Artist’s Spotlight: @thepaperprophet !

This week’s artist’s spotlight is on @thepaperprophet:

  1. How did you come up with your name?

“You know truth be told, there’s not a lot to my name, which I know has to destroy some of the mystique about it. I’ve always enjoyed naming things, particularly long formal or unusual names utilizing alliterations. It’s all about how the words roll off the tongue. 

(Self-portrait 2021: mixed-media, analog and digital.)

Plus I’ve always been drawn to the idea of anonymity in art, which is perhaps a holdover from my formative graffiti days.  It’s not about me or what I look like, but rather the artwork and my ideas themselves. I like the idea that I can separate my corporeal self from the display of my art. It’s always been a consuming direction for me. In fact, I think the last bio I wrote told the story of my being a Pet Rock, that became sentient after accidentally being irradiated on the International Space Station. Even my self-portraits usually have some twist of obfuscation and anonymity to them.”

2. Can you talk a little about your big cartel store? 

“That’s not actually my store! But rather the store of a community organization I closely work with. I design logos, illustrate posters, and help develop visual messaging and Popaganda (the cross between pop-art and propaganda). They’re called “On Site Public Media”. A initiative based out of the Twin Cities that works on a variety of public programs, including community focused and publicly funded journalism and media from a ground level perspective. 

I consider myself sort of like an artistic “gun for hire”, taking on whatever jobs that speak to me on a personal level, or seem fun and challenging. Lots of illustration for posters – apparel and logos, doing book designs and album packaging, stuff like that. Most of my work is commercial in some capacity, though I’ve been getting in to more traditional commissioned illustrations these last couple years. In fact I did a series of commissions not long ago for a group of Dungeon and Dragon players, depicting their campaigns party members. There’s also illustrations for private events, portraits for people depicting beloved animals and / or family. I once made a half-sheet full color rendering of the characters Wolverine and Wendigo fighting in forested mountains.

If anyone’s interested in having me work on projects, my commissions are open. Message me on Instagram at @thepaperprophet or contact me via Facebook at . Whatever your illustration and graphic design needs are, whether they’re for business, you’re living room wall, and everything between – I’m positive I can make something awesome for you… FOR A PRICE. Duhn duhn duuuuhhhn. Cue dramatic organ music.

(Popaganda poster for “On Site Public Media“, available for purchase at their web store.)


(Details from privately commissioned Dungeons and Dragons character art. Digital.)

3. What is the first art piece you remember creating?

” I’ve literally been creating art my entire life, so there’s no one thing I can point to. I remember a few really old grade school projects. Drawing stories about Mad Monster Parties, making paper mache Puppets and Dragons. Everyone including teachers would ask me to make things for them from elementary school onwards.
My entire life has been dedicated to making stuff. Writing, cooking, music, code, film, comedy, visual art, just whatever. Creativity in all facets would be the cornerstone of my personality. It’s the primordial slime from which I spawned. There has never been anything else that I’ve wanted to do other than make stuff. The one exception being Science. But in the end isn’t art just the antithesis of science? 
Like two sides of a coin, art and science sit so far apart on the spectrum from one another that they’ve come full circle and sit side by side, only the thin line of reality separating the two. It’s like Science is the exploration of the corporeal universe, where as Art is the exploration of an ethereal universe.
If I really dig deep and go back, a conglomeration of memory’s stand out. I remember being super little, sitting in the living room at the coffee table with my mom listening to music, while we busted out the coloring books. SO Many coloring books. And she was so phenomenal with those crayolas, my heart swells thinking of it. Everything was always so meticulously colored. I was driven to be as good as her, and wouldn’t be the artist I am today without her nurturing my creativity at that crucial age. In fact, Crayola crayons still remain one of my favorite mediums to this day.”

(Random sketchbook drawing. 100% Crayola crayon)

4. Where do you find inspiration when creating your pieces?

“It really depends on what I’m working on. I make art professionally, and I think it was the late-great Chuck Close who said “Inspiration is for amateurs – the rest of us just show up and get to work.” Which is something that’s always stuck with me. It’s all about getting in there and stretching those muscles. Being aware that not everything you make is going to be perfect, and the important thing is your making “it”, whatever your “it” may be. Be that writing, drawing, playing music. Whatever. You’ve just got to take the time to make things. Creativity is as much a muscle as those in your hand, and they all need to be worked out regularly.

That being said, I like to thematically pair my environmental experience to match the tone of the projects I’m working on. I’m all about curating an immersive experience for my everyday life. With mundane every day activities being reframed to go hand-in-hand, aiding the theme, work, and emotions of the day. Life should be inspiring in general, you know? So we’ve got to fight back against this soul crushing existence within the imperial core, by having fun with things.
Take the social justice art and Popaganda that I make. I‘ll watch a lot of documentaries or movies that match the tone and issues the artwork conveys, and it’s not out of the question that the music and food we consume that day match those themes as well. If I’m working on gig-posters, I’ll listen to the genera of music best representing the events set list, or the bands music itself. Perhaps while at a bar known to share the same values. If I’m working on pixel art I’m usually watching Game Historian, Code Monkeys, or listening to Chiptunes while deep-diving 80s and 90s era comfort food.”

(Commissioned portrait. 100px X 100px pixel art, Digital.)
(A collection of samples from various gig-posters. Hand-drawn, analog.)

5. Do you have any exciting news or events that you would like to share?

“I recently announced the line-up for this years Frightful Film Fest. 31 days of horror movies with weekly themes throughout October. This years themes include “Away From Home”, “Shudder” (the horror service), the “Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise, and “This is Halloween” – which is a collection of horror movies taking place around Halloween. Plus there’s a few guest curated selections to round the month off. It’s kind of like Inktober on steroids. As not only am I doing daily drawings, but I’m watching daily movies and attempting to write reviews of them. 
Initially the Frightful Film Fest started as a drink-and-draw style event, with a small group of people getting together in person for a double or triple feature on the weekends. We’d have discussions about the genera and analyzing movies over tall-boys and sketchbooks. As life progressed and people moved, the Fest evolved in to a individual affair with a focus on streaming services and smaller daily viewings, rather than bigger weekly events. I’ve been in talks recently, however, about doing a special one-night-only live edition of the Fest at a local art gallery (should Covid permit).
It’s exciting and terrifying all at once, and not just because of the horror movies. It’s an epic and ambitious amount of work. It’s rewarding though, and allows me to unabashedly delve in to one of my life-long true loves. Horror. All while giving my hands and brain a thorough work-out. If any of your readers would like to follow along with this years Frightful Film Fest they can follow me on Facebook or Instagram @thepaperprophet.

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