Sunday, December 9, 2012

Charles Santoso "I try to be in their world"

Charles Santoso is a concept artist and illustrator currently living in Sydney, Australia. During the day he works at Animal Logic as a concept artist/art director. Charles Santoso’s work has been exhibited in Sydney and also internationally in North America and France, his most recent exhibition was the WoodWork Show in Sydney. With tradeyourtalent he speaks about choosing a natural path and why he likes to tell stories with pictures.

Charles Santoso
TYT: Why did you decide to become an illustrator? Could you ever imagine doing something else?

Charles Santoso: I've always loved anything to do with storytelling - especially in mediums such as movies & books . As I realised that I'm better in telling stories with pictures, it was a natural path for me to choose - I also enjoy the process of making images which is a bonus. If for some reasons I have to change my career.. I might still pursue something that has some connections with storytelling and creativity.. maybe sculpting or even try learning how to play with words. Cooking and Coffee making will be the next options after those. :)

Charles Santoso
TYT: What inspires you to your art work? 

Charles Santoso: These days my inspirations are coming mostly from my daily experience. I dug my childhood and past memories whenever I can. Of course I will also include the wonderful artists, writers, philosophers & people that I find interesting. I combine all of these and filter them through my tiny brain.. in the end forming my personal opinions on things. I'll then channel these when I do my works - it might not be clearly visible but it's there somewhere.

Charles Santoso

TYT: The characters you illustrate are very unique. How do you come up with them?

Charles Santoso: Before I start, I usually come up with a story behind them.. even a small event that they are in will be good. I'll then try as much as possible to put my thoughts into their brains and be in their world. When I'm doing it right, the character should start to come up and I can start thinking about the design. So, for me personally, ideas and stories should come first. Of course this is not as easy to do as it might sound. Struggles and frustrations are what usually happen in the process - I get a more rewarding result in the end though.
Charles Santoso
Charles Santoso

Find out more about Charles Santoso
Exhibition "WoodWork Show"

Charles Santoso on Twitter @minitreehouse
Charles Santoso on facebook 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

"If you can dream it, you can do it"

Thiago Storino is a designer and illustrator from Rio de Janeiro. Thiago knows that inspiration lurks everywhere and he is always in for a creative challenge. He believes in Walt Disney's saying - "if you can dream it, you can do it."

Thiago Storino

Why did you decide to become a designer?

Since my childhood I always showed a lot of talent for drawing, especially because my mother was an artist. I grew up in the middle of frames and paints, so I always knew that I wanted to do art, I just didn’t know what exactly it would be, but something related to arts. 
Thiago Storino
 What inspires you most to your work? Do you have a special way of getting inspired?

A lot of people don’t realize this - but everything around inspires you, even unconsciously: my wife, family, friends, movies, books, comic books, or even music that I listen works as a source of inspiration. It is always good to follow the work of other artists that you like and admire. To have good references is primordial to your imagination and inspiration.

Thiago Storino

The objects and scenes you create are very unique. How do you come up with them?

The ideas can come up anytime - I always carry a sketchbook with me. A lot of ideas come up in the middle of creation process, this is why it is important to be open to other people’s opinions and suggestions that you can trust. I always hope to make a better work than the last one, so I can feel that I overcame myself. 

“If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse.” - Walt Disney

Thiago Storino with Gabriel Sousa

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Two inspiring art project ideas

A week of inspiration and lots of art projects

This summer I took a small break from TYT - there just wasn't enough time. But since I've missed blogging so much I will try to write more blog posts this fall, I promise! What have you been up to this summer? I hope it was filled with lots of inspiration and great art projects. This week I discovered 2 great art projects which are really inspiring and give you great ideas for your own art projects.

Sounds of Nature Case Study by Thiago Storino, artist from Brazil.

Thiago illustrated a guitar that grows out of the ground. Then he tried to reproduce the image realistically. I really like how the guitar looks in harmony with nature.

Here you can see the individual sketches and images he used for his project.
Sounds of Nature Case Study

Art project idea: Combining images/photos from nature with human objects

Take an image or photo from nature and mix it with something out of the human world, an image or object that is in perfect harmony with nature or something that contrasts it. Mixed media could make this project even more interesting.

Wonderland of Books by Charles Santoso, artist from Australia.

Charles Santoso created a series of illustrations "Wonderland of Books" for a holiday catalogue and the interior of a bookstore.

Charles Santoso, Wonderland of Books

Charles Santoso, Wonderland of Books

Art project idea: Take famous characters from novels and create individual illustrations from them

When I saw this project it inspired me to this art project idea - imagine you could take your favorite characters from a novel (maybe pick old novels so everyone knows the characters like Huckleberry Finn or Oliver Twist or even fairy tales!) and transform them into an illustration.

Then you could host a small art show by showing these illustrations along with the novels. Maybe you could get a whole group of artists to illustrate their own characters from their favorite novels!

I wish I could draw, then I would get started immediately!

Did you have lots of art project ideas this week?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Berlin Fashion Week: Alice n' Tosch featuring Juliane Pieper

Time flies by and there are so many creative projects that I'd love to show you. One of the projects I'm really happy about is this collaboration - the German label Alice n' Tosch with illustrator Juliane Pieper.

I met Juliane Pieper in New York last year and this summer her newest collaboration has taken an exciting turn - she illustrated handbags for the label Alice n' Tosch. The environmentally friendly label, located in Berlin, creates unique handbags. With Juliane's illustrations I find them even more gorgeous ;-) Have a look and enjoy! 

Berlin Fashion Week Alice n' Tosch featuring Juliane Pieper

Juliane's illustrations at the Fashion Show

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Philippa Long - Classic designs and independent fashion

 Independent fashion in Notting Hill 

I had an inspiring trip to London last weekend and I stumbled upon the emerging designer Philippa Long. I found her beautiful designs at Wolf & Badger in Notting Hill, a store that stocks independent fashion. She makes colorful and unique dresses, paying a lot of attention to detail. I really like her use of unique patterns and summer colours.

Philippa Long

 Philippa is really devoted to use highest quality fabrics in order to create classic designs. She studied fashion design in Brighton and she began her own label in 2011. 

Wolf & Badger 

The Wolf & Badger store is also a must see when you go to London, it is great to discover a large number of independent designers amongst all the big stores overflowing the city. 

Philippa Long, at Wolf & Badger

 Philippa Long, at Wolf & Badger

Wolf & Badger in Notting Hill

Philippa Long


Monday, June 25, 2012

Maja Lindberg - Curiosity, Fairy Tales and Astrid Lindgren

Maja Lindberg lives and works in Lomma, a small seaside town in the south of Sweden, where she runs her own company, Majali Design & Illustration, specializing in fine art prints. Her illustrations are mostly inspired by fairy tales and mystery, she loves combining colors and texturtes, creating a certain mood. With tradeyourtalent she speaks about curiosity, creative ideas that come at night and why she would like to illustrate one of Astrid Lindgren's books.
Maja Lindberg

Can you tell us a little about your creative process?

Many times the best ideas come at night when I have trouble falling asleep and hundreds of things are going around in my head. I try to focus and a picture builds up in my head. I finally fall asleep and in the morning I start composing the picture.

Maja Lindberg

A lot of my inspiration comes from fairy tales, dreams and myths. I start by sketching the creature/person/animal with pencil and paper, when I’m satisfied with the illustration I scan it and continue the work on computer. It’s here where all the colors and shades are made and actually my favorite part in the process. I love combining colors and the textures, together they’ll form the special mood that I’m looking for. I want my illustrations to be mysterious and dreamy and hopefully they’ll bring some curiosity to the viewer who creates their own fairytale/story when looking at it.

Maja Lindberg

Do you have favorite artists?Is there an artist you always wanted to cooperate with?

One of my most favorite artists is John Bauer, a swedish illustrator who lived around the turn of 1900. I love the mystery with the dark forest and the light that he so ably captures.

Maja Lindberg

Other artists that have inspired me are Elsa Beskow, Marit Törnqvist, Shaun Tan, Sven Nordqvist and Tim Burton.

If Astrid Lindgren still had lived I would’ve loved to illustrate one of her books. Her stories have the ability to catch childhood memories.

Maja Lindberg

Did you always want to be an artist? Could you imagine working in another profession?

When I was small I wanted to be an actress, but when growing up I understood that I wasn’t that good at acting so I went to art school and became a ceramic artist. I worked in my pottery studio for five years, it was hard to make a living out of it, so I  got an education in IT instead and started to work as a web assistant. But the lust of creating has always been there, so it felt natural when I decided to start over again and begin with illustration and art. Right now I'm very happy that I took that decision and I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to work with something that I love doing. But sometimes I still dream of being an actress.

Maja Lindberg

Visit Maja Lindberg's website Maja Lindberg
Maja's Facebook Page

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Chrissy Wallace "Compelled to express my thoughts"

Chrissy Wallace studied Illustration at the Glasgow Metropolitan and the University of Westminster.  Chrissy is a freelance illustrator and 3D modelmaker. Her work can be seen in The Picture Show (16th July - 21st July 201) an exhibition at The Coningsby Gallery, London, showcasing the work of 10 young illustrators, artists and designers. This is part one of an interview series with the artists of The Picture Show.

How did you come up with the idea to the exhibition "The Picture Show"?

Most of us that are exhibiting are friends from university - we were in the same class - and a couple of the others are college friends. So we all keep in regular contact anyway and had discussed the idea of exhibiting together. A few of the other guys had an exhibition last year, and we thought it would be good practice to keep promoting our work as often as we can. It all came about quite quickly, we decided and just got on with planning it all! Its been great fun, especially as we're all friends too.

Is there a theme or a certain topic that this exhibition will have?

No, we decided as we had full control over what is shown, it would be a nice opportunity to do exactly as we wanted! Each individual artist is choosing their own theme and medium used. We thought the name 'The Picture Show' would be broad enough so as to not imply any particular theme - just lots of good images on show!

If you could describe it in one or two sentences: what inspires you to you artwork?

Good question! Like a lot of people, I have drawn and created as far back as I can remember, and I've never given it up. I came to it in a professional sense quite 'late', as I suddenly decided I had to try and make a living out of what I love, because I felt unfulfilled otherwise. My German grandmother told me 'you have to work at something you love'. She's right! But if I didn't do it professionally I would always create; I feel compelled to express my thoughts, feelings and responses to the world around me in that way.

Complete this sentence: Hopes and dreams in art ... 

to connect with the viewer, to create something they recognise and can respond to. Personally, I hope to always improve, to develop, and to never stop learning or being excited by the artistic process. And I dream that one day I have a space just for creating so I can make as much mess as possible!

What does art mean to you and how does influence your everyday life?

I would day its an integral part of who I am, cheesy as that may sound. I just love it! I'm always thinking about it and seeking it out everywhere - even in the most unlikely places. Anything can ignite an artistic response - a certain colour, a street scene, sentences or song lyrics, the shape of the most mundane object - anything! That's why these days I tend to have my sketchbook with me at all times so I can quickly sketch whatever idea pops into my head. That's the fun of it all!

Exhibition: The Picture Show 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Spring Blog Art Exhibition Susan Sorrell Hill - "Allowing an image to flow from one's heart"

Choices, change and introspection is only a small part of what describes her new work - Susan Sorrell Hill is a painter and illustrator full of surprise and magic. In this blog art exhibition on TYT she exclusively presents her new paintings and speaks about taking a break from blogging. Susan gives very personal insights about why she focussed on the themes fear, magic and change in her artwork this past year. Susan Sorrell Hill lives in Northern California.

Susan Sorrell Hill
You've been working on a series of new paintings this Spring. What kind of emotions did you have during this journey?

Susan: Iʼd spent the better part of the last two years working on the illustrations and dummies for two childrenʼs books that I wrote...and then taking various steps to bring them to the attention of publishers and agents. The childrenʼs publishing market is a confusing blend of change and chance these days, and most of the old routes to publication do not seem to apply anymore. So despite loving book illustration best of all forms of art, Iʼve not found my book illustration niche yet. I decided that it would be a good, sane idea to focus on more personal work for a give my imagination a looser reign...and see where that led.

A friend pointed out that these eight new paintings seem to be addressing fear of one sort or another, and I suspect that she is right. When Iʼm not painting for a book project, the initial drawing for a painting evolves out of my stream of consciousness: Iʼm not trying to express a particular thought or storyline. However, things that are brewing in my own thoughts, dreams and feelings, as well as what Iʼve been reading about or observing in others makes its way into the drawings. Themes such as limitation, obstacles, choices, change and introspection are common in my work, and a lot of that comes out of the uncertainty of ʻart as a career.ʼ
Susan Sorrell Hill

Essentially dream images, these paintings can be interpreted in many different ways. I like this way of working very much, and am frequently surprised at the images that come through. They often tell me a story that I didnʼt even know I was thinking about. And though the style of these non- book paintings is very much like an illustration, I think that they have more depth and layers of meaning than an illustration that is specific to a particular storyline.
Susan Sorrell Hill
My favorite artists have all been illustrators, not large-scale oil painters, so perhaps it is natural that my favorite way of working has come to be works on paper that are intimate in size...and images that seem to tell a story, though that story may remain mysterious.

What role does the word "choice" and "journey" play in your artwork?

Susan: I suppose that you could say that I am an introvert at heart...and that contemplation has played more of a role in my life than physical activities. Consequently, I am fascinated by the world literature and philosophies that explore the inward Journey of Life, which is ultimately about the growth of a personʼs Soul. Iʼm drawn to things like Jungian psychology and archetypes, symbolism, the Tarot and Rune oracles, and all things ancient, myth and fairytale...because all of these, in their particular way, are expressing universal truths, obstacles and lessons that apply to every individualʼs life. On this Journey, choices have far-reaching consequences, and circuitous routes to our mysterious destinations are common. I hope to express some of all of this in my seems important somehow to make visual symbols out of such deep subjects.
Susan Sorrell Hill
Your new work also shows some of your characters in fear... in one painting you can see shadows trying to take a hold of something. What do your characters experience in your paintings? 

Susan: Perhaps it is not so much Fear that is expressed in my work, as it is an exploration of fearful situations...and the equanimity (or lack of) with which fear can be faced and mastered. In one painting, shadows seem to express the fact that demanding or threatening or shaming voices will always be around, and there is no rest unless one leaves the room! In another, a small, beautiful tree thrives in the very center of an overbearing environment. And in another, a man runs across deep water, safely oblivious to the toothy creatures nipping at his heels and swimming below. He seems to carry some sort of guardian creature on his shoulder. I suppose you could say that my characters are wrestling with the issues that Life presents.

Susan Sorrell Hill
Magic and art... do you see a connection?

Susan: I came across a quote years ago about the idea that words are the most powerful form of magic (it may have been Starhawk?), and I see that this idea has now been incorporated into the last Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, Part Two, spoken by the wizard-professor, Albus Dumbledore. He said, “Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic.”
Now certainly there is truth in this idea, but I would expand it a bit more, and say that symbols (of which art is comprised) are the most powerful form of magic...because symbols (and words are symbols too) have the power to change consciousness, for better or worse. Joseph Campbell, the American mythologist, writer and lecturer, explored this viewpoint extensively.
Susan Sorrell Hill
Susan: I have always thought that artists could (should?) best honor their gifts by putting positive symbols, positive magic into the world, rather than adding to the darkness that is already here. I think that I am attracted to fairytales because these tales imply that, despite the darkness, there is always a hidden path, protection and guidance, and a positive outcome to life, if only one does her very best and perseveres.

Susan Sorrell Hill
On the purely material level, allowing an image to flow from oneʼs heart, oneʼs unconscious thoughts and feelings, oneʼs dreams absolutely feels like Magic, even before anyone else ever reacts to the artwork. What else could the creative impulse be called but magic?

 A while back you took a break from blogging. What was it like?
This digital era has brought the new Social Networking wave too: Facebook, Twitter and blogging seem to have suddenly become part of every serious artist’s career plan. But being technologically-challenged, I was very adverse to the idea of writing a blog. Then I saw the movie, Julie and Julia (“Julia Child's story of her start in the cooking profession...intertwined with blogger Julie Powell's 2002 challenge to cook all the recipes in Child's first book”) and thought well, maybe I could offer some fruits of all of my contemplation and reading, and show my artwork as well. Who knows what showing up beyond the reaches of my little town could bring?

I do like design and beauty very much, so putting together a blog (and a website) is very artistically satisfying. And I do like putting words and pictures together, being a story- lover at heart. Once I launched my new blog, Dream & Vision: life through the eyes of an artist, I was pleasantly surprised by all the positive appreciation and wonderful connections with readers and artists all over the world!

But blogging and social media take a lot of time to do well and consistently...and so far, I have not found them to be very useful in practical terms. Perhaps it gathers momentum? For me personally, blogging weekly is way too much time spent in front of a computer screen, and it takes me away from what I really love: drawing and painting. I’m finding a better balance now by posting great career news flashes, plus writing once in a while just for fun. Of course, “balance” is a flexible thing by nature, so my blogging activity could be different in the future!

Susan Sorrell Hill
Thank you for asking all of these interesting questions, Susanna, and for posting my words and artwork once again on your wonderful site, Trade Your Talent.

My first interview with Susan Sorrell Hill, from January 2011
Susan's website 
Susan's blog Dream and Vision

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Brooks Salzwedel "A moment either in the past or the future"

I stumbled upon Californian artist and accessories designer Brooks Salzwedel's work a couple of weeks back and I was immediately captured by his unique style. His work is deeply influenced by the conflict of human development and nature.
Brooks work can be seen in the New York Times, Juxtapoz, ArtReview, New Angels, and NY Arts, he has shown at several galleries throughout the West Coast, such as OKOK Gallery in Seattle, and most recently The Hammer Museum. Currently he is also assistant director at George Billis Gallery in Los Angeles. 

Brooks Salzwedel

In your work you can often see bridges and nature. What inspires you to your artwork? 

Most of my work is taking a moment either in the past or the future where nature has taken over. The fight between human development and nature has always caught my interest. From grant mountain ranges to towering buildings in construction with cranes and scaffolding around it.

Brooks Salzwedel

Brooks Salzwedel

What kind of projects are you currently working on? 

I  recently had a show at George Billis Gallery in Los Angeles. That's been taking most of my time. I'm also an assistant director at the gallery and I run a line of handmade belt buckles called "Shane."

Brooks Salzwedel

If you could give advice to young aspiring artists, what would you tell them? 

Have a pretty clear idea of what kind of artist you want to be (entertainment, commercial, fine art, etc) and know your audience. Have idea of what company you want to work for or what gallery you want to show in and focus on those...don't settle for less.

"Salzwedel makes landscapes for a world in which nature is under siege. Still, that doesn't mean his pictures appear post-apocalyptic. They are beautiful in a bittersweet way, the dark trunks and branches looking tapestry-like within their resin-coated surfaces. The mood is autumnal." 
- Robert L. Pincus, Art Critic, San Diego Union-Tribune

Brooks Salzwedel

More info on Brooks Salzwedel
Currently on view Brooks @

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Is this digital world stealing our time, our inspiration?

I had this weird writers block these
past few weeks - I feel inspired - but I still don't know what to write
about and where to start. There is so much inspiration and creativity I see everywhere, but once I sit at the computer, there is just a
white screen glaring at me, blinking.

I thought about it for a while and I realized,it must be an overflow of
information, never really a moment of silence around you and everything moving
fast. Pacing to work, running to grab lunch, writing a massive amount of
emails and at the end of the day not even remembering who I was
really communicating with.

Is this digital world stealing our
time, our inspiration? Those moments where we just log off, go outside
for a walk and stare at the sky? Where we figure out where our next creative journey will take us? Where we don't think about "Oh, I could use that for my blog". Where we just feel inspired without having to turn it into anything. Where we just let our thoughts travel?

So where does this all leave our creative thoughts, our inspiration?

Maybe we should just have one day in the week, where we
turn everything off, grab a piece of paper and pen - an no, the app which provides you with a virtual notepad does not count - and just write
down or sketch our thoughts.

And then the hardest part- we won't post these thoughts to our blog, we won't tweet them, we won't share or like them- we will just let our thoughts travel in time.

Letting our thoughts travel 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Leah Piepgras: "Proof of the soul"

Boston artist Leah Piepgras likes to discover the edge between control and chaos in her paintings. In 2011 I stayed with Leah, her family and my brother in their beautiful home in Boston, where she let me have a detailed look at her studio. I discovered her artwork, which she creates with a deep honesty, always filled with a story of her own. Leah also loves to make stuff, especially functional objects. Recently she has created dinnerware and a necklace. Everything is about transformation. "I create spaces inhabited with pieces of bodies and depictions of thoughts", Leah says. "I think of the bodies in my paintings in the same way, in a constant state of becoming." With Trade Your Talent she speaks about the extremes of being, visual change and why she likes to work on several pieces at once.

What inspires you to your artwork?

I love to make stuff...The act of creating is about looking for truths, not knowing the answers along the way. My work focuses on extremes of being- the physical and the mental, anatomy and cognition.  I am interested in the moments when they overlap and where they come apart.  In paintings, I create spaces inhabited with pieces of bodies and depictions of thoughts where happiness, bliss, and euphoria are the proof of the soul.  For me, the act of painting hovers on that edge between control and chaos.

In my paintings I think of thoughts as clouds and mists, and how, before you can grasp a full idea, they float away and all you are left with is a feeling, an intention.  

I don't think of these thoughts as lost though, because they float up into the air.  I think of them in a constant state of visual change, with only the pithy truth of the idea remaining as the actual, physical, constant.  I think of the bodies in my paintings in the same way, in a constant state of becoming, with shifts so subtle that you might always feel the same and, only by looking back, do you see the transformation. 

Do you have creative blocks sometimes? 

I usually have more ideas than time! I am always working on several pieces at once and I switch in between them depending on my mood.  If I feel like I need to think about one piece I will just switch to another for a bit, but keep looking and thinking about the first piece.  Frequently I will paint a whole other painting while thinking about the first one and end up painting over it.  I destroy a lot of work because it doesn't go where I want it to.

If you could collaborate with another artist, who would you pick?

Recently, in addition to painting, I have been making functional objects.  These pieces are visualization of the form and function of the body, while also being functional objects.  The utilitarian use is the conceptual basis of the work and the user’s interaction is a daily life performance. It would be great to continue to work with manufactures and also to do work with someone like Stella McCartney or the house of Alexander McQueen.

When did you decide to become a full-time artist?

I have never thought of being anything else.  I have always known this is all I wanted to do.

Find out more about Leah's work

Monday, February 27, 2012

Dinis Mota: "Creating makes me happy"

Dinis Mota is an illustrator from Lisbon, Portugal. With tradeyourtalent he speaks about vivid colours and why creating makes him happy.

Dinis Mota,
What inspires you to your vivid colours and lively art?
We all have certain preferences, tastes and attitudes but sometimes we can’t perceive immediately why to choose certain colors. Of course you can reflect about the subject and say that color is used because it conveys joy or the other because it gives us the feeling of freshness and lightness. Even the fact of living in a sunny country may have some influence on me. However the vivid and bright colors I use in my illustrations are not a way to achieve a certain goal. The truest explanation to have a preference for brighter colors is quite unconscious. I like them, simply.

What does inspire me? My inspiration mainly comes from contemplation of all that surrounds me and makes part of my life. Sometimes a book, a movie or just the blue sea may be the most inspiring. Other times, admiring the paintings of extraordinary painters like Hieronymus Bosch or Bruegel.

If you could plan a project with any artist in the world,who would you pick?
There are many illustrators I admire profoundly, such as Pablo Auladell, Cneut Carll, Rebecca Dautremer, among others. I wish we could work together in a project, but above all, I’d like to learn from them. I have great admiration for their incredible work.

Why did you decide to become an artist? I decided to become an artist because the act of creating gives me pleasure, makes me happy... I realized this a few years ago. It's one of the best things in life.


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