Daily Exposé is a series of articles in which we interview creators of all sorts of Pokémon related content from the PokéCommunity forums and the rest of the internet. In this installment, we shall be having a one-one-one with illustrator and artist Kirby from PokéCommunity. Kirby has been an active member of the site since 2011 and is currently serving as the site’s Art & Design moderator. For more of her work, visit her gallery here.
Tell us about yourself. What kind of art mediums do you like to focus on?
Well, I’m Kirby, aka Fairy, aka Jo! I’ve been an artist as long as I can remember, a moderator of A&D for three years, and been enthused by art for a thousand lifetimes! I like to fancy myself an artist who is comfortable in all mediums, but I primarily focus on traditional art in the form of paper and pen, digital art and graphic design, pixel art, and 3D art!
How did you get into visual art? Did you learn it by yourself or did someone teach you?
I had always been self taught, if you don’t count the art classes one is required to take in primary school. I learned mainly through practice and observation, just watching people and sketching them and being generally inspired to create! But, that’s not to say that I didn’t have some really fantastic people in my life who influenced me and helped guide my subsequent ability. It wasn’t until two years ago that I really picked up pixel art, and I have all of A&D to thank for introducing me and coaching me through one of my now favorite mediums. As I developed my artistic ability and had the means to do so, I began taking classes. I am now receiving professional training in fine arts and graphic design.
How would you define an ‘artist’?
Ooooh this is a good question. I believe anyone and everyone has it in them to be an “artist” so long as they have the desire to create. Being an artist actually has very little to do with technical skill, in my eyes, and much more to do with a state of mind – the presence to produce as opposed to consume. Whether or not artistic ability is innate or learned, or if talent is something you’re born with is inconsequential to this, however, as being an “artist” is a title one can only give themselves through time and effort. And it goes so much further than just drawing! Is a musician not an artist? A dancer? You’re only limited by your own imagination.
Why do you produce art?
Why? Well, gosh, I couldn’t imagine not doing it! It’s something that I feel compelled to do – drawn to it, if you will! In my life I’ve found periods where I’ve used my art to express myself, to cope, to understand, to share, and to teach…but above all it just makes me incredibly happy. Like a therapeutic motion I can use to sooth myself, or a way to evidence my happiness or sadness. I produce art because it helps me, and when I’m in a good place I can better share my happiness with others. As terribly cheesy as this sounds, my art is like the pebble that sends out ripples of joy when thrown in a lake. I should say though, I’m more talking about the naturally cathartic essence of art. There’s another side of it where you’re never good enough and you place yourself under massive amounts of pressure to perform and meet deadlines and stay motivated, haha. But, those phases are all a part of the growing process.
What challenges do you have when it comes to producing art?
Remember what I just said about not being good enough? Few of my challenges (and most likely other artists’) have to do with skill. Given endless time and resources, I’m fairly confident that I could replicate anything. But I struggle a lot with comparing myself to others. I have a bad habit of measuring my self worth with my talent, then feeling bad when I’m not up to expectations or I’m not improving enough. This feeling usually entails one of my other biggest problems with art, staying inspired and motivated. That, and I tend to be my own worst enemy, seeing all the flaws in a piece and trashing it before I work up the courage to take it a step further, then feeling guilty for myself. But, it’s a process and recognizing it is the first step to fixing it. I like to think I improve a little bit every day.
What has been the piece you’ve been most proud about to produce?
To be honest, I can’t really think of one that stands above the rest. All of them require a similar amount of emotional investment. And to that extent all of them are so different and have varying elements that I executed successfully or not. It’s difficult to come up with a piece that is a culmination or representative of my artistic ability as a whole. That said, I am proud of every piece I create, and I’m a big believer that artists (or anyone, for that matter!) should stand behind their work, no matter how much they feel it could be improved at the time or how insignificant it may be.
Do you have any inspirations when it comes to your art style?
So many, haha! I like to think I drawn inspiration from everything! It’s a little hard to say that one or two things/people inspired my style though, because I’ve been developing my style for as long as I’ve been an artist and I’ve been influenced by countless people along the way. But much like inspiration for anything, I feel as though I garner it from multiple places, both real and abstract, and use my experiences to paint the way I view the world artistically.
Do you have any advice for individuals who are looking to start creating art?
Another good question! The best thing I could pass onto a fledgling artist is the encouragement to create regardless of one’s self. Patience, practice, and passion are all so, so fundamental in being a successful artist, and anyone who has to traits is sure to succeed not only in their artistic endeavors, but their life as well. As artists, we have a responsibility: to be creative, to be accountable, to be original, to work positively, and to work ethically. And while those things can very from person to person, these are the universals I have observed and been taught. Anyone looking to begin an artistic career, improve artistically, or really just better themselves can benefit from a similar philosophy, I feel.
Thank you for your time Jo, and best of luck with your future endeavors!