Wednesday, October 7, 2009

THE INSIDER-Model/Artist Joseph Culp

What you didn't know...

The Artistic World of Joseph Culp



Full Name: Joseph Culp

Age: 21

Homebase: NYC

How long have you been modeling: 2 1/2 years

1. When did your love for illustrating began?

From a young age really, my sister would read Dinotopia and I'd look at the pictures, but I really got into it around the end of freshman year in high school.

2. Who are some of your favorite artists that you are heavily influenced by?

Craig Mullins, John Singer Sargent, John Harris, Jaime Jones, Frank Frazetta, James Gurney, Richard Schmid, Frederick Church and Glenn Vilppu-the list goes on and on. Maybe in 70 years of constant work I can be half as good as any one of them.

3. Do you recall your very first drawing that you did that you love? What was the subject matter?

I drew a pretty awesome picture of a Saturn-V rocket lifting off when I was in second grade.

4. There's a dream-like, narrative quality to your work. The artworks are mainly consist of abstract, sci-fi fantasy and video games imagery. Are they purely from your imagination/dreams or are they based loosely on existing characters or fictional events?

Both, I just draw what I have fun drawing, sometimes its direct observation, sometimes its more narrative—just whatever is fun and evokes a feeling!

5. How often do you draw? What medium do you use to create your artwork? How big do your drawings tend to be?

I try to draw as often as possible, and want to draw more and more. Most of what I've done has been digital, painted in PS or in Painter, really getting into acrylics/charcoal lately though, real paint is the best way to learn (I have some gouache laying around here too, it needs a try). Most of the digital ones get painted big (3000 pixels usually) and scaled down, with acrylic I paint smaller cause I'm still getting the hang of it, and want to focus on the big value shapes rather than get swallowed up in detail noodling.

6. Most artistic works tends to be quite autobiographical or semi-biographical, could you share with us some of your thought process behind some of your favorite artworks? Why are they more special to you than others?

I think I try to live through all of them really, like pretend I'm there vicariously or something, but some I do better than others and those are the ones where I'm having fun. The most recent painting I did was of a big blue building set in some city, I kept thinking of Seoul or Tokyo, as those are some of my favorite places I've been. Painting is a visual language, and the best works communicate a desired thought or feeling from painter to viewer...I'm still learning this, will probably take 50 more years before I know what I'm saying!

7. It was fun spending an afternoon photographing you and seeing your artwork. We also had the pleasure of meeting your beautiful girlfriend, Hannah as well. She is featured in your drawings quite often. How does "falling in love" affected you and your artwork? Are we going to see a different side to your 'inner world of art'?

Falling in love is great for my artwork because the more love, the better the art. For it to really work you have to love painting and love the subject, so it works out that I'm in love! (especially if I paint a picture of Hannah) I think we see a different side of my 'inner world of art' everyday, since I really don't know what I'm doing!

8. If a book publisher will gave you an opportunity to create/illustrate an original concept for a illustrated fantasy book, could you give us a possible synopsis for it? What would the illustrated book be about? What would be the title for your illustrated fantasy book?

Since I suck at writing the book will be doomed! But I think I would do a book on the workings and ways of some massive futuristic city, cause that would be fun to explore. I like to walk around New York and try to amp up the visuals in my brain, make stuff more appealing based on sounds and designs...Usually I end up seeing things alot bigger and grander, lots of dust clouds and lava in the subway. As for the title? Can't come up with anything that doesn't sound too cliche!

9. You use a combination of mixed media and digital technology in your artwork. How would you like to envision the future for artists? Will artists still be creating paintings with canvases or do you see a revolution in the ways artists will interpret art?

Well, I think the camera changed things when it came along, and the way people express their artistic impulse is always changing for different reasons. I think if people keep having fun, learning, and creating we will all be just fine, no matter how we do it. I think people just don't want art to be lazy and easy to achieve, they want it to be a struggle. Usually the struggle is about not understanding though, instead of it just being hard to put paint on. Real paintings will always hold great value though, they are awesome.

10. We have to cover some questions regarding modeling but with a twist: How would you like to see changes be made to the wonderful world of modeling in terms of runway and presentation?

I think lots of changes could be made, but it's all about $$$. Wouldn't it be cool to have robot models? Or venues that are more interesting and interactive with the guests? I don't know how, mind you, but fashion, while based in the clothing, is about more than just clothing. I think clothing represents lifestyle (a second skin) and the venues could be amped up to reflect that...somehow.

11. You have been modeling for a number of seasons now. What do you enjoy the most about your profession now with all that you know?

The chance to adventure and explore, meeting interesting characters along the way. I don't remember many shoots or shows, but I remember vividly all the traveling and adventuring involved with going to new cities and countries.

12. What would be the highlight, as a model, to date? Which modeling project you have done would you say is as close to getting the same satisfaction from creating your artwork?

Probably this! That's cheating though since it involves the artwork...hmm, its hard to say since modeling isn't such a creative job (everyone else on set is being creative though). I enjoy many jobs, have a lot of fun, but it just can't compete with the joy I get from painting!

Bonus Question: What's your motto in life?

"Do your best!" also "Work hard. Play hard. Eat hard."

My best friend enlightened me with that second one.


1 I like how this one turned out because I like a peaceful night, this was when I first started thinking about the big shapes being so important as well, and it ended up coming together nicely.
2 This character is based on my favorite little legoman I played with as a kid (still am a kid I guess). Yes, it's the ice explorer dude with the transparent orange chainsaw, pretty self explanatory why that's awesome. Its my dream to get paid thinking about such things.
3 This is a scene where two armies are facing off, one side civilized, knightly guys and the other a horde of evil barbaric conquerors. I guess the bad guys aren't doing too well cause why would they be having peace talks?
4 This is the city-scene mentioned in a question earlier, I was thinking of some of those awesome Asian cities, and Blade Runner also (did I mention I love Syd Mead?). So this is what ended up on the canvas.

IMAGES: Sebastian
TEXT EDITOR: Jonathan Shia
Special thanks to Jody Gordon and Fusion for their help and support.
To Hannah Lee for being there for Joseph.

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