CH.89: If you were to categorize or describe the style of your artwork, what would it be and why?
MR: I would describe it first and foremost as imperfect. It’s bright, playful, and a little messy, just like life. Simple, but not necessarily minimal, and usually pretty cheerful.
CH.89: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
MR: I mainly draw inspiration from things happening in my day-to-day life. I might see a house painted with interesting colors and snap a photo to reference later. Or I might read an article about dog psychology that inspires me to illustrate a specific breed. Earlier this week I made a safety pin pattern because of all the election hoopla. It’s everywhere and changing constantly. Sometimes I can’t keep up with my own ideas.
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about what your creative thought process is like when starting a new project/ piece of artwork?
MR: I’d say there are two routes: when someone has hired me to make something specific, and when I’m creating just for myself. Obviously, when I’ve been hired, the process is a little more straightforward. The client will start with a general idea and then I’ll ask a lot of questions to fill in the blanks like “are there specific colors you had in mind?” or “can you point out examples of my work that you saw and liked, to use as inspiration?” And we work on the project together until they’re satisfied.
MR: Something that I’ve discovered about myself in the last year or so is that I can’t be forced to do good work. Even if I’ve set aside an entire afternoon to work on something in particular, if I’m not feeling inspired I just can’t concentrate. So when I’m working for myself, the process is a bit more unpredictable. I wait until I feel the moment is right and then dive in. I try not to overthink things and just trust my instincts, but that’s much easier said than done. I think I do my best work when I just let it happen naturally so that’s what I shoot for. Sometimes new ideas will come in pieces and other times all at once, it just depends.
CH.89: Is there anything in particular that you would want people to take from your artwork?
CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about your lifestyle as an artist and what that is like?
MR: For the most part, I’m my own boss, I make my own schedule, and I set my own restrictions. While I know that sort of work environment can be distracting for some people, it helps me feel more balanced. I find it necessary to take frequent short breaks between projects just to reset and get some perspective. Having a looser schedule and making my own decisions about when, where, and what I do helps me in that sense and I love it! I wouldn’t be able to do that with a different lifestyle.
CH.89: When starting out an artistic task, do you think it is better to have a particular direction/set plan guiding your way? Or, is it better to act on impulse and go from there?
MR: I think there are pros and cons to both, but I tend to act on impulse (for better or worse). Unless of course, someone has asked for a specific piece, then there’s usually some sort of plan in mind.
CH.89: What is one major lesson you’ve learned as an artist thus far?
MR: Trust your instincts. Well, develop good instincts first, but then trust them completely.
CH.89: Do you regard personal style & taste to be of highest importance?
MR: I do think personal style and taste can tell you a lot about an individual, but my mom always told me that family is the most important thing so I think style takes a back seat to relationships and how you treat people. Hi Mom and Dad!
CH.89: What do you consider to be the hardest thing about being an artist?
MR: It can be a little erratic. Some days I have nothing to work on and other days I feel totally overwhelmed by my to-do list. The majority of the time though, I’m very grateful to be able to do something I enjoy.
CH.89: What is one thing you love about being an artist?
MR: I really, really love when people tell me they purchased a phone case, a card, or a print of something I made and that they love it. Feeling like I have the ability to connect with people all over the world through the stroke of a pen is quite extraordinary. It also affords me the opportunity to travel and see my family (who live far away) more often than I would be able to at a more corporate job.
CH.89: Is there anyone in particular, any artist’s that inspire you in any way?
MR: In elementary school my favorite illustrator was Eric Carle. I follow an Australian artist on Instagram, Elle Wills, who is unbelievable. Mike Lowery and Dallas Clayton are also really fun to watch. They both make such positive, thoughtful art.
CH.89: What do you think of technology in terms of being a useful tool for artists today?
MR: I love technology but am much more comfortable with a pen and piece of paper. Most of my work is a combination of real-life drawing and computer generated coloring.
CH.89: Do you think being an artist allows you to view the world differently from those who don’t follow creative paths?
MR: Absolutely. Simply because I have the freedom and time to open my eyes and look around. People working regular 9-5 jobs, maybe with kids, they have less freedom and are tied to their routines to an extent. It’s harder to see outside your own bubble if you can’t ever get away from it.
CH.89: Do you enjoy traveling? If so, do you have a favorite city?
MR: I do! I’ve lived on both coasts of the U.S., have been to Mexico and Canada, and traveled to 12 European countries. My favorite city in the U.S. is Boston.
CH.89: Do you have a favorite author or book?
MR: I love, love, love Jonathan Safran Foer. He usually incorporates some visual elements into his writing and I find that really interesting and unique.
CH.89: Any future goals or plans for your artwork?
MR: In the future, I hope that I can continue to support myself doing something I enjoy. Other than that, I like to see it play out in real time. It’s more exciting that way! Though I would love to design more for products.
CH.89: What does being an artist mean to you?
MR: It means being open-minded and curious about the world around you.
CH.89: What’s the last song you listened to?
MR: I haven’t listened to music in weeks because I’ve been obsessively trying to finish the Gilmore Guys podcast before the Gilmore Girls revival hits Netflix!
CH.89: Any last words on the aesthetic of your artwork?
MR: It’s supposed to be fun. Don’t take it too seriously.
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