An Interview With MyDeadPony

I had the honor to send MyDeadPony some questions about his work…

1. Tell us a bit about yourself....
My name is Raphaël Vicenzi also known as mydeadpony.
I live in Brussels, Belgium and I am represented by colagene.com

2. Did you study Illustration or are you self-taught?

I am self-taught because I started my illustrations work quite late in my  
life.

  3. Can you tell us the thought process behind the name MyDeadPony and how  
you came about choosing it?

I just needed a nickname for deviantart at the time and I add just found  
back an old picture of me, when I was a small child, sitting on a white  
pony. I thought about how the pony was most probably dead and I wasn't,  
hence the sweet & sour name.
It sticked with me after all those years but it's just a nickname after  
all.

4. What category of art do you place your work in? Is it collage? Is it  
illustration? Or is it something else?

It's illustration but I borrow a lot from collage, street art, fashion  
illustration & typography.
It's just a mix of my different influences.

5. What kind of music do you listen to and does it influence your work?

It depends, I don't always work with some music in the background.
I do listen to a lot of different genres though from metal, hip-hop, rock,  
classical to jazz.
I don't know if it really influences my work but it does alter my mood  
when working on a piece

6. I see that you have collaborated with the photographer Nathalie Odette.  
Can you talk a bit about how this collaboration came about and how the  
images produced differ from those that you normally create? Did you enjoy  
collaborating and do you think more people should collaborate?

She contacted me to make a collaboration and I wanted to try something  
else. I thoroughly enjoy to make collage inspired works on pictures, it's  
really fun. It's technically a bit different and I am no trying to create  
the perfect blendings and such. I try to keep it rough and organic.
Collaborations are a tricky thing, at least they are for me but I guess it  
works for some but I prefer to do my own thing in my corner.

7. Who or what inspires you and your work?

Life, books & good art.
Like I said collage, street art, fashion illustration & typography are my  
main sources of inspirations.
I also enjoy a lot of other artists who are usually reblogged on my tumblr  
(http://mydeadpony.tumblr.com/)

8. What is your favourite image you have created and why? (if you could  
include the image as a small jpeg or include a link to the image)

I don't have a specific piece I like best. I am always thinking that I  
will do better the next time. It's always a constant search for something  
new that I could do even though I am always using the same themes.

9. You mix traditional techniques such as watercolour paints with digital  
media. What led you to mix these methods as opposed to using either one or  
the other?

I work mainly in digital but I like the textures and organic feel that  
traditional media brings so I started to make my own textures to use them  
digitally. I am not very sure of what I am doing so it's best for me to  
try out different things and tweak the colours and such on the spot. I  
don't have a studio so I can't really experiment with paint and leave  
everything on the floor so it's a good compromise.

10. Are you surprised that your work is as popular as it is?

Yes for sure. Everyday I am surprised by this. I would never have imagined  
that it would be of interest for so many people. I am really grateful for  
that.

11. How do you market yourself and your art?

My agency does a lot of marketing to find clients and they've been really  
great with me.
My other ways are to post my works on Tumblr or Facebook and participate  
in art books.
I am not very clever when it comes to sell my works, to me that's just  
what I do.

12. How does your personal work differ from the work you do for clients in  
terms of creativity and imagery? Which do you prefer?

They're complementary & very different at the same time.
I learned to compromise to stick to the client's wishes.
I try to make the client happy because I am working for them and I have to  
put my own vision aside to listen to what they have to say.
I am really lucky to have clients asking me to work for them because they  
help me to discover things I would not have thought to do or be able to do.
My personal works are way more experimental and I can say whatever I want  
in them.

13. You are quite prolific. On average, how long does it take to create  
one image?

I guess I am although I have got way more ideas than I have done so far.  
It's just that I don't always have the energy to work more.
Some illustrations are done really fast, in two or three days at most.  
Others can take weeks or months to be finished because I've lost interest  
in them but after a while I come back to them and I realize that it wasn't  
so bad after all.

14. Have you ever thought to produce a book of your work? Would this be  
something you would be interested in doing?

Yes, that would be great. So far it hasn't come to a definite project but  
it's in the air.

15. Where do you source your typefaces from and have you ever created your  
own?

I use a lot of old types found in books or on the net that I redraw  
awkwardly but I also create my own typography by hand but I don't pretend  
to be a font designer at all.
I like more and more to just write words with my own hand-writting even if  
it looks bad.

16. Is there a relationship between the pieces of text to the images in  
your work?

Yes always, they're quite unconscious most of the time but I also derive a  
whole piece out of an idea I just wrote down in a few words. The words are  
a counter point to the image sometimes, to me it's a balancing act that I  
don't control consciously. I do not always put so many words into a piece,  
it really depends on my mood.
It's a personal journal under a visual form.

17. Do you compile research before you create your personal work or are  
your images more spontaneous?

It's spontaneous but I do collect a lot of art images and references to  
come back to when needed.

18. If you choose any artist to collaborate with, who would it be and why?

I don't know really. Someone cool who likes cats.

19. Have you ever exhibited your work in a gallery and do you sell prints  
of your work?

I was part of smaller exhibitions and also for DACS.
I do sell my works online through shops or Etsy.

20. How you define the value of your work?

Well it's a though question, I value my work in the moment, when I am  
working on it, after that it's hard to know, it's out there and I have no  
possibility of taking it all back.
I don't know really, I am just trying to make it all work to the best of  
my abilities.

21. Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?

Check the Ira Glass quote that begins by "Nobody tells this to people who  
are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we  
get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the  
first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good...."
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