Chromacon artists speak about their illustrated lives

This Sunday saw the inaugural Chromacon illustration and animation convention hit Auckland City, bringing with it a host of talented illustrators, designers and world creators. As someone whose illustration prowess goes only as far as drawing shaky stick figures, I was awed by all the artwork crammed into Aotea Square. Not so awed that I couldn’t ask a few of the illustrators who caught my eye a question or two.

Erika Pearce (www.facebook.com/page/erika-pearce-artist)

How long have you been illustrating?

Since I could pick up a pen and pencil.

Did you study to be an artist or is it something that bit you when you were younger?

I studied graphic design and AUT, but what I’m doing now is definitely on a different path to that.

Did you ever think illustrating could pay the bills?

Not really until very recently. I was living in Venice Beach in California for a while and it wasn’t until I saw all this art around me that I realised this could be a legitimate thing. It’s very different here in New Zealand.

Alexander L. Brown (www.alexanderlbrown.com)

Do you often get people coming up to you with your illustrations tattooed onto their bodies?

Yah more often than you’d think …  I think it’s awesome to see my work on people. It’s usually that they’re a fan of one of the bands whose covers I’ve illustrated, but it’s still a big buzz.

What were you doing before becoming an illustrator?

I was working at The Warehouse, so this is a big change. I studied graphics and design at school though.

What’s helped you most getting your illustrations and designs out there?

A few years ago I toured Europe with my band [appropriately named Witchrist]and made a lot of great contacts doing that.

Hayley Heartbreak (misshayleyheartbreak.tumblr.com)

What styles or artists do you think influenced your style?

I grew up on rock operas and love that style. I think of myself as a pop culture enthusiast and you can see that in a lot of my work.

Your work was featured by [Chorus] last year as a part of a major promotion in New York last year. How was that experience?

That was great it was amazing to see my work going so far.

What’s it like being in a convention full artists and creators?

A lot of the artists here today are my heroes, so I’ve been going around like a fan girl trying not to drool on people.

Hiyaku Studio (hiyakustudio.com)

How big is Hiyaku Studio?

We have eight people each with our own style – we mostly do manga work.

How did you get into the industry?

We’re mostly self-taught and all have an interest in manga and anime, it just all fit together.

Aki Fukuoka (akiart.co.nz)

What has influenced your style the most?

I like to think of it as a Japanese/ Eastern meets West style  – a lot like myself.

Are you a full time illustrator?

Yes, I never knew when I was younger I could do this full time. It’s amazing.

What’s been your proudest moment working as an illustrator?

I’ve worked on a lot of children’s books, doing illustrations. I have over 75 books published which I’m really proud of.

Josh Nixon (joshnixonart.com)

How long have you been illustrating?

For about five years now, at least how I’m doing it now. I’ve been drawing since before that.

Do you have any artists that you’ve been inspired by?

People tell me a lot of my work has a similar feeling to that of Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki. I think that’s a pretty great compliment.

This post originally appeared on Sim Ahmed’s street photography blog Aucklandia.

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