by Adam Callaby
With illustrative works that feature a neo-retro clash of complicated geometric patterns and technicoloured shapes, like some kind of kaleidoscopic drug-fueled vector nightmare shoved into a blender, you’ll find it hard to find someone whose response to looking at the work of YoAz for the first time as anything other than – “Wow”. We got in contact with the man behind the work, to see where this colourful drama originates.
1. Could you briefly describe to our readers about the work that you do, and who you are?
I’m a 24 year old Graphic Designer and Illustrator, and have just finished my last year studying visual communication and motion design. I work with primarily digital art, and I love playing with both geometrical shape and color with the intention of creating a powerful image.
2. While this is probably an obvious question, why YoAz? Is there a meaning behind the name, or did you just stumble upon it one day?
Actually no. YoAz is created by using the first two letters from my forename and the first two letters of my last name. Pretty simple.
3. What kind of Art Education have you done, if any? And do you think it’s important for an illustrator to pursue some kind of educational award, whether that’s in terms of learning, or simply having something to put on your CV?
I studied visual communication. But the school didn’t really teach me everything that I really wanted to learn. While I was there, I kept feeling like I was wasting, or loosing, my time. And for me, I think I learnt that when it comes to art, you basically have to learn by yourself. Create your own universe. It also taught me to be more curious about the world around me, and information that I could pick up from different places, instead to rely on the knowledge being given to me through my education.
4. It would be silly of us to say that anyone looking at your work wouldn’t be able to recognize a very vivid and noticeably style. But regardless of what other people think, what would you classify your own style as? What process do you go through then creating your work, and what kinds of things get you into the mood of putting together such visually arresting imagery?
While I’m working on an image, I always want to make more than just a ‘portrait’. I want to give it an abstract touch. Now-a-days we have photography and digital art, and so it’s very easy to make something based in realism. Drawing very realistic is wonderful, and I have a big respect for people who have the skill to be able to draw photo-realistic images, and I admire the technique too. But for me, I feel like it’s more constructive to draw something that comes directly from your brain and not from reality.
When I draw, I try to include a lot of details because I’m the kind of person that thinks my picture is never finished and I always want to add another thing to improve the picture. As for my style, I suppose it’s more of an electro-geometrical-art-style. Which is more noticeable within my animal portraits.
5. There’s a few hints of animation without your portfolio, where you’ve added basic flashes or fluctuations. Is this something you’re hoping to pursue more in the future? Do animated illustrations interest you much?
I’ve learnt motion design, and software such a flash, mainly because I enjoy playing with my pictures. I believe that this might be the future of my art. I’ll animate a lot more. But for the moment I’ve been concentrated on my illustration and trying to find the style that I would like to animate. The biggest thing that I think of, is that I’m always trying to find the right kind of animation that can give more power to my pictures.
6. While from our stand-point, most of your work seems exciting and filled with an overpowering electric-energy. In your opinion, is there a piece of work you’re most proud of? And why?
I actually haven’t found a piece within my own art that I prefer, which is probably because I’m still trying to work on a piece that I will be proud of.
7. Despite the colours and the life within your work, it’s also noticeable that the themes can seem somewhat monstrous. The skulls, the baring of white teeth, blood, flesh, zombie-esque monkeys, drugged up freaks and emaciated undead faces. Is your representation of dark subjects through explosive colour, intentional? And why the fascination?
Again, I can’t really pinpoint where my inspiration comes from. It could be from movies. I think the skulls and zombies come from collective subconsciousness. Since they’re two objects that are within art/media a lot. However, I love playing with the code of realism, so I think – “Why not do a pink skull?”
8. Another thing noticeable in your work are the face of celebrities, movie characters, comic book villains and famous musicians. Are you a huge follower of the fan art culture? What does it take for something to make you want to draw it?
I am not a huge fan of fan pop culture. In the beginning I concentrated on that so as to learn portraiture and expression. Usually, when I’m in the mood to create a portrait, the first idea to pop into my head is a celebrity, because I am a huge fan of cinema. I also like creating posters for film, and to redesign/recreate my own interpretation of the spirit of a movie, within a picture.
9. Are there any illustrators or designers that you feel influenced by? Perhaps any artists that have affected the practice of your work, or your style? And linking back to your interest in musicians, how does music affect your process of work?
To be fair, every thing around me can be an inspiration. However, I’m a lover of Street Art, and enjoy the work of artists such as Shepard Fairey, Ron English, Aryz and Keith Haring. Other interests of mine are illustrators such as Mc Bess and Niark1, and painters like Picasso, Kandinsky and Gustav Klimt. When it comes to music, it can have a very big impact on me. When I work, I will always have music playing. Most of which is Electronic. However, I’m also a big fan of Reggae and old Rap music. Once I’ve finished creating an image, I can usually tell that the songs I was listening to has affected the final outcome.
10. As a finishing question for this interview, would you be able to share with us any goals you have for the future? Project that you have planned to finish in the new year? Is there anything you’re hoping to make that our readers could look forward to viewing? And are there any artists or clients you hope to work with/for?
I would very much love to work for the Press and Skate Industry. I’d also very love to work with and Electronic artist. But when it comes to current projects, I am currently working on starting up my own custom-made T-Shirt brand, featuring my artwork. Look out for that!
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Writing by Adam Callaby