Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Artist Profile: Risa Valdez

Risa Valdez
is currently a rising senior at Cal Poly Pomona and currently lives around Los Angeles, California. Born and raised there, her interests include Japanese music with her favorite singer being Hyde. Also known as kurarisa on deviantART, the highlight of Risa’s work includes her portraits which often times are surrounded by beautiful imagery and subtle themes, not to mention the realistic detail with which they are rendered. At the moment she is majoring in the Fine Arts with hopes to one maybe become a teacher and having her work published.

Rococo Flow:
Why fine arts? Was there anything in particular that got you interested?

Risa: I was determined to chase art ever since I graduated from elementary school. So in high school I was already excited to take art classes, by junior year I was already in AP art (though I don’t think I did my best, unfortunately).The first year of AP art, I did traditional art and the second year (my senior year) I did digital. I love doing digital works, but there’s something about traditional. I like how old fashioned and classic it is, but then digital has its upsides (I can do stuff I can never do traditionally, and it can give more power).

Rococo Flow: How were you introduced to digital art?

Risa: I can't remember actually, obviously it had to be the internet so maybe through forums or deviantArt.

Rococo Flow: Usually I ask how long they've been drawing but it's usually since they were little like you mentioned

Risa: Yeah actually that’s a funny story, I remember when I was in 2nd grade there was an art contest for us kids to draw our house. I remember I drew the sun with squiggle rays, and I thought for sure I would win because of how cool it looked, but I didn't, haha. Then in 5th grade, in art class we had to construct a scene out of construction paper. I worked really hard to make a room scene with a vase of small detailed flowers. I got a C and I was shocked. I vowed to get better at art from then on.

Rococo Flow: Haha… so revenge or something along those lines? Either way, that's a great sort of motivation. I think many artists may not want to admit it, but with communities like deviantART, I'm sure envy is a slight driving force at times.

Risa: Definitely, I know it can get like that for me. There'll be artists out there that blow my mind and I think 'wow, I'll never get that good, I should just give up'.

Rococo Flow: Certainly, that's why I like those rare times an artist will show their improvement, it gives others hope. Who have been your influences?

Risa: I can't give names because it's impossible. There are countless artists out there that I've soaked up to try and create my own style, from classical artists to recent ones.

Rococo Flow: Would you be able to describe your style?

Risa: Let’s see, currently I'd say it's a detailed collage portrait style with hidden messages (and I try to incorporate a lot of color when I color them).

Rococo Flow: What sorts of messages do you try incorporate?

Risa: Usually it has to do with the person, the theme. So, let’s say if I put certain flowers around them, some of them have a meaning. Then, I'll put objects in there that associate with them too. So in a way it's my take on the person, sometimes.

Rococo Flow: Can you explain how you go about drawing or painting a piece?

Risa: It always starts with the face, particularly the nose, I have no idea why haha. So from there I draw the rest of the face according to the nose position (I usually always have reference, so 'eyeballing' it is key). Sometimes I already have the composition in mind, but other times not, so after drawing the portrait, I add in the other objects around them.

Rococo Flow: What programs and traditional media do you usually use for your artwork? What's your favorite?

Risa: That's such a hard question! For digital art, definitely Open Canvas. I love how basic it is so I think it's easy for anyone to use. Unfortunately though you can only use it on PCs and I have a Mac now, so I haven't been able to use it. I know a lot of people use Painter but I don't even know where to begin there are so many tools and things, haha.

For traditional media, it's been watercolor. I love oils too, but since it's messy and smelly, I don't use it often, watercolor is friendlier, especially since I can just take it out, use it, erase with water if I make a mistake, blend and dab to give a cool effect, not to mention how beautiful it is overall.

Rococo Flow: Do you have a favorite type of drawing environment?

Risa: If I’m working with traditional media, I like working in the afternoon (with natural light) by the window. Digitally, it doesn't matter.

Rococo Flow: Out of all the pictures you've done thus far, which one are you the most proud of and why?

Risa: Ah which one! Let me see. It’s a tie between "Faith Gift 2006" and "Crown of Thorns”. Faith Gift because I actually painted it for Hyde (my favorite singer) when he came to California to do some concerts and it conveyed my image of him, but then the Crown of Thorns idea was something I had wanted to paint for some time because I felt any celebrity could relate, especially since Christianity was a recent theme of his so it felt very fitting.

Rococo Flow: Which piece took you the longest? Or was there any that was rather difficult, where you felt like you really had to push yourself to completion?

Risa: Oddly enough for most difficult, probably “37” because it was something I wanted to do to celebrate Hyde's birthday last year and I hadn't done anything all day. I was suffering artist's block and was unsatisfied with things I started, so I tried my best to crank that out and surprisingly a lot of people loved it! As for the longest time, that's a funny question because when I work on an art piece, I do so in long periods of time. I'll spend a good chunk of hours working on something because I get excited about seeing it finished. Crown of Thorns took a weekend to do though, so I guess that took the longest, probably.

Rococo Flow: Ah yeah, I remember 37. It's one of my favorites by you, definitely =)

Risa: Haha now you know it's secret.

Rococo Flow: *Laughs* It's funny how that works though. What are your future aspirations?

Risa: For some reason I'd like to teach art. My art teacher in high school was really laidback and actually didn't teach me anything, haha, but she believed in me and that was important so I hope I can discover and help other young artists too. Plus despite being a fan of deep and dark things, I have a good sense of humor and can be lively so it just sounds like a lot of fun (I know I'll regret saying this now, haha). Who knows though? Oh and of course I'd want to keep painting and drawing my own things to sell on the side.

Rococo Flow: Sounds good, I admire that, anyone who wants to become teacher, because there aren't enough good and inspiring ones. After all, without the teachers how would anyone learn anything to become artists, doctors, lawyers, etc.?

Risa: I know right, and then they can come back and thank me when I'm roaming around with my walker.

Rococo Flow: Haha. Do you have any other interests besides drawing?

Risa: I'm a huge fan of Japanese music, as you can tell. I listen to all kinds and hope I can pay homage to my favorites by drawing/painting them. I sound so simple.

Rococo Flow: No you don’t. So who are your top five favorite musicians? =)

Risa: Oh Nooo!!! Hahahaha.
1) L'Arc~en~Ciel
2) Shiina Ringo
3) Salyu
5) the brilliant green

Rococo Flow: If you could be any character from a video game, movie, novel, etc. who would it be and why?

Risa: Maybe Lily Chou-Chou from the movie All About Lily Chou-Chou, because in the film she was an ethereal singer that provided a mysterious power to very different people. Her music was beautiful, original and other-worldly, all while being very mysterious herself. I thought she was such an amazing character.

Rococo Flow: Do you have any other comments or things you'd like to address?

Risa: Ah maybe, I’m kind of embarrassed that most of my work is fanart of Hyde? Haha.

Rococo Flow: Another artist I interviewed Heather or Makani, if you've heard of her said something along the lines of, ‘draw what you like to draw’, I mean after all if it makes you happy, who cares? Whatever gets your pencil moving.

Risa: Ah that’s a good quote! It's true though and I respect Hyde a lot so I really find it easy to draw him often.

Rococo Flow: I didn't ask earlier but are you working on any sort of art related projects or something of that nature?

Risa: I actually worked on a doujinshi with a few other artists a few years ago, but I'm really embarrassed with my submission so I like to forget about it (I didn't do a good job). Most recently an idea was pitched between me and a different group of artists but nothing has become of that yet. I hope maybe in the future I'll have the confidence to create an artbook with other artists, or go solo.

Rococo Flow: I would really love to see more artbooks done by some rising young artists like Le Grand Grimoire Visuel, I think such a project would be awesome and I'd totally buy it.

Risa: Yeah I think there should be more out there, even if they’re small.

Rococo Flow: Do you have any advice for other aspiring artists?

Risa: There's a lot of things even artists you admire will learn so don't give up, if you love it enough and sincerely work hard on what you do, you'll improve in no time. Your best work is only the beginning to what you’re capable of doing so Good Luck!

To see more work by Risa visit the following links:

kurarisa@dA – deviantART gallery

You can also contact her at kurarisa [at] gmail.com

No comments: