the same. Shaped myself a hand plane and you don’t have to fight for waves, it’s a great workout and you get barreled all the time.
How long have you been an artist and when did you decide to turn art into your profession?
I started drawing as soon as I could hold a crayon. I kept some of my old notebooks from school because I had more drawings than school notes in them. I decided one day when I was nine years old, while I was drawing Garfield the cat, that I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. At the time, I didn’t think about making a career out of it, I just knew I wanted to draw and create, and that’s it.
Graphic design vs painting?
They both have their unique qualities. You can express yourself more freely, I believe, in painting and move color around with a brush, and create in a very organic way that cannot be duplicated on the computer. I thoroughly enjoy graphic design, creating interesting design solutions on the computer and the clean, precise nature in which things can be executed. I feel that they compliment and feed off one another. As you create a painting, there is a design to it, be it raw and organic or premeditated and complicated. And the same goes for design, it has to start with a sketch that is rough and somewhat raw, then eventually is refined. With paintings, it takes time to craft and create, with design, especially these days, it’s almost instant gratification, copy and paste, command Z. But in the end – as long as it looks good and makes people think or feel inspired, whether it’s on canvas or a printout – then it doesn’t matter, the important thing is that you are creating art.
What fuels your creativity?
The obvious stuff, nature, surfing, music, the ladies, love of art etc. Other artists inspire me – the graffiti artist The Mac does massive murals of people’s faces, usually women, and everything he does is sick. It’s at such a large scale that you can’t help but be enveloped by his work. That’s something to strive for in my opinion, doing art so great that people get lost in it when they look at it. I was just at the MoMa in New York and I forgot how impressive it is to stand in front of an original Picasso, Piet Mondrian or a Marcel Duchamp…you really feel humbled and inspired after seeing the masters original works.
How do you overcome creative blocks?
Getting out of my work space and back into nature- going for a surf always helps. So does traveling. I was recently in New York for a week and it was really inspirational. There is so much art and culture there it’s insane. It made me forget about my art and my creative blocks and just focus on where I was, the art, people and images I was seeing and I just soaked it up like a sponge.
Do you feel that collaborating with other artists is important?
Collaborating is one of the most important things you can do as an artist. If you stay inside your little art bubble and don’t collaborate or discuss art with others, then you will never grow. Some of the best times I’ve had have been doing collaborative art shows with other artists that are now some of my best friends. It’s also good to get a dialogue going about art, praise it, debate it, hate it, love it, lament over it…gets the brain going in new directions.
What goals do you have for the next few years?
I’d like to work on some paintings that I can spend a few months on. A lot of work I’ve done in the past 2 years has been put together quickly, even though it was inspired and fun, I would like to find the time to really craft some beautiful pieces and not be pressed for time. I just visited my friend Tony May who is getting his MFA at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY – and he’s been able to focus solely on his paintings and sculptures – while he has had deadlines, he could still take lots of time to really focus on the work at hand and his work is amazing. That’s what I need – some serious time in front of a canvas with my paints and a sketchbook of fresh ideas.
Do you have any advice for future artists that want to make a career out of their art?
Write down exactly what you want to see happen with your career in your sketch book or journal, focus on it in the back of your mind and eventually, those ideas will manifest. Maybe not the way you think, but they will happen in different and unexpected ways. Some better than others. I’ve become a big fan of manifesting things lately, and it seems to work. Also, stay focused on your goals. Don’t let anyone deter you. You’ll need to be a bit unattached to your work as well. People will like it and others will hate it and you just need to let it roll off your back because you have goals you want to reach and you don’t need anything standing in your way especially nonconstructive criticism because in the end, it’s your life and career and if you take one off comment the wrong way – it could kill your creativity. I had a painting teacher in college bum me out my senior year and I didn’t do a painting for five years because of what she said. Basically, don’t be too sensitive.
Projects planed for 2011?
Got some stuff in the works…really want to do some more collaborative art shows. I’d love to do a large installation show in a warehouse or something with a bunch of artists and really make something awesome. I’m working on manifesting that right now. Oh yeah, and travel as much as possible.
Anything else you’d like the world to know about Skye Walker?
I grew up in a family band called The EarthWalkers. We traveled all over the USA for about 3 years in the early 1990s and we performed for schools and stressed the importance of saving the planet to kids. So, I’m working with my family on putting together the materials to possibly do a film documentary about it. So, if you are wondering where I got my name, well, my parents were hippies…but they are also amazing parents and showed my sister and I the value of family, travel, music, art and doing our best to help the planet as we grew up. We started a blog, it has a ways to go, but we’re just getting it going.
Hope you enjoyed our interview with Skye Walker. Make sure to stop by iamskyewalker.com to check out his latest work and follow his blog.