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Interview No. 137
Interview By: The-Great-One
Today's guest is a wonderful artist that I came across in the Art Forum. His artwork is most notable due to his beautiful drawings of women. As well as the detail he has given to the drawing of hands. His works range from Glasses, to Slash, and to Windshear Plains. He is an older member of Newgrounds, being here since 2004, and I am pleased to welcome, Cairos.
Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?
A: I was introduced into Newgrounds a long time ago by my cousin when I was a younger Cairos back in 1999. While everyone was flipping their shit over Y2K our teenage minds were blown away and (un)fortunately corrupted by the Assassin Page and the cutting-edge quality games like Samurai Asshole and Pico's School. (Ultra violence and adult themes are always such a hit with kids. I guess that's why my nephews love the Walking Dead.)
Q: Before you ventured to Newgrounds you would first be on DeviantArt. Why the shift?
A: Yeah, I think I signed up on both sites roughly around the same time. I had a strong creative urge back then because I was heavily influenced by Zhu and Xiao Xiao No. 3. I don't recall actually creating anything at that time as I was just spinning ideas in my head and daydreaming rather than putting in the work. (If I had a time machine, hoo-boy would I kick my own ass into a productive state.) While I still use both sites, most of my activity is on good ol' (busted) NG. I guess it's the small tight-knit community feel it has. It's like a small town in the middle of nowhere filled with fairly friendly looking folks who vigorously keep pushing tourists to taste and drink their water... I was thirsty I guess.
Q: When and how did you become introduced to art and in what form?
A: I guess I got introduced into creating art when my parents got me and my brother a bunch of Play-doh. We'd make like the usual stuff kids make like rolled out spaghetti noodles and hotdogs, hamburgers and pancakes. Come to think of it we mostly made food out of that stuff... Anyway, our edible yet non-toxic masterpieces were created ontop of this small kid-sized white plastic table. This table still exists today right beside me and is still in use for resting actual food or when my niece and nephew make their own works of art on top of it.
Q: What first inspired you to create art?
A: The realization didn't hit me until I pondered about it a few years ago but I'd like to thank my 3rd grade teacher for this when I was a wee Cairos. At the time she influenced the class to create things. From posters on the wall, to classroom decorations and dioramas, all made by her students. I remember having a hand in creating a scene with construction paper when we were learning about oceans and marine life. Whenever there was a picture in a textbook she would first say, "The artist that drew this..." then explain what was going on in the image.
It was in her class I drew this bobcat from a picture. While I didn't exactly copy it, it still looked appealing and correct for some reason despite it not being in the same pose. It was when my teacher explained that I was using the picture for "reference" and I did a good job at it. That's when I found out I could understand how to draw but unfortunately I didn't see the purpose of it. Though I did feel quite accomplished when she pinned it up on the wall for everyone to see.
During Career Day she would invite all these newspaper cartoonists, graphic designers and illustrators for children's books. They would all draw on one of the whiteboards demonstrating their skill. The drawings were kept up for nearly two months because we loved them so much. Eventually they had to be erased, it was quite difficult to teach the class with only half of the whiteboard space.
None of this added up until one day I took a peek at her notebook. And to my wide-eyed surprise, she could draw. Each lesson plan was accompanied with a cute well executed illustration, no page was left without some sort of image. The kid me couldn't fathom the idea that one person could create so many images each day, how so much work can go unrecognized. I asked her about the drawings and all she said was, "Oh yeah, I can draw." ...That was it. She was an Artist.
When I pondered about this I figured being an Artist doesn't necessarily need to be a job it's just something you do if you can do it. I mean while being an elementary school teacher she didn't stop drawing despite that her colleagues all had careers catered to their craft. I guess she also valued art so much she wanted to show it in a unique way, opposed from the standard we see in today's schools as throwaway course.
I know this is a convoluted explanation of how I was "first inspired" but really it's just something I do and what we all can do.
Thanks Mrs. Frape.
Q: Toast-Tony, Fifty-50, Flowers10, Lucky, Morthagg, Luwano, ZaneZansorrow, and CosmicDeath, are all artists who have been here before. You have something in common with all of them and that is you have your very own art thread entitled Cairos' Sketchbook. This is how I found out about you. I ask this of all artists of this nature, but why did you make an art thread?
A: Honestly I never wanted to make a Sketchbook thread because I'm a super introvert, haha. I was a heavy lurker in the Art Forum for a very long while. Everyone was so comfortable posting scribbles and I get anxiety when I post stuff to the Art Portal (I still do). I was extremely hesitant but I eventually made one and I couldn't be more proud of myself. It was a good step forward out of my personal bubble.
Q: When CosmicDeath was here we talked about the beautiful way she drew eyes. For you it is the beautiful way you draw hands. You stated that you attribute it to looking at the expressive usage of hands in mannerist art. Could you go into a bit more detail about this? Surely you didn't come out of the gates drawing hands good enough to fit a glove did you?
A: I'm grateful that when I was younger I understood that hands were frikkin' complicated and did take some time to draw. I was able to draw hands in stock poses like fists and with any number of digits splayed out in silhouette. I understood how to draw solid hands but I didn't know how to use them properly. What helped me in creating appealing hands is when I started looking at Mannerist Art and realized how the hands were used as literal arrows to guide the viewer throughout the whole piece or towards the subject. May it be the fingers themselves or the gaps between them. The hands portrayed in these paintings and sculptures felt very much alive despite them being still.
Mannerism can be seen as gentle use of energy without exertion with minimal tension used. To help people understand this better... Outstretch your arm infront of you, relax your hand and fingers, bend your elbow upwards, and move your wrist up and down. Notice how your fingers open and close without you making them. That's at most how Mannerism should feel.
Q: Your first piece of art posted to the Art Portal is entitled Red Fighter Dude. You say it is just a simple character design. It does not seem so simple though. Did it start off simple and then some form of possession took over you?
A: Aw man, Red Fighter Dude. One of my first attempts at digital art and an original character. I love Beat 'Em Ups and Fighting Games and it's what he's influenced from. Today I wouldn't say simple design but rather "simple idea". Bad dude, never smiling, likes to fight. It's not a terrible thing as the concept of him kept on being revisited in future pieces with familiar results. First Date, RFD2 , and Double Date. His name would be Michael Grey by the way. As for what he's capable of... I'm not inclined to say yet.
Q: One piece that certainly captured my eye was Windshear Plains. There is a lot going on in this one picture it boggles the mind. The curious part of this is your description. You said it was a comic pitch that never got anywhere. What happened to rob us of this comic and is there any chance of it being made in the future?
A: I wanted to make something awesome with cowboys and dinosaurs and it was getting positive reaction but what was pointed out was the way how I portrayed the women here is a huge no-no. Sexualizing Aboriginals is insensitive to their culture. I didn't want to be part of a problem a whole race of people have been constantly fighting against, so I dropped the idea. As for this becoming a real comic in the future: I'm not gonna fully say no, but maybe if I were to have ninjas added to the mix...
Q: My two favorite things about drawings and paintings are colors and shadows. You combine both of these in one of my favorite pieces by you entitled Glasses. What was the process and inspiration behind this?
A: A process of Glasses can actually be seen in my Sketchbook Thread. I challenged myself to use a limited color palette and had an overwhelmingly positive response with the piece. Especially during conventions everyone just wants a print of her. To be honest I drew the glasses on for fun as I thought her hair already looked hipster, eventually it just stuck and I kept it. I liked henna designs and the way they were painted on the body but to prevent symbolism I just used lines.
Q: Slash. This is just absolutely beautiful, mainly because I can see where it started and where it ended and I love when a drawing leaves a breadcrumb trail of colors. Looking back at your other works you seem to do that with all of these. Would you say this is just your style or is this just a coincidence of a rainbow in the right place at the right time?
A: When it comes to color I like settling with whatever feels right but different. I love exploring what works and what doesn't and digital helps speed up the process with this thanks to the ability to fiddle around with sliders and such. I'm aware of popular techniques that get results, and the internet is filled with them, and it's totally cool when folks use them but they just don't fit with me as an individual. Personally what I want out of my art is to not be new hip style that everyone should be, I just wanna be different.
Q: Your style is beautiful to behold. Have you ever thought about stretching your powers to that of animation? If not then why?
A: I have thought about it but I think I'll have to say maybe. I do want to make one short animation in my life but I don't think I'll make any more than that. I don't want to say much more on this matter.
Q: You've been on Newgrounds since 2004 and before that on DeviantArt. While at DeviantArt you made on journal entry describing yourself as an Invisible Man. Do you still feel you are invisible? Whatever your answer could you tell us why?
A: I'm not much of a social butterfly. I never really wanted to be noticed, but I guess it's inevitable as it comes with the territory with being an artist. I tend to be indecisive about my self- worth but it's proven time and time again that I am capable to inspire other individuals. I never wanted to do this interview but here I am because I think some folks deserve to know a bit more about me.
I'll never know what I want, but I know what I can do. I do what I can.
Q: What is in your opinion, the definition of art?
Q: When it comes to your art, where do you begin? How does the creative process start and when does the creation become finished?
A: My work is very feminine so ideas I want to use are influenced by glamour and fashion. I have a large collection of images that I browse through once in a while to help keep those creative juices flowing. Then I just sketch. A lot. A majority of the time sketches will be set on the backburner and may become revisited again sometime. A piece is completed when I feel that I've dropped enough lines down to get the idea across. Sometimes I wait a few days before looking at the image again to see if it gives me some sort of impactful feel. Once I'm satisfied I release it into the interwebs for folks to see.
Q: What can we expect from Cairos in the future?
A: As stated my work is feminine and I wish to explore more masculine looking things. Hopefully I can portray that in newer work.
Until then. Take care and have a nice day.
Cairos is a great example of what you can find. Here's a guy who has been here since 2004, and it wasn't until the Art Forum was brought into existence that he could truly shine. I shows what you can find if you just take a browse through Newgrounds. I still can't get over how he can masterfully draw hands and the shadows and colors in his works. It truly feels like his works can come out of the screen towards you. If he ever decides to animate, and let us all hope he does. I for one will be eager to see his imagination move with true fluidity.