Q&A with artist Severalmade
I’m absolutely in love with the art of Severalmade. You wouldn’t think it was possible to make John Taylor look more beautiful than he actually is, but she can and does. For example:
I asked if she’d be wiling to answer some questions about herself and her art, and she agreed, so here we go:
Q: Some basic questions: What is your name? How old are you? Where do you
A: My name is Ambz Garcia I am 30 years old and I live near Los Angeles.
Q: How did you come up with the name “severalmade”? How long have you been using it?
A: Severalmade is sort of a collective representation of art be that photography, painting, digital, etc.; the “several” mediums of art that are hand “made.” I wanted a tag name that represented the way I viewed myself as an artist and the ways in which I hoped to grow. Previously I was known as “CLJBDesigns” and “1:25Designs” but those never felt personal enough. I’ve been using Severalmade now for over 7 years.
Q: How long have you been an artist? Did you study/are you currently studying it in school?
A: I started drawing/designing before High School but it wasn’t until then did I really start to take an interest in it. I’ve never formally studied art, however, and everything I’ve learned is self-taught.
Q: If you’re not still in school, are you able to work in a creative field that uses your talents?
A: How I wish! I lend myself and do a lot of freelance work, especially at the Middle School where I work. In fact, I just designed the yearbook cover. I am lucky in the sense I do get a lot of photography work, but not enough to live off of, never enough! That’d be the dream though!
Q: Who are your artistic influences?
A: I don’t really find influences in artists as much as I do movements and style. I find myself really drawn to the rawness of Street Art. Even when it’s super political I still find it relevant and beautiful. But mostly my artistic influences are purely musical. Music moves me to do most everything. A lot of my drawings/designs are reflective on what band/artist I was really into at that time.
Q: Who are your other favorite musicians besides Duran Duran?
OMG this is such a difficult question for me to answer! I have a top 5 that are bands/artists I know I could never live without nor would I ever want to! Those are Duran Duran, Bloc Party (including Kele’s solo work), The Smiths/Morrissey, Elvis Presley and Starsailor (including JW’s solo work). It’s a random grouping but they are my forevers. Currently, I am really into The Wombats, Nightsports, and Joywave. I tend to gravitate towards Alternative music and then the subcategory of what some may call chillwave which are artists like Washed Out, M83, Wild Nothing, HEARTS, Ettiquette, Kisses, the KVB, St. Lucia, etc. Classics like the Cars, the Who, Elton John, Echo & the Bunnymen, get a lot of play time when I am working. So does the classical pianist Ludovico Einaudi - his music is to die for! Then of course Britney Spears but she’s more of a guilty pleasure to me but … #noshame haha.
Q: Is all your work digital/Photoshop? Do you draw/paint or do any other forms of art outside the computer?
A: A vast majority of my work is done in Photoshop. I do draw and paint outside of the computer but I find digital is more forgiving and I like that. I do a lot of photography but otherwise I’ve sort of been drawn to digital and graphic designing.
Q: For the techie people who might be interested (including me!), can you
tell us about the kind of software and equipment you use?
A: I have an iMac and I use Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom (both self-taught), as well as a Intuos Pen & Touch tablet which allows me to freehand without the hassle and restrictions of using a mouse.
Q: Were you a Duran Duran fan before you were an artist? When did you become a Duran Duran fan and how did it happen?
A: I was definitely into art before I knew of Duran Duran but not to even a close degree the level (or obsession) that I am now. I became a fan about 15 or 16 years ago, I don’t remember really - but I do remember that John was not active in the band at the time and Trust the Process was a real big thing and he was releasing the Japan Album (around that time) and it happened by chance, literally. I was watching VH1 and it was “Teen Idols” week and the Behind the Music for them came on and I was like who are these weirdos with the hair and all these girls? I didn’t get it, so I asked my dad about them and he was like, “yeah! I know them,” and starting pulling out all these records and it was just … I was sold. I never looked back. And I’ve definitely been a “John Girl” since day one.
Q: Have any of the band members seen or commented on your artwork?
A: I like to think they, or at least John, has. But I don’t know for certain. It would be beyond awesome if one day they did comment but I don’t really do it for them to see anyway. I do it for myself, for other fans. I do it because I like it. I like the entire process, start to finish, of working on a piece.
Q: Aside from Tumblr, I know you’re on Instagram. Do you share your art anywhere else on social media? Do you have a website?
A: I’m on Facebook and Twitter, and though I post my art there, it’s not really my go-to for showing it off. I’m partial to IG but Tumblr, I feel, reaches more of the DD community than IG does. In fact, I LOVE the Tumblr DD community, everyone’s fantastic! I always feel like such a fangirl when I log on.
Q: Do you sell prints of your artwork? I’m sure many fans (like myself)
would love to have some of your art in their homes, or on a t-shirt1
A: I have, actually, printed some of my work on t-shirts, through Zazzle. I guess if there were more people interested in wearing them I’d do more. Prints, I’d always be willing to sell, if there were any takers!
Q: I love the step-by-step videos that you post sometimes. How long does
it take for you to create a piece, on average? Do you ever start
something and in the middle of the process change your mind and it
becomes something completely different from what you were thinking of at
A: On average, and depending on the extent of the piece, it takes anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. Though, I have spent 9 hours on a single piece once! I have started several projects and completely scrapped them because they aren’t what I had set out to do, and sometimes that really bothers me and sometimes I end up liking it more then what I had initially intended. There’s been pieces I haven’t posted just because I’ll spend 4 hours on it, hate it, and think “I can’t share this crap!” Sometimes, pieces I think are amazing aren’t well received and sometimes ones I find mediocre are. I guess I’ve learned to just trust in myself, and trust in what others see.
Q: I’m sure you draw other things and people aside from John Taylor! What
other favorite subjects do you have? Do you always start with a photo as
A: John Taylor is my absolute favorite subject matter, no matter what. And I can’t even say why. I don’t know if its being a Duran Duran fan thing or if there is something particular about him, I have no clue. What I do know is that I’ve done a load of work on Britney Spears (no judging!), Kele Okereke, Peter Pan, etc., and in no other fan community is my work more valued, more noticed, then in the Duran Duran community. I’ve been a silent participant within the community for several years. When Myspace was relevant, I ran the John Taylor solo music page (unofficially, of course), I’ve been doing graphic art for so long and I’ve seen my art all over the internet and I LOVE that, I LOVE this community of fans. As long as there are John Taylor fans, I will always have inspiration to do art.
Q: Do you have a favorite piece you would share with us? Or a piece that
was very challenging and you were proud of how it turned out?
A: For me, my favorite has and will always be my “Wicked Birds” three piece collection of JT. However, recently I’ve been pushing myself artistically and I’ve done some work that just moves me. Thank you, so much, for noticing my work and liking it. I can’t even describe to you what an honor it is when you repost my art! Your blog is fantastic and respectable and I check it every day!
Thanks to severalmade for sharing her thoughts and her stunning artwork! (And it’s always nice to hear about positive fan community experiences!)