We are super excited to have burgeoning illustrator Pac23 on board as our Creative Profile this month. Hailing from Miami Florida, Pac possesses a talent you can’t help but wish was your own. Oozing with attitude, finesse, and a staggering level of technical proficiency, Pac23’s delightful illustrations evoke an overriding sense of imagination, intrigue and sinuous execution.
Where did you grow up and where do you live and work now?
I grew up in South America. I lived in Colombia until I was 13 years old, then my family decided to move to the States. I currently live in Miami, Florida and work as the studio illustrator for an advertising agency and a freelance illustrator on the side.
Can you tell us a little bit about your creative background and how you got to be where you are in your career today?
My grandparents used to live in New York when I was younger, which is where I would spend every summer. The imagery and culture surrounding me while I was there was enough to make me want to become an artist. It’s something that definitely runs in the family too. My sister is a graphic designer and both my parents are really good at drawing. Even my 5 year-old niece spends the entire day drawing on her easel and is starting to make her own little comic strips now. My family has always supported me and even though I didn’t finish college, I’ve been lucky enough to make a name for myself. I started to get noticed when I first began posting my work on Deviantart around 8 years ago along with joining draw-offs on several art community forums. I created my own portfolio site a couple of years ago and that has helped my career tremendously. I get a lot more offers now than I ever did with just an art community site.
What motivates you?
Video games, comic books and cartoons served as a catalyst in my decision to become an illustrator and are some of the main sources of inspiration until this day. My family, girlfriend and close friends always serve as motivation to try and impress them. Having a favorite artist who has made it big also helps. I’ve been following James Jean’s work for years now and hope to one day be on a similar level as him.
How would you describe your style of work and what do you feel inspires your approach to design?
I really don’t like to put my art in a certain genre or call it anything in particular. I feel like I blend certain styles together like urban and comic book with a bit of realism. Most of what I do is based on self satisfaction to a certain degree. I like to draw things that I find cool and the subject matter is usually channeling my inner child. I like it to be fun and I want the viewer to see that in my art.
Best and worst thing about being a freelance designer?
Freelancing is like a double-edged sword. There are times that you need to pull all-nighters because you have too much work going on. There are times that you sleep all the time because you got nothing to do. Good months just have work pouring in and piling up while there are times you’re looking for work with no luck. Having a 9-5 as back up is necessary at times since a steady paycheck takes care of the bills. Ideally, being a full time freelancer is the ultimate goal since you’re your own boss and have the freedom to take only the jobs that you want.
What was the last time a project wasn’t going the way you intended? What did you do to turn the situation around?
The best thing to do in a situation like that is starting over or suggesting some sort of change. If there are too many corrections or comments coming from a client, suggesting a new idea/approach to the project is usually a good way to get the job done right. Even if they don’t agree, you can always try finding a happy medium along with better work from your part.
What was the last illustration you produced where you surprised yourself and talk us through why the final outcome exceeded your expectations.
There is this personal illustration that I worked on a few months ago that started as a vague idea and just kind of ended up being one of my favorites. It’s a drawing of a little kid finger painting on a tree. It’s kind of a recurring theme that will eventually become a series. This particular piece ended up having great harmony between all the elements in it. The kid is drawn in a different style with bright colors and sharp cuts while the rest of the piece has a soft feel to it. The texture used on the tree also adds a lot of character by making it the main focal point. To me, it seems almost like a screen cap from an animation and I can almost see it moving.
Do you have a particular type of music you like to work to? What was the last album you bought?
I’m constantly listening to music while I work on stuff. From indie rock, to jazz, to underground hip-hop. The latest album I got was 13 & God – ‘Own Your Ghost’.
What are you currently working on?
A t-shirt design for Nike. It’s a really fun project and it involves an astronaut, so it’s right up my alley. Also working on an illustration for Wired Magazine along with some character designs for a toy company.
If Doc Emmett Brown could program the DeLorean to take you back in time for a period of 24hrs, when would it be and why?
I would like to go back to a live design contest I was part of back in ’05. I don’t think I was ready at the time and lost in the semifinal. It’s an annual contest called Cut&Paste, and I was part of the first one they held in NYC. I would like to redo my designs while taking advantage of the Wacom Cintiqs we had for the contest. I wouldn’t mind losing in the semifinal again since the guy I went up against was an awesome designer, but I wasn’t happy with the stuff I turned in. I would also steal the flux capacitor from the DeLorean.
Is there a specific area in design you feel you would like to explore more to expand your skills?
I would like to try out 3D some time. I’ve seen it being incorporated with 2D illustrations and it looks amazing. Nothing too overwhelming, more of a subtle use of it. I think it would add a little extra ‘oomph’ to my work.
What does the rest of 2011 have install for Pac23?
I want to shed more light on a graphic novel that I’ve been working on with a friend, but it’s still in the conceptual stage at this point. Also keeping my fingers crossed for an art show during Art Basel later this year.
Be sure to check out the rest of Pac23′s work here.