What is your art background? Schooling, publications, etc.
In high school, I contributed art and graphics as part of the newspaper committee.
I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Art and Design with a concentration in graphic design from Towson University. My early coursework focused in the fine arts -- drawing, painting, photography, ceramics, etc. Latter courses concentrated on computer graphics, web design, and visual communication.
While a student there, I worked as a graphic designer at Towson’s Design & Publications, where I created a variety of print and marketing materials; the Anime Society selected me to design t-shirts for their organization; and I won a fan art envelope contest to a video gaming magazine.
How did art become something you wanted to pursue?
Since I can remember, art has always been integral to my expression of self. I've found over the years that, naturally, I gravitate toward creative jobs, and being with RGS grants me the opportunity to work on projects of direct interest.
Who are your artistic influences?
Animation and Disney were certainly crucial in fueling my artistic hunger early on, especially with the release of Aladdin. I remember being so amazed to learn that animated features were compiled of millions of hand-drawn frames. Disney would release flipbooks of their major films which in turn inspired me to create my own using notepads.
The early '90s X-Men cartoon show kickstarted my interest in comic books, which led to my discovery of Joe Madureira and Andy Kubert, the super-talented artists responsible for Uncanny X-Men and X-Men, respectively. Video game art from the mid '90s to early 2000s also had a major impact: Capcom, with games such as Street Fighter, Darkstalkers, and the Marvel vs Capcom series along with Square-Enix, with games such as the Final Fantasy series, Chrono Cross, Kingdom Hearts, and similar RPGs. Meanwhile, in school, I quickly became enthralled with the Renaissance, Baroque, and Art Nouveau movements, and specifically the works of Michelangelo, Bernini, and Alphonse Mucha.
What excites you the most about being in RGS?
The most exciting thing is being able to bounce ideas off each other and collaborate on projects. Art is often a solitary thing, so meeting up for drawing jam sessions helps me to get my work done. We have all this energy and passion, and each of us also brings something different to the table -- a definite plus when it comes to developing art projects. We do the best we can. And that’s part of what keeps me going: seeing how dedicated everyone else makes me try harder as well.
Which character (or group of characters) do you feel most closely embodies you? Who is your favorite?
As much as I want to say something other than X-Men, I always come back to them. The basic conceit of the book is that they are fighting for acceptance in a world that fears and hates them for being different. This hits home with me because, as a child of immigrant parents, I never felt that I fit in. Being a first generation Latino-American, I was subjected to a bizarre amalgamation of both cultures, never truly belonging to either. As a kid, I found a lot of comfort with what the X-Men were going through in comparison to my personal life at that time.
The character I am most fond of is GAMBIT! The Ragin’ Cajun displays a large array of qualities. He’s charismatic, confident, quick-witted, agile, has an accent, is a skilled thief, and even though he’s a hero, he’s definitely more in the gray area. Which appeals to me because human beings are more complicated than black and white.
Which fandom has influenced you the most? Or which fandom are you the most passionate about?
I feel most strongly with animation! Nowadays, most everything animated is done with CGI, which is amazing, but I still have a higher appreciation for 2D hand-drawn animation. Of late, I've been obsessed with Adventure Time and Legend of Korra, both of which are traditionally animation. It gives it more of that human(istic?) feel, and the fact that a group of people drew each frame with pencil and paper ... it just impresses me that much more. Something I have seen changing is the notion that cartoons are just for young children and kids, which excites me. Nowadays, with the explosion of anime (and accessibility to more of it with streaming services and downloads), animation has a wider audience that's expanded to include more adult themes. And while there are some that are still more appealing to kids, the themes touched on are relatable to older people watching as well. That’s what I really enjoy about it -- because even though I’m still a big kid and watch “cartoons”, some of it goes to another level and reaches my adult self ... that’s when you know it’s something great.