Yosiell Lorenzo: An Interview with Yosiell Lorenzo
THE ART OF STORYTELLING, FINDING INSPIRATION
AMONG THE DEAD, AND LEARNING TO LET GO
After having featured several talented artists, the Circus Living blog has caught the attention of other artists some of whom have invited me to peruse their work. Though talented in differing ways, I have found some artists and their artwork simply do not fit our blog's theme. That is, until one evening, I received an email from artist Yosiell Lorenzo and let's just say after that, the rest was history.
As soon as I caught a glimpse of Yosiell's artwork, I knew he was the next artist I needed to feature. Otherwordly creatures, wondrous stories, and adorable monsters which Yosiell refers to as his sicklings, take me back to Jim Henson's 'The Dark Crystal'. Very much a Henson fan, Yosiell's artwork incited welcome feelings of nostalgia within me. Though his artwork derives inspiration from the likes of Henson, they still carry something quite distinctive about them. Their Henson-esque inspired qualities provoke warm familiar feelings while their unique qualities arouse curiousity and excitement.
Yosiell is not only an artist but a fascinating storyteller. His works both delight the artist lover and folks like me who love the telling of fantastical tales. Yosiell developed elaborate stories around his artwork going so far as to have written a guide book on his marvelously mystical creatures. Having a story behind each of his designed creature just makes them all the more fascinating. I cannot help but become involved in them beyond their apparent artistry.
What inspires you?
I draw inspiration from many different places, as for my illustrations I can be inspired by a line I hear in a movie or a song that will trigger an image in my head. I really enjoy going to antique shops or rummaging through old Victorian photos at flea markets. As for my sculpts, old fantasy movies like the Labyrinth, Dark Crystal, and Pan’s Labyrinth play a huge role inspiring me. These movies help in creating worlds in my head.
...do the work, put it out there and the rest will fall into place. I think at times I try to control the direction of where my art is going or a certain situation I’m in dealing with my art...I need to remember to let it go.
How and when did you first get started creating your artwork?
I’ve been creating ever since I could remember, but it wasn’t until 2007 that I realized I wanted to move away from graphic design and pursue my art more aggressively. In 2011 I started finding my voice and took things a lot more serious, the Sicklings were born that year along with my Orphan illustrations.
What is the hardest part about creating your artwork?
I’m self-taught so all the trial and error, and seeing what works and what doesn’t is time consuming. Learning from my mistakes, can set me back especially when facing deadlines. Another difficulty is making sure everything is cohesive. I like things too look like they can all be displayed together and not look out of place.
Are you working on anything new at the moment?
Indeed I am. I’m currently wrapping up a two person show with Felicia Ann entitled Obscura, the pieces are all based on famous killers of the 1800s (for example Jack the Ripper, Burke & Hare) but we are creating female versions and adding a surreal twist. I’m also working on a new print series inspired by the old Victorian cabinet cards (really excited about those) and new sculpts to further expand my Sicklings world for upcoming comic cons.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
That I don’t know how to swim…36 years old and if I fell into the water I would drown. Ironically, I LOVE the water and going into the pool. I just jump into the deep end and hang on to the edge because I’ll be damned if I’m wearing floaties.
Do you admire any artists?
This can turn into a long list, but to name a few…Amanda Louise Spayd, Mahlimae, Tim Burton, Edward Gorey, Brian Froud, Guillermo Del toro, Ally Burke, Ida Rentoul Outhwaite, and a couple of my studio-mates Felicia Ann & Danielle Schulnegger
Can you tell me a bit more about these creations - the process you took to make them, what inspired you to create them?
The painting is an older piece of mine, it’s right when I started painting in a warmer palette. The title is, “We’re Our Only Friends.” This was created about the time the orphans started to make an appearance. The Woodland Orphans roam the magical forest that is the setting for most of my work. It was created using mulberry paper on canvas then painted using acrylics.
The Sickling Hunters I created as part of the Black Twig Forest World along with the Secret Keepers. The hunters rise out of a part of the forest known as Somber Hollow and into the murky swamps to hunt. Each Sickling Hunter holds a skull as a trophy of his kill and as a badge of honor.
The Secret Keepers guard the most important and deeply buried secrets. Only the one with the matching key to each plaque can access the truth each Sickling is hiding. All my sculpts are created using magic sculpt or monster clay, then I create a mold of each and cast them out of resin, all hand painted using acrylics. Much of their world can be read about in the Guide to Black Twig Forest book that I released in September of 2014.
Favourite or most inspirational place where you live?
It may sound odd but it’s the Mountain View Cemetery, in Oakland. It’s so peaceful there and it’s a good place to get your thoughts together and clear your head, not too mention that the cemetery is huge! You can see old tombstones that you can barely see the etching on anymore, and if you walk to the highest hill you get a beautiful view of the bay and a couple of the bridges. I could go on and on about this place.
Best or most interesting complement you have ever received as an artist?
A collector once told me that my figures made her world a bit more magical.
What does being an artist mean to you?
It means being able to create regardless of the situation I’m in or how good or bad things are….just creating everyday.
Hardest lesson you have ever had to learn as an artist?
Not to be so controlling, do the work, put it out there and the rest will fall into place. I think at times I try to control the direction of where my art is going or a certain situation I’m in dealing with my art.. I need to remember to let it go.
For more info on Yosiell Lorenzo
Yosiell Lorenzo on Facebook
Yosiell Lorenzo on Twitter
Yosiell Lorenzo on Instagram