JUNE 7TH // OKLAHOMA ILLUSTRATORS

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Featured in our gallery for the month of June are OKC illustrators Arjan Jager, Jeff Sparks, and Greg White.

Join us Thursday, June 7th from 6-9pm for the Exhibition Opening and Artist Reception. Or join us the following night for our opening during the 2nd Friday Live on the Plaza from 6-10pm.

Learn more about these artists at:
https://www.instagram.com/orangeurbandesign/
https://www.instagram.com/jeff__sparks/
https://www.instagram.com/tightywhite/

Exhibition Opening: Thursday, June 7th // 6pm-9pm
LIVE On The Plaza: Friday, June 8th // 6pm-10pm
Exhibit Runs June 7th - July 8th

 

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GREG WHITE //


What is your medium and process?

I work in multiple mediums. For example, my Oklahoma series constitutes a mix of screen prints and digital prints, while my other paintings are acrylic or latex paint on wood or canvas. I begin all of my work as a digital sketch, refining the composition and color scheme until I'm ready to either have it printed digitally, transferred to silk screens for screen prints, or used as reference for hand-painted pieces.

Where are you from?

I'm from Bethany.

How did you get started?

I've been doing art for as long as I can remember. I was enrolled in art and oil-painting classes at an early age, studied graphic design and art in college, and continued to develop my skills as a book illustrator at a publishing company before exploring commercial art.

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How would you describe your latest body of work?

Though I'm submitting pieces from two separate series, a common stylistic theme is my use of extreme color for emotional impact. For my Oklahoma pieces, it's about taking the everyday landmarks that we may take for granted and using color and composition to elevate them to a kind of fantasy. My other paintings take that fantasy element to an extreme, combining surreal or fantastical imagery with bright neon or saturated color schemes. My aim is to elicit a greater sense of joy or drama from the viewer.

What inspires you?

I'm inspired by music. My fantasy paintings, for example, were all conceived and painted while listening to indie pop or classical music. Different art eras inspire me a lot too, particularly art nouveau, art deco, and even mid-century advertising and comic books.

What is one of your favorite pieces of art, film, or literature?

I'm in love with the films of Guillermo Del Toro. His use of color, his mix of fantasy and realism, and the themes he injects into his films inspire me. I'm also obsessed with the works of Igor Stravinsky. He was a true visionary. I listen to "The Rite of Spring" and "The Firebird" a lot when I'm developing ideas for art pieces. I hear new things every time I listen to them, and they never lose their allure for me.

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What are your goals for the future?

My goal is to develop my illustration business alongside my art career. I would love to do gallery pieces full time someday, but I also love collaborating with others, so becoming a full time illustrator and commercial artist with the ability to develop more consistent output is the dream for me.

What advice do you have to artists?

My advice to other artists is to just keep working at your craft. Never stop exploring new mediums and never stop pushing yourself to do better. Don't be afraid to put your work in front of an audience, and don't be afraid of constructive criticism. Stay true to who you are as an artist, expressing your unique viewpoint. If you fail to do that, the world will be missing out and your passion for art won't sustain itself.

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JEFF SPARKS //

What is your medium and process?

In theory I start with a general idea and then sketch with pencil. Once I have an image I am okay with I will move on to inking. Although I usually get ahead of myself and start working with the ink before I have a full image mapped out. It doesn't always work out for the best but I get lots of practice altering an image midway through. Most of the time, regardless of what the original plan or sketch was, things change as I am going anyway.

Where are you from?

Oklahoma.

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How did you get started?

There isn't a specific point or event that got me started, it's something that I have always done.

How would you describe your latest body of work?

Skulls and kitties per the usual.
The imagery isn't dramatically different from past works but I am practicing with and getting more involved in line-work and hatching, whereas my past work has mostly been stippling. The stippling is still in there, I am just combining the styles and trying to develop some more traditional illustration work.
I started working on some images and layout for a tarot deck, of which a few pieces are included in the current show, but it is going to be a while before that is complete so I won't speculate on a date for that. Plus, I get distracted by drawing unrelated pictures of kitties and skulls.

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What inspires you?

I like to keep up with a the work of a few contemporary visual artists and illustrators as well as returning to favorites like Berni Wrightson, Virgil Finlay, Richard Corben, Arthur Rackham, etc. It can sometimes feel overwhelming when looking at the greatness they have achieved, but it is good to stay humbled and have their accomplishments in which to aspire.
In terms of process I have a fairly specific ritual that I like to perform whenever I go to the drawing table to work in earnest. It involves transformation of the environment, primarily through elimination of light beyond the necessary, and surrounding myself with images, books, and sounds from which I draw creative energy as well as practically using the material for cues and reference. The major component in attaining the proper inspirational atmosphere is the sound/music, of which most frequently I employ Nordvargr, Current 93, Arktau Eos, Sphiroth, Emptiness… if I am feeling more upbeat I might throw on some Youth Code or Nitzer Ebb.

What is one of your favorite pieces of art, film, or literature?

À rebours the novel by Joris-Karl Huysmans is an absolute all-time favorite.

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What are your goals for the future?

I want to complete and publish the aforementioned tarot deck. Additionally, I have been planning a fully illustrated Key of Solomon for the past decade and a half. So, I want to make that a reality.

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What advice do you have to artists?

Try not to judge yourself or your work too harshly in comparison to other artists and their successes.
Play with cats, they're good people. You should probably ignore most everyone else.

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ARJAN JAGER //

What is your medium and process?

I mostly use micron and sharpie pens on paper, but also have made a piece on canvas and another on a coffee to-go cup.
I always start the design process with finding or creating a place where I can focus. This is sometimes a quiet terrace downtown, but mostly I clean up the large table at home and make a coffee. Then I basically think about striking or interesting urban scenes I have seen lately, and see which one choose to draw. First I have to find the right composition and often I take a break and let it all sink in. The final part is deciding what patterns, details and negative spaces are needed. These elements are key to add a happy, gloomy, relaxing or another emotion to my illustration.
 
Where are you from?

The Netherlands. I lived for three years in San Francisco before moving to OKC in 2015.

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How did you get started?

Hand drawn illustrations have always been an important part of my work as an urban designer, but it wasn't until I read about Inktober, the challenge to do one ink drawing a day the entire month. I decided to give it a try. It was just very relaxing to draw, but also exciting to see illustrations slowly come together on the paper in front of me. My friends' were excited about my work and I decided to continue making illustrations and exploring what more I could do with it.

How would you describe your latest body of work?

I experience cities and landscapes as an endless collection of movie scenes. I walk, bike or drive through them and observe. With my latest illustrations, I try to capture those scenes in simple drawings. I work mostly with simple black lines and abstract patterns. A few black lines should narrow down the essence of an urban scene, while the patterns and negative spaces bring a certain focus or dynamic to the illustration. I hope that the eyes of those who see my work will move through my illustration as if moving through a city, with changing perspectives, different emotions and discoveries.

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What inspires you?

Moving through a city or landscape. I enjoy just looking around when I walk, cycle or drive. There are always surprising moments when I suddenly see a fantastic combination of historic and new homes, skylines covered in fog, tall and proud standing trees on hills, or mind-blowing cloud configurations. All these images come back sooner or later in my illustrations, often as a fusion of beautiful moments.
 
What is one of your favorite pieces of art, film, or literature?

I love Lurie Garden in Chicago by Piet Oudolf. It feels like walking through a living painting, no matter what season it is. Winter Park by Christoph Niemann and Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh are incredible art pieces.
 

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What are your goals for the future?

I would like to experiment more with making illustrations on different materials and objects. Recently I teamed up with Clarity Coffee and I developed the concept and designed the first artwork for on their coffee to-go cup. We had so much fun. It would be great to do more collaboration projects, explore together and see where it will go.

What advice do you have to artists?

Keep exploring. Keep doing what you enjoy most, but also explore the unknown, make mistakes, ask for advise, talk with others about it and improve. And don't forget to enjoy the never-ending learning process, which probably will be full of great surprises and experiences. Of course only if you go explore.

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