Featured Artist: Jeremy Baum
Jeremy Baum’s earliest memory as an artist was as a child sitting on his father’s lap as he drew his favorite cartoons for him. Jeremy is a Pittsburgh-based artist we found on DeviantArt. He attended art school but opted not to mention the institution as it is under litigation. Jeremy believes that some college education and exposure to art school was immensely beneficial to his craft. He was exposed to influential ideas and like-minded people but advises young artists that a degree in art is only useful if one aims to be an educator. Otherwise, Jeremy believes that a couple of art classes should be enough exposure for young artists to figure out what excites them and to educate themselves from there.
We were initially impressed by the degree of detail and realism in Jeremy’s portraits. We asked him about his process in creating portraits and he said that he sometimes uses a photo for loose reference but mostly draws from memory or from his own face in the mirror, beginning with loose pencil sketches, outlining in ink, and then laying down the colors and the final hatching.
Most of his illustrations are done using ballpoint pen and Prismacolor markers on Bristol, which prove to be a medium that suits his skill. His art is both realist and surreal, combining bold strokes and dreamlike concepts fit for graphic novels and speculative fiction illustrations.
Fortunately for us, Jeremy is an artist who has taken the time to analyze his creative process. He says he often works with his own dreams and images that come to him through the course of day-to-day thought. In his words:
“Jung made the distinction between direct-thinking and indirect-thinking and how most people tend be more oriented towards one over the other. I identify myself with the latter far more over the former, whereas instead of thoughts being a narrative of words, my stream-of-consciousness tends to be more like a series of images.”
When Jeremy was younger, he got very frustrated about not being able to portray a work exactly as he envisioned it, but now he appreciates the journey between those two steps. He knows the value of having a finished piece look similar to the initial vision, but knows that this doesn’t happen often and recognizes that envisioning an idea and creating from it are two separate acts.
Jeremy cites influences from heavy metal magazines and Robert Crumb, as well as his father’s stash of books he would read when he wasn’t home. Aside from those, Jeremy Baum gains inspiration from comic artists such as Milo Manara, Moebius, Windsor McKay, Marc Hansen, Tom Scioli, Dave Sim and Ed Piskor, painters Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, HR Giger, filmmakers David Lynch, Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorcese, Woody Allen and David Cronenberg, and writers such as Stephen King, Fyodor Dostoyesky and Cormac McCarthy.
The company of like-minded artists is important for beginners who are just starting to mold their craft. Jeremy urges beginning artists to find out where others congregate for events to be surprised how sociologically different it is there than anywhere else.
Jeremy is currently working on two different comics right now: “Extravagant Traveler” which is about UFOs and “Adamnothing,” a collaboration between Baum and Argentina-based comic artist, Diego Tripodi. Jeremy is also in the process of designing a tarot deck. For more of his work visit http://madbaumer37.deviantart.com.