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Chris Buzelli graduated from Rhode Island School of Design. After he moved to New York City and began his career as an illustrator. He currently teaches at SVA and RISD. His editorial work has been featured in The Rolling Stone, TIME, The New York Times, Playboy, Entertainment Weekly, Newsweek and many more. Some of his Ad Clients include Macys, Sony Facebook, United Airlines, Urban Outfitters and others.
I am choosing Chris as the illustrator I am going to research and write a report on for my illustration class. I am in love with his work. He has a specific style that I am immediately drawn to and inspired by.
This assignment consisted of contacting the illustrator of your choice and asking him intriguing questions about him/her self as an artist and about his/her artwork. Since the end of the semester is approaching I am swamped with work to get done. I will post the Q&As and my final paper for anyone who is interested in reading it.
I hope you are as impressed with his work as I am. And like always if you want to see more of his work that I didn’t post here you could check out his personal website.
Like I said about a month ago, I would include my finished essay on the phone conversation I had with Chris. If you’d like to take the time to read it, here it is. (:
A few months ago I purchased a copy of the Society of Illustrators: 54th Annual of American Illustration. It took me some time to look through it because it was so easy to find myself getting stuck in one area of the book. I could easily dedicate myself to exploring 5 pages a day and really look at the artwork. The illustration I stumbled upon was an advertisement poster for ICON7. It was a collaboration between two artist; which wasn’t a common occurrence throughout the manual. This piece was done by two artist by the name of Chris Buzelli and Jessica Hische. First I googled Jessica and I thought her work was appealing. Then I googled Chris and I was captivated enough to look at every piece he had displayed on his website. I got the feeling of true inspiration.
I was excited to see that on his website he listed his phone number for anyone who wanted to contact him directly. I gave it a shot and called him one afternoon. I was pleasantly surprised when he answered and I explained to him why I was calling. He said he would love to talk and answer any questions I had. While we were talking I realized that the questions I had prepared to ask him, were better on paper. I could tell after I asked him my first question on the list, “What motivated you to pursue art as your career?”, that he wasn’t going to have these answers for me off the top of his head. I could understand that because after I actually thought about it, that could be a tough answer. It was a cookie cutter question.
After I put the embarrassment behind me, I wanted to keep a good flowing conversation because he was actually very easy to talk to. Chris graduated from Rhode Island School of Design in 2005. He said he got lucky with buying his apartment in Easy Village NYC in 1996. He got used to commuting to school and continues to commute to Rhode Island once a week to teach. Where he lives is where we works and he finds that comforting. It is not a financial strain to have to rent out two different locations and he gets to work in the comfort of his own home. Which I don’t think anything gets better then that. Along with the fact that he is living in a part of the city that 90% of professional illustrators live. He has no choice to be immersed in the art culture.
I asked Chris what other artists inspired him enough that led him to the style that he creates. He started by saying that he tries not to let other artists inspire him to much. It is always good to have inspirations but especially with illustrations, they have to come directly from your own mind. I think that is what makes a true illustrator. Chris did say that his most memorable inspiration was an artist named Paul Cadmus. He illustrated The Seven Deadly Sins in a neurotic way that greatly stood out to Chris. He said after looking at this piece a light bulb went off in his head and that was his first click into realizing that this is something he wanted to do. By what Chris was saying I got the idea that he choose illustration as a career because he knew he had the skill for it and took the first step by studying it in school. He knew that he had to make it work because there was no other option. That is exactly how I feel about choosing the path that I have as a graphic designer. There was no other option and I plan to make it work for me. I really appreciated Chris sharing the honest truth me with.
One of my final questions was how long it took him to master his style. After I asked that I immediately added that everything is probably a work in progress. Chris said it took him seven to ten years working at it. It takes time to establish a real businesses as an illustrator. Which is something I could understand as a graphic designer. At one point, Im going to have to make the decision between working for a company or working on my own. If I choose to work for myself it is definitely going to take time to establish a profitable business.
I finished up the conversation with the question I felt the best about asking. It was if he had one piece of advise to give to an artist like me, who found his work mind blowing. I thought his response was funny and true. He said he is a teacher and he hates giving advise. He said he is not Doctor Phil. Which is probably something I would say if someone randomly asked me for quick advise. Advise isn’t always easy to give.
Overall I was pleased with our conversation and the whole experience made my day. Chris is an easy going illustrator living the life in New York City. I admire his accomplishments and I hope to be as successful as him one day.