Traditional artist Dorian Vallejo discussed his beautiful work exploring the duality of life and levels of consciousness in this sneak peek from issue 125!
Hello Dorian! Thanks for talking to 2dartist. First off, could you introduce yourself with a bit about your background and projects?
Some of my earliest memories are of drawing and reading comics. I started receiving commissions when I was eleven but I seriously started thinking about painting and drawing as a career when I was sixteen.
My parents, artists themselves, sent me to several art schools the most beneficial of which was the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York City. There, I majored in illustration, and started working professionally first for Marvel Comics and then eventually for every major book publishing house in New York.
It was at SVA that I was first introduced to the distinction between fine art and illustration. SVA is also where I was introduced to portraiture. These days I focus most of my attention on producing gallery paintings for various different exhibitions around the country.
What or who encouraged you to take up a career as a freelance artist?
Both of my parents were artists so the reality of art as a career possibility was always present by their example. I was never pushed; rather, I was allowed to come to it on my own after drawing and painting for a good part of my youth.
Later, in school, my thoughts about what I wanted to do with art began to take shape. It took years to test those ideas. The search was always to find something that was in alignment with my values. This way I could be proud of what I did and happy with the way I was spending my time.
You have said that your work explores the realms of existence, can you tell us more about these ideas?
One aspect of what I’m exploring with my work is a play on the conscious and unconscious. I’m intrigued by how the two interact with each other to affect our psychology and philosophy. Also, how they shape our reality. For many of us this duality; the yin and yang of life, can conjure forth poetic moments of internal reflection. That reflection on the mystery is visual for me.
What advice can you give to our readers who want to develop their drawing and painting techniques in a similar manner?
That’s tricky because everyone is different and I don’t like putting myself in a position of authority. Generally, I’d suggest studying with people who have more experience than you do. Also, make space for ideas that run counter to your own. I find that people who don’t allow for the free exchange of ideas have the biggest impediments to growth. Learning technique is akin to learning the ABCs but genuine artistic expression, requires openness.
Another suggestion might be to look differently at things that ordinarily produce fear. An obvious example would be failure. Failure is often our best friend from which we can learn the most. None of us know everything. Hurry up and fail. Then have the courage and honesty to seek out the best solution. Then repeat that process.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with 2dartist!
See more of Dorian’s interview with 2dartist in issue 125!