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"500-600 bad mistakes to find the way..." - Pascal Campion (interview)

TH & Stary Van Dam Starry

Among today's artists you can find a lot of different techniques, types, emotions or messages.

Recently we have done an interview with Dan May - author of sad and mysterious "gentle creatures". Today we have something completely different... Let us invite you to emotional, intense and positive art from Pascal Campion!

Neso Art: What's the country of your origin and where do you live right now ?

Pascal Campion:  I was born in the states, but grew up in France from the age of 2 years old. I moved back to the states when I was 26 and now live in the bay area, in California. 

Neso:  Do you think, place you currently live affects on the way you create your art ?

Pascal:  I do think where you live affects the type of art you do..or at least, it does for me. I draw a lot from what I see and experience around me... the light, the climate, the landscape.. of course, I also use my imagination and my past experiences, but more often than not, I base my images of the area around me.

Neso: Do you like the place you live in ?

Pascal: I love it!

Neso: What do you like the most ?

Pascal:  This area is wonderful.. it's sunny, but foggy as well( San Francisco is very foggy)
Some beaches around here are very brightly lit, and some( my favorites) are always in this kind of misty, greyish but bright fog.. it's not grey on grey.. there is always this terrific light that comes through and gives everything an unbelievable glow.
We have mountains to go skying not very far, and Los Angeles, the hot weather a few hours south.
My wife grew up here so we have a large community of friends and family.. it's an amazing place to be.
AND it's also where the silicon valley tech industry is, and a lot of artists and animation companies are around here, so the feeling in the area is quite fantastic.
I think what I like most about it is how easy it is for me to take the kids to the park anytime of the year.. life here is easy... not cheap, but easy.

Neso: What or Who inspieres you the most?

Pascal: My wife, my children, my family.

Neso: Do you listen to music while you work?

Pascal:  Sometimes yes, sometimes no.
When I do listen to music, I'll listen to something that fits my mood.. sometimes it's very energetic stuff, sometimes it's love songs, sometimes I listen to podcast( my favorite is Sidebar.. I just love the interviews they do)..and sometimes I don't listen to anything.

Neso: What kind of music do you like the most ?

Pascal:  I'll listen to country , pop, classic, Jazz, R&B all in one day sometimes...and some days I'll replay the same two or three songs a hundred times.

It just depends on my mood and also on what I am working. If I do animation..I usually don't have music going on.

Neso: I got to admit that your art is filled by positive energy and feelings. Is there any particular reason you decided to expose that feelings ?

Pascal: hmm.. I was going to say that it started with my daughter's birth.. but that's not totally true. When she was born, my art became more sentimental and got even more so when my boys came along..but even before that, my art was very happy..very energetic, happy animals bouncing around.
I am not sure why that is actually... I could say it is because I am a happy person, but that's not true...or at least no more true than for anybody else.
I am happy at times, and sad at others.. I get angry and I get sappy, I get tired and sometimes I just can't sit down because I have so much energy...

Drawing is an amazing ability for me.. I wasn't a very good artist growing up( I was actually terrible... and I am not joking.. my sixth grade teacher told me I should never pursue a career in art because I was just awful at it).
I feel I came a long way from when I started and I still feel like I am learning a lot. Maybe not in the actual drawing bit part, but in some other areas.
I do remember when I started doing daily sketches feeling like I could create anything and it was such a thrill to put down on paper all these imaginary worlds.
Now, the focus has shifted a little.. I still love the drawing part, but I am more interested in finding ways of expressing emotions, and how deep I can make these be.
It's a pretty different way of doing things from when I started out.. and this is where I see my shortcomings in drawing. Sometimes I feel like I am just not "there" yet ... not able to express the feelings I want to put out, but the more I try, the more I find these little ways to get better at it. The funny thing is .. it usually takes me five or six hundred bad mistakes to find my way...  

Neso: "Do you find that your work typically comes out as you saw it in your mind’s eye or does it change as you are translating it to the page" ?

Pascal:  It NEVER EVER comes out the way I see it at first,

There are a few reasons for this .
One of them is that I rarely know what the image is going to look like before I start it...even half way through, I am not always sure of how I am going to get it done, because it doesn't matter all that much to me. As long as I can get the point across, the rest of the image can go any way it wants, as long as it doesn't interfere with the main point...and I am ok with it.
What I mean by this is that if at some point I want to change the whole color of the image from reds to blues.. if it doesn't hurt and it actually makes the message stronger..I will do that.
If I have a character that gets in the way, even if this character is in a position, or drawn in a way that I really like..I'll take that character out.
I'll rework the image till the message gets across.

Neso: What artists are you currently following ? Do you own or collect work by any artists?

Pascal:  What an interesting question.

I don't collect work, no, but I do have several books on classic artists that I admire like MOnet, WInslow Homer, Sargeant, Ilya Repin, Charlie Harper, etc etc.
For the following thing... I do have a lot of friends whose work I admire, and there are a few comic book artists whose work I love to read.. but I don't go everyday or every week looking at their websites to see if something is there.
Maybe I should do that...but then... It will be a matter of finding the time to do so.

Neso: How do you create your art?

Pascal:  For a second, I though you were asking the eternal question of... HOW do you do it? Where does it come from...
YOu are just asking about my methods, correct?

Neso: hehe Yes, it was the question about your methods :)

Pascal: I tipically create my daily sketches early in the morning..I'll get to the studio around 7 or  7 30 and do a skecth before starting the work day.
These past few weeks, months, things have changed a bit with our schedules( taking the kids to school, getting them ready in the morning) and that sort of derailed my previous routine.
Right now, I get there later so my work  turns out different( or so I notice) It's interesting to see how routine affects your work one way or the other.
I feel every few years or so my routine changes because of something else in my life changing... so I am curious and excited( and a little afraid)  to see how these latest changes will affect the work in the long run.
As for the nuts and bolts.
I usually use flash and photoshop.. I ;ll do a colored drawing in flash and do the lighting in photoshop.
SOmetimes I do it all in Photoshop, and I use to do it all in flash before... so, this is also going back and forth.
Lately, I've been doing more sketches on paper too, but have not posted any of these simply because I haven't scanned them.

Neso: Would you agree with the opinion, that using modern technology to create art is recourse to art itself ?

Pascal:  I am not sure what you mean by this, so I can't agree or disagree.

Neso: we can discuss it on various angles ;)

Pascal:  If you are saying that using technology to create art is a good thing, I would say yes, it is.... artists have been doing this for centuries.. if they did not, we would still be painting on cave walls.
Technology has been a humongous part of the evolution of art in all it's shapes and forms , trhough out every single century.
Before the creation of pigments, art was done a certain way, before tubes existed, people didn't do plein air, before photography, people wouldn't accept the possibility of drawing and painting some of the things we do now.. Vermeer used a camera obscura to help figure out the compositions and lighting in his amazing paintings... so.. yes.. Technology goes hand in hand with art.

If you are saying that technology stops you from creating art, I wholeheartedly disagree pretty much for the reasons I just mentioned.

Neso: The place you will never forget.

Pascal: Alaska.

Neso: You have a lot of exhibitions. Did you think about exhibition in Poland ? :)

Pascal:  Ha... If I were invited , I might come.
I don't usually go out of my way to create a show.. I am asked to do one here or there, and if it works out with our schedule, I'll do it.
It hasn't happened with Poland yet.

Neso: maybe someday it will ;)

Neso:  How did you start to create your art ?

Pascal:  When I was little, my older brother, Sean, made me draw images, comics for him...then I kept going.

Neso: What are you working on at the moment?

Pascal: Finishing up a children's books, an add campaign for some luxury hotels, and wrapping up a video game project.

Neso: Do you like classic art ? Any Favourite classsic painters?

Pascal:  More and more as I get older.. I love Monet as I've mentioned before, Rembrandt,  Turner, Homer, Sargeant, Bellows, ect etc.. too many to mention really.
The RUssian classics are amazing as well and I am just starting to discover them.. so many.. so little time.

Neso:  Do you think it's possible to do art for a living nowadays  ?

Pascal:  Hu.. yes... I don't know how it works in Poland so I can't speak for people there.. but I am an artist, and I am living of it

Neso: The list of your clients is very impressive. (Dreamworks, Disney TV, MTV, Cartoon Network ) How did you begin to cooperate with them ?

Pascal: They called me up one day and asked me If I'd be interested in doing some work with them.

Neso: What is the Universe to you :)
Pascal: Amazing.

Neso:  Thank you Pascal for your time ;)

Pascal: My pleasure.

If you want to see more of Pascal's art you can visit his website here.

Cosmos On Canvas

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