What is your art background? Schooling, publications, etc.
I graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2000 with a BA in Studio Art. While drawing wasn't my major of
choice -- my passion is actually in writing -- the result was a much needed improvement in craft. I grew by leaps and bounds in those years. Since then, I've started and aborted more than a few projects. Additionally, I've contributed a cover to the CCNY Spitzer School of Architecture student magazine, and have had a story accepted in a soon-to-be-published anthology.
How did art become something you wanted to pursue?
As children, my brother and I doodled all the time. As the more imaginative of the two, he quickly outshone me, often winning praise from my parents. More than a little discouraged, I may have set aside my pencil for a time and focused instead on writing. When I started reading comics at 14, my interest in art resumed, but it was only after watching the film Chasing Amy that I realized making comics could be a viable career option. The last piece of the puzzle was falling into the art degree a few years later.
Who are your artistic influences?
So many to list, both classical and sequential artists: Kathe Kollwitz, Gustav Klimt, Alphonse Mucha, Egon Schiele, John Singer Sargent, Norman Rockwell, Alex Ross, David Mack, Bill Sienkiewicz, Olivier Coipel, Sara Pichelli, Stuart Immonen, Jim Lee, John Paul Leon, Fiona Staples, Jae Lee, Adam Hughes, Phil Jimenez, Terry Moore, Nicola Scott, George Perez. I could keep going.
What excites you the most about being in RGS?
A place to call home. Being an artist can be very lonely, you know. In a studio environment, you get camaraderie, but there's also a level of healthy competition -- not necessarily an effort to outdo each other, more to challenge each other
Which character (or group of characters) do you feel most closely embodies you? Who is your favorite?
I ❤ the X-Men, but really, it's the whole mutant community. That sense of being an outsider, unwanted--what queer nerd of color doesn't relate to that?
If I had to pick a favorite, I'd say Jean Grey (Wonder Woman is a very close second). She'll always be my first love -- she started out the token female of the X-Men and eventually grew into such a strong character. I love the Dark Phoenix saga and Jean's subsequent resurrection. And while we've since lost her again, I'm elated with the level of care that Bendis has invested in time-displaced, teen Jean.
Which fandom has influenced you the most? Or which fandom are you the most passionate about?
Comic books. Hands down. While my tastes have expanded beyond them in the many years since, superheroes were the first to grab my attention. These were characters who always aimed to do the right thing, at personal cost and great sacrifice. This mentality had such a strong effect on me that it largely influenced my own then-developing moral code.