Artist Spotlight - Camryn Sheasley
By Angelyn Labadan
1. First, give us a short introduction!
I'm Camryn Sheasley, a Graphic and Interactive Design major at Temple University (main campus) ! I'm originally from Reading, Pennsylvania, and now I live in the Philadelphia area. I studied at Temple University Japan (TUJ) for a semester as a part of a study abroad program and really enjoyed my time working with Uprizine, though I had to leave Tokyo way too soon due to the coronavirus (yikes.) Hopefully I'll be able to come back sometime soon!
1a. Having studied abroad at TUJ for Spring 2020, did you gain any new influences or ideas for your art?
Definitely, that's partially why I decided to study abroad; to gain new perspectives that could help me improve my artwork.
Outside of taking classes exclusive to TUJ, following my the work of my peers and the unique artwork put on display in Tokyo were my main sources of study (and when I say "artwork", I mean anything from fine art to advertisements.
I took a lot of pictures of ads that you'd never find back in the US. I probably looked ridiculous!) I also bought my weight in artist books before scrambling on a plane back home. They've helped me quite a lot.
2. Describe briefly the work that you do.
I dip my toes into a lot of different things, but the bulk of my work deals with illustrating narratives. I don’t consider myself to be much of a writer, so I often take written stories from my peers and turn it into something visual (though I do illustrate my own work sometimes).
While I really like to work with comics, I’ve collaborated with others to also create picture books, web-novels, concept art, and host of other storytelling mediums. Outside of illustration, I'm also interested in UX/UI, web design, and branding, but I've only gotten into those topics recently and don't have a lot of work to show for it yet.
3. How did you get introduced to your craft?
Going to be honest, as a kid, I loved stories but I hated reading. Every time I picked up a book, I had a hard time staying focused and actually comprehending walls of text. Words alone wouldn't click with their intended meaning and tone in my mind, regardless of how many times I would "read" a page.
However, comic books and manga were a little different; by adding images to words, it became easier for me to understand what was going on in the story, alleviating me of the frustrations that came with regular books. I became so enamored with this style of storytelling, I started communicating my own ideas in the
4. What themes do you pursue?
I really enjoy illustrating sci-fi + fantasy, since the rules of "real life" can easily be thrown away and you can basically do whatever you want, but I also like illustrating personal stories and the experiences of others because I believe drawings can convey emotions and ideas to audiences better than words can. Very opposite topics, but I indulge in them both equally.
5. How do you work/what is your process like?
Most of my ideas come very late at night, so I often start by writing down a bunch of ideas on my phone, and then coming back to them at a more reasonable hour.
Ideas that sound great at night can be trash later, so sometimes they are left alone for days, or even weeks until I feel confident enough to work on them.
Once I have an idea, I'll spend a lot of time creating drafts and line-art on a computer to see what looks best, and then move on to the coloring stage if I'm happy with what I've done.
Of course, this process changes depending on deadlines, if it's paid work, or if I’m working with other creators, but not by much.
6. Do you have any long-standing influences?
Hard question. A lot of the illustrations I’ve made in the past have been inspired by the writings of friends or family, so they are probably the strongest influences I have. Outside of that, however, I do look to a lot of my favorite authors/creators for inspiration on how to execute ideas and properly convey certain narratives.
7. How do you want your work to affect your audience?
Because a lot of my work is created with the intentions of communicating a message, I'd like my audience to feel a strong sense of understanding or feel connected when they look at my work, even if the message takes some thinking to figure out.
8. Can you describe your idea of artistic success?
I think I'd be happy if my work was well appreciated, even if by just a small amount of people. After all, what is the point in putting so much hard work into a story if there is no one to tell it to?
9. What are your plans for the future?
Nothing is definite (other than completing my degree) but I'd like to get one of my own stories off the ground and into other people's hands someday. That would be cool!
10. Let’s talk about one of your most recent and favorite projects:
The Weird Ocean Project
The Weird Ocean Project is a series of images exploring negative emotions through oceanic imagery. Though the images are all tied to a specific emotion, I’ve left it up to the viewer to figure out what each work is trying to convey.
How did you came up with this idea?
It kind of started by accident. I made the first image ("All Clammed Up!") back in January of 2020 because I was feeling really overwhelmed at the time, and while I typically delete or hide 'vent art' to avoid the embarrassment that comes with it, I was surprisingly pleased with myself with how it turned out and decided to publish it online.
Over time, I fell into a pattern where whenever I felt bad, I added another image to this project. Soon, I had enough images to really call it a 'series', without me even realizing it. (Technically, it's still an ongoing project!)
Why is this project your favorite?
Each piece requires me to come out of my comfort zone to complete it, but I’m always pleased with how aesthetically attractive the images turn out in the end! I love high-contrast works with a lot of color, and because it’s so tied to my personal feelings, It’s become a very self-indulgent project.
Be sure to connect with Camryn on her instagram @shecamart!
Thank you Camryn for taking the time to talk with us!
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