When and where were you born?
I was born in St. Petersburg, Florida in October 1982. Sunshine, bikinis and retirees, yup.
How long were you in St. Petersburg?
I was in St. Petersburg for about 21 years, give or take. Then moved to Sarasota Florida where I studied illustration at Ringling College of Art and Design. I Graduated from Ringling in ‘07 and moved to New York shortly after.
My earlier work was heavily influenced by pinup painters such as George Petty, Alberto Vargas, Gil Elvgren and other 1960’s illustrators who focused more on the female form such as Coby Whitmore and Robert McGinnis.
Why the move to New York City?
It was a spur of the moment kind of thing. I moved with $81 in my pocket, a garbage bag full of clothes and a computer. I’ve never looked back. It was one of those things where I felt like I just had to do it. I wasn’t getting any younger and all my dreams and aspirations were based out of New York, primarily gallery work.
I was able to move because of the jobs I was getting in comics. Comics have never been a passion of mine, actually not even a hobby. However, the bright colors and strong line quality in my older work lent itself to comics and they took me in with open arms. I made a living by doing cover work and showing at comic conventions all around the United States. Fun for a while but it was tiresome doing something I didn’t have my heart into completely.
When was the first time you really knew you were an artist?
Well, the first time I knew I could draw was around the age of 6 or 7. I vividly remember eating a bag of Cheetos, looking at the cheetah on the package and thinking, “I can draw that.” I sat down with a #2 pencil, some loose leaf newsprint paper and 4 hours later, after meticulous shading and erasing, emerged a well defined Chester Cheeto. My mom found the drawing and proclaimed me as the next Pablo Picasso. It was her enthusiasms which made me realize I had some sort of talent.