Lindgren & Smith

Artistic Minds Want To Know

An Interview with Charles Pyle

Hi Chuck, You are the head of the Illustration Department at Academy Arts. How does it fee to be surrounded by all that young talent?

The complete answer would be an essay, but I will condense it. What I do at the university, and what all the faculty do, fundamentally shapes the possibilities for their careers. That is big responsibility. They, with their fresh ideas and diverse influences, inspire me to do better and be better as an artist. I also feel more on the spot knowing that whatever I do is likely to be held up for scrutiny by them!

Could you tell us more about your art and design background and what made you become an artist and designer?

I always drew stuff, as far back as I can recall. Seemed the only way to be. I looked at comics and Mad Magazine, a lot, and all the magazines and books had lots of illustration work in them. No museums or high culture where I grew up, so that was what got my start, and the fact that I could get respect from friends by drawing things. I thought that I would become a great political cartoonist, topple tyrants and pillory knaves, but life took me down other paths. Now I tell stories about people in places with things!

Your work is unique, can you tell us where your inspiration comes from?

Original influences? Thomas Nast, Mort Drucker, Oliphant, Joe Kubert, then Rockwell, Parker, Cornwell, Fawcett, Daumier, Sargent, the Taos Masters, and too many great painters to count. we inventoried my library and I have spent over $20,000 on art books over the years! My paintings should be better than they are based on that.

What hardware and software are you using?

Digital technology? Some Photoshop, a digital projector, and camera. I am still pretty stone age. Paint on board or canvas. Tech is the assist, not the medium
How does your job as an artist and designer influence your life? Do you feel that you see things around you differently?

As an artist, it is a blessing and a curse. Artists see the word more acutely based on our training. For example, I look at everyone as " Would they draw well? Would their clothes draw well? What sort of character do they portray?" I can be brought to a full stop, as well, by simple colors and patterns. Dangerous on the freeway, but makes taking walks with me an interesting field trip for Tina
Where would you like to be with your illustration 5 to 10 years from now?

Down the road? I would like to be a better and more insightful painter. I would like to revive the old cartoonist and explore some new mediums. Maybe a few murals in museums. BIG art on BIG walls that tell great stories for generations. See five more graduating classes go out and change the visual culture in which we live.

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