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Meet AJ Dungo

Today we’d like to introduce you to AJ Dungo.

AJ, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born in Fort Myers Florida and lived there until I was 12. Around that time my family decided to move to California. It was during this period that I was introduced to the things that would shape my adult life; skateboarding, surfing, and music. I transformed into an archetypical SoCal teenager.

As far as art is concerned, I had loved to draw all my life but never seriously considered a career as an artist until I entered community college. I learned that the only class that I didn’t hate was an introductory printmaking course. Eventually, I graduated from Art Center and began my career as an illustrator.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Not exactly. During my last term at Art Center, my girlfriend of eight years passed away from osteosarcoma, cancer of the bone.

That was definitely the lowest point in my life, and after graduating, I was pretty much just floating around aimlessly. I surfed a lot and spent my time in isolation. Eventually, a good friend of mine got me a job as a CMF designer for a footwear company. I then had an opportunity to make a book with Nobrow Press out of London.

So I divided my time between working full time as a colorist and moonlighting as a graphic novelist. Almost three years later, I’ve finished the book, quit my day job, and have been working as a freelance illustrator.

Tell us about your work. What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of ? What sets you apart from others?
I think at this point in my career, I’m most proud of the book I’ve made. It’s a summation and intersection of everything that I love, literally and figuratively. A bit of blood, a lot of sweat, and mostly tears were put into the mammoth task of creating it, and I couldn’t be happier with how it has been received thus far. I can’t wait for its release and for everyone to experience it.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I don’t think I can pin my few successes to one quality or characteristic. I’d say it’s a combination of working hard, being kind, and lots of luck.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Marlow Coloma, Corey DeGuia

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