Today we’d like to introduce you to Damian Le.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Damian. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I’ve been sketching and doodling since I was a child but never entertained it as possible career option until my early 20s. Becoming a doctor was all I ever expected to do. It wasn’t until I enrolled in a couple of art classes in college (to fulfill my credit requirements) that I realized I had any sort of inclination for it. During that time period, I came to understand that expression meant freedom and that idea has come to define my motivation for living.
After college, I started making comics. Since I had spent a lot of time reading books, comics, and psych texts, I initially wanted to write. But after some failed collaborations with friends, I decided I’d have to learn to draw if I really wanted to make my ideas tangible. Using tutorials from the internet, Loomis drawing books, etc., I took a shot at drawing…
The years since then have just been a long process of slowly trying to improve as an artist and storyteller. Beyond the technical aspects, learning to create art has required me to constantly put myself in unfamiliar places with strange people, experience the occasional moments of joy and heartbreak, and try to be observant through it all.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Definitely has not been easy. My art was total crap initially, so I’m glad I’m past that point. My method of self-growth is a cycle of messing up and challenging myself to move beyond my own stubborn methodology when I feel like I’m not improving as an artist. Or even just recognizing that I’ve become stagnant or complacent.
Currently, a lot of my personal struggle with art is getting people interested in my art without having to give up my idea of freedom. Art is something I do for myself and while I don’t have any issues about doing it for the sake of others, it also doesn’t sell as well. I’m working on trying to find some place in-between that dichotomy.
I also think of myself as primarily a storyteller. I’m proud of my illustration work and I’m grateful that others appreciate it, but I’d like to create comics or narratives that are worth experiencing and I don’t think I’m quite where I want to be yet. It’s always just going to be a process of failure and trying to learn from it.
There’s a lot of anxiety that comes from the fear of failing myself as an artist, but I’ve become confident enough in my own ability to know that I can probably overcome most obstacles, which eases that tension. It may just require a bit more time. There’s nothing more liberating than overcoming a challenge I set for myself. And if I happen to fail, then all that’s left is to learn from it and be better.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Damian Le – what should we know?
I try to create art that’s engaging from a visual standpoint, a lore and storytelling standpoint, and a physical standpoint. My personal interests have always been deeply rooted in horror and fear, so a lot of what I draw and write deals with that and the beauty that I find in it.
The medium I’ve adopted to explore this and make my art accessible to people is zines – personal booklets that people use to express themselves on an infinite number of topics. My own zines range from topics like donuts found in Orange County to comics about wolves. More recently, my focus has turned to art zines and comics that explore my interests in design, horror, romance, and music.
Zines have a very intimate and tangible quality that make them incomparable to other mediums people use to express themselves. For me, getting my zines to people is satisfying because it allows people to experience the world as I see it at their own pace and in their own hands. It allows me to communicate to them in a way that I hope personally affects them. That sense of interconnectedness is further emphasized as my zine runs are limited, which is intentionally done to promote the ideas of an individual exploring a niche that exists in some place from one specific point in time – the thoughts and feelings of a person from Orange County, CA.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Friends and family. Specifically, a handful of creative strong independent woman types that have had my back from the beginning and saw my potential and have commissioned me for artwork or pinned my little doodles to their walls or have bragged about me to their friends or insisted on buying my zines for twice their worth. Specifically, a handful of talented motivated guys that have introduced me to other artists or have shared their personal art with me or encouraged me to join them in making stuff, motivating me to want to get on their level. Special shout out to the people I’ve seen over and over at the zine fests cheering me on.
- “A Tapestry of You” Art/Fashion/Horror Zine – $10
- “Heart Beats and Heart Breaks” Romance Comics Anthology – $9
- “New Lore” Art/Mythology Zine – $10
- Original Art – $75 – $250 (please inquire via email/Instagram/website)
- Website: damianle.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/calamityhorror/
Van Le-Khac (personal photo)