Resident Artist: Alex Van Dorp
Today we’re proud to announce a substantial turning point in our directive. SBMRSD is no longer just a music collective, we are now featuring residencies from all types of artists; showcasing and releasing art of all kinds.
We’re thrilled to announce our first resident visual artist Alex Van Dorp.
Image Credit: Cory Schmitz
We spoke with Alex about his work and how he came to be an artist.
SBMRSD: How would you describe yourself?
Alex: I am a 21 year old designer/artist/white mage living and studying in Chicago. My time is divided evenly between going to school, freelancing, and playing Final Fantasy 9 on my couch.
S: What led you to become a visual artist?
A: It’s kind of weird story, but when I was a senior in high school I was dating this really talented visual artist. I had never really done any form of visual art before (I was going to attend journalism school, originally) and I decided to try it out, if not only because I really enjoyed watching my girlfriend at the time create things. I think I sort of fell in love with the real process of it. Whenever I wrote, it seemed like it sort of poured out of my fingertips, but I really enjoyed the step by step nature of learning how to communicate visually. I ended up pursuing Graphic Design because I felt like the decisions I made as an artist were all very calculated, and design as a practice lends itself really well to that type of thinking.
S: Where are you from?
A: I was born in Ohio, but I spent most of my childhood in a suburb of Nashville, TN. When I decided to move away for school, I choose Seattle because I had never been to the West Coast and it was sort the farthest reasonable distance I could get from Tennessee. But, now that I am a little bit older I really appreciate where I grew up. It is a weird suburban college town, and really easy to dismiss when comparing it to places like NYC, Seattle, or Chicago, but I swear that the best Taco Bell in the entire world is located there. I ate there, like, twice a day! Oh god, how did I not die?
S: How do you start a piece?
A: Usually it starts with client interaction! After hearing the brief I’ll usually start with a few REALLY rough sketches in a sketchbook, along with some notes. After that I usually give myself a window to sort of look for inspiration in Tumblr, books, at school, whatever, and see if I develop any new ideas. At that point I usually transition to digital and start roughly rendering out the ideas, starting with the one I feel is strongest. If I get to a point when I’m doing these renderings that I think “Well, uh, maybe this isn’t so good”, I’ll start developing one of the other ideas. That way I can sort of step away, come back, and look at more than one idea and see what works and what doesn’t.
S: Where do you usually work from?
A: When I lived in Seattle, I got pretty used to almost exclusively working in cafes. Seattle has such a great cafe culture that I almost never worked in my apartment. When I was a fledgling design student in Seattle, one of my roommates Maré Odomo would host a small meetup of cartoonists and illustrators at an internet cafe literally two blocks from our apartment, so I would usually find myself there, working on the traditional first year design school projects (design a cereal box, design a poster based on a quote, etc). So, I’m very used to working around a lot of other creative people. It’s nice to be able to share work back and forth when you’re really right in the middle of it.
But, in Chicago my favorite spots are the Worm Hole in Wicker Park, and Dollop in Lakeview. Chicago is a huge city, but it can feel really small if you restrain yourself to one neighborhood, so I try to travel around as much as possible. The best coffee in the city is probably Intelligentsia, but it’s always so packed there it’s near impossible to sit down and do work.
S: Anything planned for 2014?
A: Trying to not fall into the lake when I”m taking pictures.
Also, some other things, but they’re all top-secret for now!
You can find more from Alex at his website. We will be hosting a gallery of his work on our website in the near future.