Eric “SuperVillain” Millen runs a blog called “My Favorite Artists,” where he asks 10 questions of people like Drew Struzan, Jean-Baptiste Monge, Thomas Kuebler, Vincent Dutrait and Scott Gustafson.
He invited me to take the witness stand.
1. Who is your favorite artist?
Well, besides everyone on your blog, Eric, (Man, you've got good taste!), I have lots of favorites from the past, and they change from week to week. This week I would say Adolph von Menzel, the self-taught German realist. But if Mr. Menzel saw me admiring his drawings, he would shake his head and say, “Don’t look at my art. Look at Nature. That’s where you’ll find your answers.”
2. Do you offer workshops for artists?
Don’t you remember? You’ve been enrolled in two of them! Each time it’s a different topic: designing a Pan figure, dinosaurs in street scenes, painting in colored light, inventing “tool people.” The next one is a lecture/demo on composition at LAAFA in October.
3. What do you like to listen to while you work?
I listen to almost every kind of music. But I keep coming back to Bach, Mozart, and Brahms. They have depths beyond depths. If only art could go where music goes.
4. What medium and tools do you use to create your art?
Oils and watercolors for painting. Sculpey for maquettes. Water-soluble colored pencils for sketching. Dip pens for lettering. I’m moving boldly forward into the nineteenth century. But I love my computer, too, for writing, graphic design, and video editing.
5. During an average week how many hours a day / week do you work on creating art?
There’s no average. I tend to do five years’ worth of paintings in the space of two years, and then fool around with other things for the next three years until the next book blooms in my head.
6. Are you working your dream job?
Yes, but remember, dreams are made tangible by means of drudgery. For one hour of flight, there are 999 hours spent in the hangar, tinkering with the engine and the ailerons.
7. Do you feel it’s important for others to pursue their dream jobs?
I can’t worry about what choices others should make, especially regarding dreams, which are inherently dangerous. But a life without illusions may be more dangerous in the long run.
8. Where can people see your work (online, conventions or exhibits)?
The best place to start online is my blog. My other websites, JamesGurney.com and Dinotopia.com are due for updating, which I hope to do in September. I'll be attending the Baby Tattooville artist collectors' event in October, but I'm afraid that's sold out. Exhibit-wise, there are currently two of my paintings in a museum in Maine. And in 2012 there will be two big Dinotopia retrospective exhibitions, one in the Wisconsin and one in New England.
9. Was there a certain moment that you knew you wanted to be an artist?
When I was thirteen, I woke up to the idea that art could be a job as well as a hobby. That happened when people began to pay me for my calligraphy and my pen drawings. Since then the challenge has been, as Robert Frost once said, “to unite my avocation and my vocation as my two eyes make one in sight."
10. Is there anything else you would like to add or say to other artists?
You, Mr. Millen, are the only person who ever asked me for my used brushes, which you replaced with new brushes. For the generosity of that trade, I salute you! And my one question for you is: what did you do with all those old brushes?
Eric Millen's "My Favorite Artists"