Artist Spotlight: Jeremiah Morelli
Artist Spotlight welcomes the talented Jeremiah Morelli, digital fantasy illustration artist and visual storyteller with a style of blending whimsical, conceptual fairy tale creatures in dreamscapes vivid with color and superb plays in creative light and shadow.
I first came upon Jeremiah’s captivating imagery via deviantart.com, quickly becoming a fan of the way his art always weaves a story with such unique visual content. Sweet characters and elements filled with light and whimsy, intertwine with slightly darker themes to create a storytelling piece that captures the imagination and spins fables in my head. I am bit old school I will admit in seeking out what I consider the true treasures of deviantart, artists whose work highlights and showcases not only talent, but the ability to not fall into the typical commercial trends that seem to get a lot of notice these days. I am always attracted to artists whose work exhibits a true sense of daring character, reaching into personable spaces of creativity and again, visual storytelling. Give me color, light, shadows, perspectives and imagery all driven by the NEED to be unique and constantly evolving based on one’s true artistic direction, not just what is popular for the day. Jeremiah’s work exhibits a direction and engaging style that consistently presents fascinating new ideas and intriguing conceptual artistry.
Another fact I enjoy about Jeremiah’s creativity is that all the work in his gallery is truly his own. His career and passion as a school teacher allows all his creative digital art work to be unchecked by clients or Art Directors expectations and goals. Honestly, the more I think about this aspect of creating, the more I value seeing a gallery that is truly that of the artist. Too many times as artists we get caught up in trying to meet others expectations with our work, whether it be fans or clients. How many times have I done this? If art is a main source of needed income, I totally get, live and respect that. But how fantastic to not only work a “day” job that you love but then also have the freedom for creating custom art with personal expression. So, check out his interview and then go take a look at his gallery to see more from this out of the ordinary artist.
Tell us how you have developed your art style from when you started digital painting in 2007 to the present and how you hope to see this style evolve as you continue to work and grow as an artist.
I’ve always been good at drawing and painting, but things really took off the moment I decided I wanted to become an art teacher. I started studying at the University of Augsburg in southern Germany, where I had to hand in a number of drawings and paintings every week. I didn’t talk with my instructors very often, but the simple fact that I had to paint on a very regular basis really helped me. It was during that time that an online friend talked me into getting a graphics tablet. My first was a 6-inch tablet I got used off of e-bay. It only lasted a few weeks, but it got me hooked. Sadly I don’t have too much time to paint anymore and thus I don’t feel my style has changed much over the last two or three years. Schoolwork is keeping me busy, but I try to finish a painting once every month.
Do you feel that you create your best pieces when you set scheduled time to sit down and draw or does your favorite work come to you when the idea just hits you and you create in the moment?
I don’t make any schedules to sit down and paint. I just paint whenever I feel like it, regardless I don’t think it really makes any difference.
What do you draw your inspiration from in the moment of creating?
I get my inspiration from all sorts of places. Music, pictures, movies, books … – you name it. The main problem is that inspiration sometimes hits me when I have absolutely no time to paint, so I keep a text file on my desktop with a list of things I want to work on whenever I do find some spare time.
What would your ideal studio look like?
As a mainly digital artist, I have no need for a studio, but I like being able to listen to music while I work. Apart from that, I’ve been on trips to Italy to paint the beautiful landscapes and nature there using more traditional techniques. The total lack of anything close to a studio was actually quite wonderful.
How do you divide your time between your creative art, your profession as a grade school teacher and working on promoting / looking for new clients via social media / marketing / PR?
My work as a teacher for English, Art and IT is clearly taking up most of my time. I think (hope) this’ll get better within the next couple of years as I’ll have fewer new lessons to prepare for. Painting is mainly a way for me to relax, so art is kind of a counterpart to my job. I see myself as a teacher first. I’m a hobby artist and don’t need to make any profits through my art, so I don’t actively go looking for clients. I get offers via e-mail every now and then, but I usually turn them down. I want to be able to work on scenes that interest me with no restrictions or rules attached.
Do you like to stay fairly true to an initial idea / sketch / art vision ? Or do you like for your art to evolve as you go along the process, sometimes resulting in a finished piece that might be dramatically different from what you first envisioned?
Most of my pictures evolve, but that’s not really saying much, because my sketches are usually very simple and lack any real detail. I enjoy adding little things that some viewers may not even catch. I try to tell stories through my paintings and every little detail makes the original story a tad longer and more interesting.
What art piece in your gallery feels connected the most to “you?”
That would probably be one of my older paintings, an image titled “Rainy Day”.
” It doesn’t really matter where we go as long as we go there with a smile…”
Tell us about your creative process for one of your illustrations “Different Worlds” ~ how this piece came to be.
I rarely paint interior scenes, so this particular image is quite different from my usual work. I wanted to experiment with perspective, but felt like I had to add the creatures to make the picture more interesting. Some of the smaller details (the spider webs and a few textures) were added a year after the original painting had been finished.
What is “success” to you? Has this evolved and been redefined to you over the course of your art career?
Yes, the meaning of “success” has definitely changed for me. I remember uploading my first picture to deviantArt.com. I waited for the community there to respond and felt slightly disappointed when no one did. My second image received two comments by other users, which at the time felt worth celebrating. I feel a little arrogant admitting this, but there are times now when I come to deviantArt or facebook after being away for a few days and don’t reply to all the new comments, because there are just too many.
What kind of encouragement do you give to someone who is just starting out in fantasy illustration and feeling overwhelmed ~ much like a little fish in a big ocean of amazing talent all looking for clients and work?
Enjoy every little success in life, but also embrace each failure. We tend to learn more from our mistakes than from our triumphs.
I have seen a little yellow bird sneaking in and out of a few of your pieces ~ Do you like to add elements in your work that are personable and catch your fans attention?
I like adding things to pictures. Birds, bugs, toys, signs, eyes looking out from some hole, etc… Some elements will occasionetely have a deeper meaning attached, but most are actually quite random. They’re just there to make my pictures more fun to look at. They add to the whimsy – or so I hope. I once found an article about one of my pictures and I had a blast reading the author’s thoughts regarding the “hidden meaning” she thought she had uncovered. I want to invite every viewer to come up with his or her own stories when they go through my gallery.
I love your use of color and LIGHT all created with a children’s book whimsical style and blended here and there with elements of slightly darker / more mature conceptual art. Do you find that it is difficult to go in an entirely new but desirable direction as an established artist if there is an “expectation” from your clients for your artistry to maintain it’s current style and look on projects?
Light is a powerful tool. It creates atmosphere and puts an emphasis on certain elements of a picture. I doubt I’ll ever tire of playing with light, but I do sometimes try to change my style. I want to try out new things and when I do, I can see that some people react disappointedly, but that’s perfectly normal and nothing I spend too much time pondering about.
Can you tell us if and how the deviantart artists have influenced your creatively and the importance of participating in an artist community?
The feedback I got from other users on deviantArt kept me going when I was still new to digital art. They have always been there as a source of motivation and I have learned a great deal from studying other artists’ work. Sadly, deviantArt has changed over the years. I feel social media elements have grown in importance. The site is looking to appeal to a broader audience and thus has become more of a facebook clone than a website merely for artists (be it professional or hobby).
Where do you show your work and where can fans view your portfolio?