airbrush | interview with Joshua Mayhem by Iva Kancheska 19/10/2009
My airbrushing career began over twenty years ago when I was a student attending downtown Toronto’s Central Technical High School’s five-year art program. Airbrushing was not taught in school whatsoever. I was forced to learn airbrushing on my own from what little information existed at that time and by trial and error in my spare time. Thank god Airbrush Action magazine existed! My very first paying airbrushing job was creating the branding for a successful local metal band that was playing the live music circuit. That first branding job then led to airbrushing the band’s drummer’s bass drum with the band logo, which then led to creating the band’s fans t-shirts, followed by airbrushing the back of the band members’ jeans and leather jackets. The exposure that I received from all of the airbrushing work that I did for the band resulted in many other airbrushing jobs, and I never looked back.
Q: Do you think going to an art school is important to excel in the business later on?
A: Absolutely yes. Knowledge is power and ignorance is definitely not bliss. However, I did not learn very much in high school, everything that I am now and where I am at in my career is because I had to success out my own path with no one to show me the way.
Q: Who or what inspired you to become an artist?
A: No one person or artist inspired me ever, I just loved everything to do with airbrushing when I was in High School, it was magical to me. Airbrush Action magazine and in particular many of the artists featured in it were my biggest influences growing up, like Mark Fredrickson, Olivia, HR Giger, Hajime Sorayama, Pat Gaines, Terry Hill and so many others. I was also into Heavy Metal magazine, Robert Crumb, the Freak Bros and so much more.
Q: How long have you've been doing airbrush?
A: I began airbrushing in grade 10 in High School when I was about 15 years old, I am 37 now. However I did take some hiatuses over the years to do other things like when I was serving in the Israeli Army driving tanks.
Q: What is your favorite or most exciting aspect about your job?
A: I am really enjoying all of the body painting that I am getting to do these days, can't complain about being paid to paint model's naked bodies. I am also enjoying the seniority and experience of sticking with airbrushing longer than everyone that I know personally. Everyone that I know from Toronto or overseas quit airbrushing for computers and other more stable professions.
Q: What is the hardest thing in creating a realistic piece?
A: Photo realism is very hard, and yet kind of easy to do, after all the artist is copying from a finished image in contrast to let's say, inventing something that is realistic or even hyper realistic from his or her imagination. For photo realism the art is in the looking and studying and understanding and then recreating the image, it's technical and laborous but not on the same level as lets say some of the movie background painters that do this from ideas in their heads. Star Wars' illustrator R. McQuarrie is one of those amazing artist who can do realism and yet it will be original and captivating as well.
Q: How many airbrush styles you know are now popular?
A: I have no idea, probably more styles than tattoo styles. You have old school and new school, bubblegum art, realism, biomech, same as tattooing... tattooing and airbrushing go hand in hand and are very similar.
Q: Where do you find your inspiration? Do you work by certain themes?
A: My choice in color is very influenced by the Hildebrandt Brothers of Lord of the Rings fame, American illustrator Mark Fredrickson and airbrush t shirt artist Stece Driscol.
Q: Do you also work on custom orders?
A: That is all I do. I teach professional airbrushing : www.airbushingschool.com and I do custom airbrushing.
Q: What are your feature plans?
A: Have fun. Stick with it. Lose your ego and humble yourself.
Thank you very much!
Joshua Andrews aka YOEDA aka Joshua Mayhem www.airbrushtoronto.com www.joshuamayhem.com
You are welcome!