Welcome to another Artist of the Week! This week’s artist is Applebeans, reknown for his satire art! You can find his artwork on his personal tumblr (there is some NSFW content on it, so be advised) here. You can find his interview after the break!
How long have you been into art?
I’ve been interested in art for a good amount of time now, you know, like many other artists. It was actually cartoons that initially got me into drawing, they mean a great deal to me and I’ve always wanted to be a part of what I’d see on television. I remember a particular moment when I was maybe like four or five years old or something, I don’t really remember, but one time I waited for my mom to get out of the bathroom to show her a picture of George Jetson that I’d drawn from a cereal box, and I’d then proclaim that “I was born to draw!” or something disgustingly corny and horrible like that. Yeah, I was pretty cool.
I actually stopped drawing for awhile though, during most of my time in high school. It was a low point in my life and I had a lot to deal with, stuff that I deal with to this day. It’s a slow process of getting back into the wind of things and now I’ve been back to drawing for about a year now, so it’s pretty good and I manage. I’m more serious about my art and my future as an artist now that I’m almost 21 and everything.
How did you learn how to create art?
I haven’t really had much formal training in art. I’ve had art classes in high school, but didn’t learn any concepts that I didn’t already have a firm grasp of at the time and I kinda just chilled out and thought to myself during class. I’m always in my head; I learn a lot just from straight analysis, without a lot of need for hands-on experience in order to simply progress. That’s bad though, I really need to practice more than I do. I’m good at refining my own thought-process though, it helps me learn faster and absorb information.
I lack a lot of technical skill in drawing though. I’m alright with lighting and rendering, and I’ve always had a natural sense of design, but my figurative drawing is horrible and my methods aren’t as streamlined as I’d like them to be. That’s a key factor in improving though, identifying your weaknesses so that you can come up with a solution and progress as an artist, or anything really. I have a very fundamental outlook on those kinds of things, and life in general. You can never think too much, it’s just you have to think about the right things to get you where you wanna go.
How did you get into pony art?
What really got me into the fandom were all the music artists popping up around almost a year ago, really amazing and creative people like NotACleverPony, Jackle-app, PinkiePieSwear, Eurobeat Brony, Alex S. and so on and so on. Seeing such a talented community uproot so quickly really convinced me to make some contribution to the flourishing fan base and you know, maybe kick myself off in a new direction.
Now, as for when I got into the show itself. I was already watching the show whilst the whole 4chan thing exploded. Way back when, I noticed one morning that boring old Discovery Kids was now The HUB on my tv guide and decided to check it out. I was impressed by the program bumps they had going on there and when the pony adverts came on they’d catch my attention because I thought the characters looked cool and interesting. I was really drawn in by the simplistic designs and it looked like it could be a promising series. So I waited for the pilot, watched, enjoyed it, watched more, and the rest is history.
So like I’d said, I’ve always liked cartoons, and children’s programming was certainly no exception. There were quite a few very well-made shows for kids that I’d watch from time to time and that was mostly because I was trying to seek shelter from CN’s terrifying line-up of live-action shows, amongst other scary things. But yeah, kids’ shows often go unappreciated and I was kinda thrilled when I saw that there was such a large community popping up and embracing the new pony show because usually I just mess around with my friends about those kinds of things, as it was kind of an obscure subject-matter. It’s really been an interesting experience having a large community to mess with and it’s been fun.
How did you come up with your “unique” artstyle? What was your inspiration behind it? What compelled you to change from your artistic style so dramatically?
I make my art to make people laugh, that’s the primary intent of it. I think there’s a lot of charm in the “creepiness” of it and there was a ton of factors that went into me pushing my art in that direction. But I’ve pretty much always drawn wacky stuff like that, ’cause I’ve always found it funny myself. I liked to make things look mutilated and the children’s shows I’d watch as a kid were often victims of silly grimdark stupid stuff that’d go on in my head.
My friends have inspired me a lot through the years, and making them laugh was what I sought out for because I found no more significant sense of gratification than that. When I’d spend time with them we’d often send each other weirdo fetish art and all kinds of things and we’d have a laugh around them. I took in the different aesthetic elements of the art I’d see and morphed into my own way to convey the material I work with. You take what you know and you work with it.
People’s interpretation of me and deviantart, those are two very broad subjects of mine. I don’t really know the exact reason for why I was banned on dA, actually. When you’re banned from there, heaven forbid, they don’t really give you a specific reason unless it’s was a particular image that they didn’t like or whatever. They kinda just give you a vague statement on the issue. Like the reason they gave me was “Post block harassment.” and I was pretty unsure of what that meant by that actually, because it was kind of badly worded? Did they mean a literal post pertaining to me blocking someone or vice-versa? Was I being too drama-inducing by playing around with the block system? Was it because I bypassed a block and continued commenting on something? Haha, I really don’t know
I guess I can send in a ban-inquiry and find out, but I don’t really care enough to do so. Why do that if I can just ban-evade like I’ve been doing for years hahaha. But yeah, they didn’t know I was ban-evading because I’m like, really sneaky and smart.
Seriously though, I think I was banned over some instance where someone decided to post slanderous stuff on my page and then run off and block me immediately after. I got on an alt and gave them the beat-down. The funny thing about that one is that it was several months ago, like half a year. But you know how it is, unless you have a subscription on dA, you’re banned on first offense. Some newbie moderator goes lurking around random threads and sees something goin’ down and they go ahead and press the ban-button.
I mean, it’s dA, I’ve been there for six years and I’ve never taken the site seriously. How could you with all that Chuck E. Cheese gimmicky stuff all around and unprofessionalism of the admins creeping about. There are just double-standards abound on there, and it’s actually really funny and that’s why I like deviantart, because it’s like a big mish-mash of stupidity that you can have free-reign over. I mean, we’re talking about a site that glorifies ‘trolling’, but they get pissy about it when you muck around. There’s so many really cool troll faces and stuff on there, it just makes you go “wow”.
The ironic thing about me being banned on there is that I’ve done so much ‘worse’ stuff on that site, it’s ridiculous, and I was actually trying to be really nice and actually take the site a little seriously for a change, as just a gallery I can put my art and have people fave my stuff and whatever. I wasn’t really even commenting on there much; I just tossed my shit and left ’cause it was kinda boring.
I have quite a history on dA, and I’ve met some of my best friends on there, and together we’ve have a blast just terrorizing people and such. But to me, we were really just taking somewhat of a Robin Hood role, as we’d only really mess with the kind of pessimistic people who’d bastardize parody and satire and thought they were cool for making stale Justin Beiber jokes and getting themselves flustered over the fact that people liked something. There are plenty of really mediocre babies on there who bully other users for idiotic reasons and I wanted to give it back to them by calling them out and legitimately making them look stupid. It’s funny how things change when they become the butt of a joke.
Shout-out to my good friends DOOMchan, Rye, Montell Williams, and Cort Cobbins.
I bring that stuff up because I like to share old war stories, and it kinda verges into why I think I got banned. It might’ve been that it was just, as my mother once said, the camel that broke the straw’s back?
As for direct comments towards me, I get a lot of love for my art actually; I really rarely get hate anymore. I think it’s because I appeal to both people who genuinely like the show, as well as the people who hate on it and the community. I assure you though; I very much love the fan base and the show. I don’t do malicious artwork because I think it’s stupid. A lot of people question my sincerity towards the show, and I think that’s understandable. What I don’t get is the people who can’t fathom a joke; those people are just like… woah okay.
I don’t really do the whole “ironically liking something” thing. Over time it’s become evident to me through people’s reaction to my work and other non-serious works, that a lot of people seem to be really confused about what they actually like nowadays. Like, I get people who say they laugh at my work, but they still press the dislike button or post negative comments on whatever site it’s posted on. Why? Because of the way it’s drawn? Great job fatso!
I don’t believe that you can like something ironically without having some genuine interest in it. I don’t like to associate my work with people who are just in it to make fun of something maliciously for no other reason than to get asspats from people who agree with their own deluded opinions.
Do you only do art of My Little Pony? How do you choose which subjects you like to do art of?
Nope, I’ve been doing funny stuff for the new Lorax film that came out recently. I’m not that interested in it really, but my friends are really being idiots over it so I thought I’d jump on it too, and I’ve had some fun with that.
I do personal work too, but I don’t post it anywhere at the moment because it’s not good enough for me. And the old stuff is old stuff, not really gonna go into that. I think in the future you can probably find me hopping around fandoms and just doing wacky art for them, sounds like fun to me.
As for subjects, I’m pretty spontaneous in what I draw. I just kinda draw whatever, and try to change it up when I get bored. I need to do more life studies though, so I can get better.
Have ponies changed the way you think as an artist (what inspires you about ponies)?
I’ve always liked the show for its subtle nature, and it’s that tone of the show that I believe really fueled the fan base. The premise of the franchise itself is very simple; it’s all ponies and pony-like mythological creatures. Hasbro has that, you think of ponies and stuff, chances are that MLP pops in there as well, My Little Pony has been around for awhile. The show has magic, so that opens up a ton of possibilities. The character designs are simple and the character dynamics are very, very well done. The characters have a ton of personality and realistic character flaws. The whole world-building aspect of the show is monstrous, and then you mix that with puns, references, and light-hearted humor? You don’t have to like the show, but you’d have to be completely oblivious to not know the appeal of it.
The show is easy to work with; there’s been a lot of potential for it just from the very start. It inspired me to really step back and look at the power of simplicity, FiM is a great example of how to make something for a lot of different people to enjoy.
How have ponies effected your life in general?
For how important cartoons are to me, it’d be ridiculous for me to say that the show hasn’t had some kind of profound effect on me. I’ve met great people through it, and it made me happy during a low point in my life. It’s opened me up to decent-sized following that I enjoy having around; the more people I can entertain and make happy the better! It has also kinda helped me get rid of my overly cynical nature that was holding me back for the longest time, honestly.
What else do you do besides art (hobbies, jobs, etc.)?
I really like to dabble in a lot of different fields, art and otherwise. I like to read and I used to write a ton. Well, I still do write a lot, kinda. Along with my love for cartoons, I’ve always kind of been a voice-over enthusiast as well. I can be obsessive over music and I’ve actually always been interested in maybe making music of my own. I’ve worked with different audio software, but like, I’m not experienced in the actual process of making music at all. I’ve tried to study music theory on my own, but I get side-tracked a lot jumping around like I do. I really love to learn new things and soak up knowledge because I’m a big dumb nerd.
Do you have any future projects that you are exited about?
Not much in particular, I have a bunch of drawings on the back-burner, some comic ideas and gif animations and such. I’m really not much like the fun artists in the fandom. I don’t run any tumblr blogs besides my own personal one. So I might try something like that out maybe.
I’ve thought about making videos, and I’ve written stuff for that actually. You know, maybe like an episodic type of thing with my own twist on it, but my iniative is so bad. I’m a really lazy artist and I need to work on that. I always get very ahead of myself and overload with myself with ideas to where I crash and end up not doing anything because I’m uninspired. Don’t do that.
I also plan on posting personal, serious work sometime, you know, when it’s good enough. Someday!
What was your favorite project that you worked on?
I don’t really consider a lot of my stuff as “projects” really; they’re kinda just like doodles and silly stuff. I really like some of the ‘animations’ I’ve done though, particularly the dancing fluttershy one.
Are you working on anything currently?
I’m working on quite a few things, but yeah, I work on stuff, get bored and end up working on something else. I have drawings that are very close to being done though, so that’ll be out there soon enough.
What advise would you give new artists?
When you first go into something, it’s going to seem daunting and everything. You just need to keep in mind that the longer you stay with something; the more familiar it’ll be to you, even if it’s just taking the first big step. Break things down and simplify what it is you plan on doing. Stick with it and ask your friends for help if they’re familiar with the territory. Recognize when you make breakthroughs with your work, no matter how small they may be
You need to know what you like and why you like it, have a broad palette, look into finding new art that you enjoy and take from that. Acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses and think of what direction you want to take to progress your work. Create a streamlined process by refining your technique for speed and accuracy so that you can spend more and more time finding ways to improve your method. Look into gesture drawing and build the initiative to study on your own. Everyone struggles with finding initiative; it’s one of the most difficult hurdles to jump with anything you do. You’re not gonna accomplish anything if you don’t start to begin with.
Don’t get too attached to your drawings, but also don’t lose sight of little stylistic perks to your work early on. Keep note of them and use them to make your art more interesting. Being distinct as an artist is extremely important, as there’s a ton of art out there for no one to care about. Style can do a lot to compensate for lack of skill, as long as it’s interesting enough. You should never rely on that though, you need to get better if you want to be successful at transferring your ideas to a canvas. It takes study and a lot of work. Being able to process that information efficiently is just as important.
Ask yourself why you want to draw, or make music, or do anything artistically. Is it to make you happy? To make others happy? To express yourself? Have some kind of driving force for your work. You should deviate from you comfort-zone and experiment. Use your knowledge as tools for inspiration and practice a lot. Have fun. Drink a lot of water. You know, stuff like that.