If you are like many of us at Geeks of Color, you love to stumble upon new awesome artists on Instagram, Twitter or Tumblr. We hope to help you continue finding artists to love and support by spotlighting the greatest artists of color that we know and love already.
Today we are spotlighting Jeremiah Cortez, known as @grizzlyjerr on Instagram. Jeremiah is an artist based in California, he uses many different styles and mediums in the most creative ways, and his art online ranges from colorful fan art to original pieces and animations. He also has his own line of custom pins for sale https://www.etsy.com/shop/Grizzlycorp
I was able to interview Jeremiah recently about his art and get his own opinions and tips on his work. I’d like to extend a huge thank you to him for taking the time to answer interview questions!
What inspires your art?
Emotions. The idea that an image or story can provoke a viewer to feel something unexpected. Love, joy, sadness, anger, heartache. Art is in every way, empathy. In creating it and viewing it. To bring an emotion out of someone is why I do it. That’s my passion, my reward, my joy.
How did you start getting into art?
I would say I was pretty much born into it. Some of my earliest memories are of family members teaching me how to draw. I was taught shading with colors at a young age by my aunt. My dad taught me how to draw characters like Snoopy in a step by step process. All my dad’s friends were artists and I admired them as well. Even as a kid I already owned a Crayola carrying case of 100 colors, with all the shades and tones of colors you could ever need as a kid. Art has just always been there.
What is your artistic process?
I normally don’t draw without a purpose. I have to know visually, in my head, what I’m going draw and the drawing has to be for a reason. I can’t just draw for the sake of sketching. To draw with no goal actually prevents me from being able to remember how to draw at all. My sketches will be disproportionate, rushed and look like a child drew it. Then I’ll feel horrible and question my life. But when I draw with a goal, a plan, a purpose, then that’s when the magic happens. What is the main goal? To get a very specific emotion out of the viewer. If they feel the emotion I wanted them to feel then I succeeded.
What is your favorite medium?
I love markers. I can paint but I can’t take the slow pace of it. Markers are fast and blend well. And nothing beats the feel of paper. The markers I use are Prisma, the pencil type I use to lightly sketch out the piece is HB. The ink I use to outline are Copic pens, and the perfected paper is a paper by Cresent called Rendr. It’s made for markers and ink and will never bleed through.
What is your personal favorite piece that you have done or piece you are most proud of?
I really don’t hold much affection towards my art because, for the most part, I don’t draw them for me. I create them for the viewers. So they’re more of like gifts to others so they don’t hold much for me personally. But there are some pieces that I hold dear. One of the biggest one is my Dogs in Space animated story I’m working on. It is all me in the sense that it’s my humor, my characters, and in my control of what I want viewers to feel at all times. It’s a project that I’ve been working on for almost 2 years and continue to work on, in hopes to become an actual series one day. Also, a short film I animated entitled “Good Bill Hunting”. That one you can find somewhere on YouTube. I wrote, directed, and fully animated it, along with editing the whole thing. It was the hardest thing I’ve created and one of my proudest pieces.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
I think I have a very mixed interest in mediums so my artists vary quite a bit. In comic and illustration art, I love Cameron Stewart, Cristian Ortiz, and Trudi Castle. In terms of color and lighting, I look to Nicholas Kole, Joverine, and Ryan Lang. And in the world of animation and storytelling, an art form I have a great passion for, I admire Rebecca Sugar, and Pendleton Ward, among many others. The list goes on but for the most part, it’s artists that have a very unique style and don’t conform to others around them.
What advice do you have for young artists of color?
Hmmm, of color? My advice would be the same for any, that it is a lifelong uphill pursuit, being an artist. It’s not for the person who wants instant gratification. It’s not for the short term goal person. It’s not a get rich quick scheme. It’s long-term. It’s very very long term. Though I don’t quite think “color” plays a big part in being an artist, I do believe it’s still a factor just like in any other industry. There have been studios where I felt overlooked because of race. Though there are artists of all colors in the industry, I do think that they are still the minority. But I would say to just keep at your craft. Make your work too impactful to ignore. To survive the onslaught of rejections and setbacks, you have to do it for yourself and not for the gratification of others. If it’s your passion than keep it that way. Continue to do it for you and only you. If you finally get to a point to make a living off it, great. But that shouldn’t be the ultimate goal. You should be doing it to create. There should be a purpose to why you create. There will be several hundred moments of self-doubt. That’s fine. It’s part of it. The only thing you must remember to do is never give up and never stop.
You can follow Jeremiah on Instagram @grizzlyjerr his art account, and @grizzlycorp his business account. You can also support him by shopping his Etsy at https://www.etsy.com/shop/Grizzlycorp