CALIFORNIA FOCUS / ARTIST CORNER: Angeline D' Balentine
What art do you most identity with? I identify with a few as I have worked across several mediums, genres, and styles. But on a personal level I identify with zentangle and tribalzen fused with a sense of spiritual suspended realism.
What was your first piece of art and how old were you when you started? I started drawing at a very young age. I was 5 when my mother was told by my K-G teacher that I was very advanced visually, as I was already drawing "balloon" figures instead of stick. My first piece of art that I guess would be considered my first piece (as it sold) was this gypsy-style, zentangled butterfly I sold to a tattoo artist when I was 13. He, and many other tattooist, started commissioning my work after that. I have probably over 1,000 people walking around with my art on their bodies.
How has your art changed since your first piece? It's become more realistic. Though I still hear people describe my work as having some sort of tattoo-ish, comic book feel to it, it has developed more realistic qualities to it over time, and my personal stuff holds a sense of spiritualism and/or cultural influence. I hear that last one a lot. I have also illustrated commercially, but my love is in my own work.
What research do you do? Before I start a piece I usually look up the subject that I'm desiring to paint. I find what the story is to that object, and decide how I will incorporate it into my work. And then how I will infuse my own style into the finished piece.
What do you like about your art? I like that the art just happens, and the final piece is finished based on that experience. I plan, but when I start a piece I honestly let the art take over my flow. I hardly throw any sketches away, as I allow (what some would think are mistakes) to happen. I feel the best art comes from what goes off course from the plan. Though I created it I still feel like I was only the Finished Work's tool. And so, it causes me to enjoy looking at it each time - even years later.
What is your inspiration? Stories; from history, cultures, movements, etc.
Favorite and most inspirational place in Southern California? The Griffin Observatory - I can't get enough of the Universe - visually speaking. Deep space and other planets, stars, etc. fascinate the hell out of me!
Name a couple artist you’d like to be compared to? Kandinsky or Paul Klee because of their use of color and shape, Frida or Dali because of their use of surrealism, and Artemisia Gentileschi because of her use of 'subject', texture and light. And on a personal level I identify with Frida and Artemisia.
What memorable responses have you had to your work? That first tattooist approaching me and asking to purchase my art when I was 13. Someone wanting to pay for my drawings surprised me. Nirvana seeing my art and wanting to commission me for a single cover - though Cobain committed suicide 5 months later, it was still a memorable meeting I had with them. My art causing me to meet them still wows me to this day. And two of my paintings being in exhibit for an UNESCO event for peace in the middle east (Beirut, Lebanon.)
What is your dream project? A world tour and a piece forever at the MET or Tate Modern - also being commissioned by Keanu Reeves (*says with a smile.)
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? Get focused. Sure you can do all sorts of styles, mediums, and genres, but pin point what YOU enjoy making. Follow your passion - not what others want from you.
What places can we find your art? Sometimes I show in galleries and exhibits, but for the moment you can find me online at http://society6.com/dbalentine where you can order prints, or my website at http:www.dbalentine.com. I'm loving Instagram & growing it, so please follow me there at: @adbalentine and hashtag me at #DBalentine #ArtRedz (Same handle for Twitter). I'm also on DeviantArt: http://adbalentine.deviantart.com/ .. For more personal, high-end, and commissioned work you can contact me through my website, or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
What is your most embarrassing moment? When my daughter took 3 of my tattoo artwork pieces to school without permission when she was in 3rd grade for show-n-tell, and one of the pieces had the woman topless. Oops! That was embarrassing to be called into the principals office. I had thought those days were passed me? But it was flattering as my daughter is so proud of her mamma's work, and secretly the teacher and principal admitted they loved the pieces!
What advice would you tell a young artist just starting out? Same advice that was told to me many years later in my life - stay focused, find what style/genre/medium of art you love, that strikes your artist vein, and do it over and over until your fingers bleed! This will define you as an artist. Do not give in to the temptation of commercial too much, and don't spend all your time on that industry unless that's all you want to do. It can take you away from the "voice" of what is YOUR art. Do not sell yourself out for "work for hire." Instead put high value to your art, put it in markets and platforms that will make you money, be passive income for you, and that you always, ALWAYS 100% own the rights to your work - unless they pay a very good exclusive royalty or full buy out. If they won't then they are either amateur, corrupt, or don't understand the legal business side to the art world. License your work, also,if you cannot sell it exclusively. And finally, persistence Don't do something for 6 months and give up, because nothing happened. Nothing happens when nothing is being done! I tell you read the Compound Effect, a book that explains about that theory. And always, forever, never stop reading books on your art and how to know the business of it. Learn to be your own strong advocate!
I'm throwing this one in: The present time I'm working on this series for Halloween, my style of art infused with old, vintage, famous monsters of Hollywood. I have Franky and his Bride done so far. I'm very busy with a few otherart projects to be launched later this year (my usual non-monster style), but I'm hoping to have more like Dracula, the Mummy, The Addams Family, etc. to be added by next year. For now, we have this sweet, loving couple to celebrate the 2015 Halloween year!