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Art & Life with Jorge Negrete

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jorge Negrete.

Jorge, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I am a Mexican-American currently immersed in my work as a professional graphic artist in Los Angeles. I will never fail to remember where I came from and the mindset it took to transcend above the gloom I experienced in childhood. There is something to be said about people who live their lives in a constant state of struggle and confusion, and yet somehow manage to avoid being engulfed by negativity and instead rise above it to find the truth. We are meant to do good for ourselves and for others. All life is precious, so we ought to respect it, give it a chance and give it hope.

My childhood wasn’t great but it wasn’t the worst either. I was a kid from the “projects” trying to find himself in a sea of gang violence, bullying, racism and poverty. At a very early age, art became my salvation. Whether it was drawing, painting, music, photography, writing or mixed media. Art came naturally to me, it’s not like I went out of my way to find it, it just kinda came to me. There’s a feeling of empowerment in creating lines, shapes and space on paper. Art is a percolation of thoughts, experiences, fortunate accidents and self-expression.

Art is also a moment of discovery in our mind. We grow with each stroke of a pencil, changing the weight of our line by applying various pressures as lead glides across a sheet of paper and leaves behind a story. Whatever shape or form art takes, there will always be a narrative and to me, that is what is special about what I do today as a professional graphic artist, illustrator and photographer.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
Currently, I am a professional graphic designer but I also paint, illustrate, photograph and sculpt both traditionally and digitally. My art is not specific to any genre or any medium. Most of the time it’s just random ideas that just spring out of my mental library and other times it’s an idea inspired by another artist, a movie, song, or current event. I let my ideas take on a life of their own. If an idea begs to be expressed in oil paint, I do oil paint.

If an idea reaches for a digital approach, I then guide the idea toward an app that would best communicate the message in my art. Whatever direction my art takes, I make sure to embed a story in there. Whether it’s in the gesture, the details or colors, I let my art know that it has a voice and I’m always available to listen.

My art has always been for me first. Is my art meant to inspire others or communicate an important message? I leave that up to everyone to decide. If someone is inspired by my work or discovers a meaningful message in my art, that’s cool, I can live with that. I feel that when you do art that comes from within you for yourself, you’ll begin to venture into passages in your mind that will lead you toward finding who you really are and why.

Any advice for aspiring or new artists?
To all young artist, my advice would be to always make sure your art has a story. It’s easier said than done, but before you begin to paint, sketch, sculpt or whatever, think about your idea and how to guide it through your art process so that your feelings and intentions are reflected in your art piece. Whether it’s a facial expression on a bust you sculpt, the contortion of a torso on a character you are developing for a comic book or a self-portrait painting. Tell a story through the strokes you make and the colors you select. Oh, and start off simple, block in your idea through the use of simple shapes to ensure there’s good readability in your piece. Don’t worry about the details right away, they’ll come, be patient.

One last thing, I wish someone had told me about mileage when I was younger. Have you ever seen an artist whip out an awesome drawing in a few seconds, that’s mileage. The more time you spend with your craft, the faster you will be and most importantly, you’ll develop a knowledgeable mental library for you to draw from. So put in the mileage, practice as often as you can and sketch, sculpt or paint things you encounter in your daily life. Do it! You’ll thank me later, I guarantee.

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