Young Artist: Mavis Figuls

I try to think very little about exactly what it is I’m doing. Usually I feel good about what I’m drawing when I’m drawing from life. I think about the line I’m using… have I seen it before? Is it too repetitive, is it becoming a gimmick? Usually the movements or stillness in people are enough to make me go ‘Wow, hey!’. I look to a few different artists for inspiration- not to copy or replicate but just to inform myself. I’ve been obsessing over R. Crumb for a while… I copied a drawing he did from the Book of Genesis and it’s really helped with what I’m doing in noodly line work. I’ve been avoiding crosshatching because it isn’t really my thing; I’ve just been going crazy with noodles… I don’t really know how else to put that. I also look to R. Crumb and Moebius for subject matter… Crumb says that someone told him (paraphrasing) “you can’t just draw a scene… you have to have some sort of hook. An observation”… that’s what makes him such a successful creator, he has that sexual gross hook and me, I’m looking for my own version of that.

Sometimes I write little blurbs next to my drawing but they don’t quite feel like ‘me’ yet, so for now I’m just working on the line quality and the image that comes out of that. Most of what I draw comes from life, and if I’m alone in my room, I’ll pick up a CD, put it on and flip through the booklet until I see a face or shape or something I like and draw from that. Typically, though, I stay away from pictures. Photo reference can completely flatten an image and (usually) doesn’t give the same feeling or vibe as the person in the flesh would. Compositionally I try to draw from painters…there are too many to list. Cézanne is pretty big in my life right now. Also, in terms of sound I usually have some sort of offbeat “beat” goin’ in my head… Minutemen, Captain Beefheart, like a lot of music that has a jazzy backdrop but with a ROCK finale.

I’ve always drawn, I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t drawing. I used to get sick a lot up until…6th grade and I read a lot of comics, so I filled up my time with making my own. I don’t really understand people who don’t have something going on, musically, artistically, or intellectually. To be interesting you gotta be interested, so most of my time is probably filled up just listening and learnin. The future is too far ahead to think about so I’ll just wait until it shows up.

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