Below are JW's repsonses to our artist interview.
What is your background/how did you get started in your medium?
I started my career as a professional finger-painter at the age of 4 - things just sort of took off from there. I have since branched out into other mediums.
What effect are you trying to have on people through your art?
Good art should evoke a reaction - ideally (from my perspective) it should be a positive reaction. I like to think of painting as storytelling in that as the Artist you seek to share a unique perspective to educate or make your audience aware of some aspect of your subject they may not have considered. For example, with the wildlife art, ideally it is to make the viewer consider the subject not as "just an animal" but rather as a fellow inhabitant of this Earth we both share.
What drew you to your particular medium? How did you get started in your medium?
That's difficult to answer in that I consider myself a "mixed media" artist. I combine acrylics and oils for effect, and use the airbrush and conventional paintbrushes, again for effect. Each lends itself uniquely to specific presentations. I originally started airbrushing because it lent itself well to working larger with greater ease and also it opened up the possibilities of putting art on unique substrates; the foremost of which for me personally was wearable art.
Who were your mentors/inspiring artists as you began to discover your art?
I didn't have any mentors being a self-taught artist. My inspiration from other artists was initiallyu from the comic artists fo the day, formeost being Jack "The King" Kirby, Joe Kubert, Samuel J. Glanzman and Barry Windsor- Smith. Later inspirations would be Frank Frazetta, Roger Dean, Brian Froud and Alan Lee.
As I began to work as a full-time 'working artist" I was very fortunate to have two mentors in how to live and make your living as a working artist. Both of these individuals are friends and their work has been a great inspiration - Mike Segal and Dee Morris.
What was your first piece of art you created and what inspired it?
I can't specifially remember that "first piece of art". I suppose it would be those finger-paintings that I would consider my first artworks, as art has always been my best means of expressing myself, and I have been doing it for as long as I can remember. It's hard to remember a day that I wasn't doing something creative during some par (if not all) of the day.
What are some of your favorite projects?
Creating art to benefit the various wildlife rescue and rehab places over the years has always been rewarding. When I was in my early 20's I used to work for the City of Clearwater with a good friend of mine, and we donated our time and talents (he is an excellent musician and sound engineer) to benefit a summer theatre project for young people interested in theatre. I used to design the sets and he did all the stage lighting and sound - that was fun.
What are you working on right now?
Continuing on in my "artistic journey"...