Monday, January 05, 2009

Fresh Paint: AG Ford

It's been a while since I've done a "Fresh Paint" interview, but it's still true that one of the most exciting parts of the job is watching artists just a few ears out of school turn-on.

I met AG Ford at the Society of Illustrators student exhibit. I recently ran across the above Dorothy painting in Spectrum and it prompted me to look him up. Clearly he is finding his way quite nicely.

AG Ford

Where did you go to school and how do you feel they prepared you for your career?
I attended the Columbus College of Art and Design (graduated May 2007) and studied heavily under C.F. Payne my Junior and Senior years of college as an illustration major. He was essential in guiding me on technique, craftsmanship, doing research, and gathering good reference materials. Also, he let me be my own artist and taught me about getting my name out there as far as promotions, making calls to art directors, and being aggressive once my art was to a level that it needed to be professionally.

What has been your biggest challenge post graduation?

My biggest challenge post graduation was just that, trying to get my art out and in front of people. It can be difficult being a new face because people are not sure what to expect from you not only from a visual stand point, but professionally. The little things like dependability to meet a dea
dline and your professionalism, just being easy to work with. But usually after working with some one once, you can remove those worries if you over achieve expectations.

Do you feel as though you've had your first break yet?

I actually have had my first break, I landed a full picture book deal with Harper Collins. It was a big sigh of relief when this happened. The book was written by Jonah Winter titled Barack
and actually hit the New York Times Bestseller list for children's books. This was a very exciting and an overwhelming experience.

Do you think you have a breakthrough painting in which you made a leap in your abilities?
I think my break though paintings were throughout my Dorothy series, it was something that I was passionate about and is when I really started to transfer into oils. But I think you get better with every painting if you are trying to better and challenge yourself in some way, maybe through under painting or texture experimentation.


Can you share with us a favorite painting that you have done in the last year?
Its hard to say which of my own paint
ings is my favorite, but if I had to say one, it would probably be my Dorothy and the Munchkins painting. I spent a lot of time with different models and costuming to achieve that piece, and was pretty happy with the end result. But I try not to look at my own paintings too much, its seems like that could make you stand still rather than getting better. I would rather look at the painters that blow me away, Phil Hale, Maxfield Parrish, Thomas Blackshear, those guys.

A favorite painting by another artist?

One of my favorite paintings by another artist would probably be...mmmmhhh dont make me choose, I am safe with saying Swansong by Thomas Blackshear, its definitely one of my favorite paintings, its very iconic, and stays in your memory.

What where some of your successful self-promotions?

My promotions were mainly through sending out packets and such, but I felt they were hit or miss, I had more success when meeting with people face to face.


Do you have a clear idea where you'd like to be in five years or are you taking each day as it comes?
In the next five years I hope to still be in children's publishing, projects are lengthy and I am comfortable with the projects that I have been chosen for. The subject matter fits my light personality. Publishers are keeping me very busy right now.


Any advice to younger artists still in school?

The best advice that I could give any student is to work five times harder than the people around you, and be aware of what is going on in the art world. Don't get so caught up in your own creative mind, and your own world. You want your artwork to be relevant enough for you to get work from clients. One last thing, at some point you have to focus your ideas visually so that art directors immediately know what they can use you for. From an artists perspective, its awesome to be versatile, but coming out of school and being new, editors and art directors want some consistency so that they can trust you, thats just from my experience, and my opinion.

8 comments:

Amy Sisson said...

Wow. I still have to get my hands on the new Spectrum (will order it today, I promise -- B&N only seems to have trade paper and I want hardcover). I hope AG Ford's Oz work appears there. Those paintings are just stunning!

ThinkBaker said...

That answer was PERFECT! thanks for sharing!

-Baker

ThinkBaker said...

Ooops! to be more specific... the LAST question. ;)

EricFortune.com said...

Hard work. I remember AG when he was still in school. He got into Spectrum as a Senior! and has only improved since.

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