The month of October, Pony Club Gallery presents “Spirit Animal”, a group show celebrating the theme of Spirit Animals. One of the artists featured in this show is May Ann Licudine (she also goes by the nickname Mall). She is a visual artist, sculptor, painter and freelance illustrator living in La Union, Philippines. May Ann has been commissioned for a music album, paintings, murals and advertisements.
1. What attracted you to the field of illustration?
At first, I stopped enjoying doing semi-realistic oil paintings because there was a general lack of interest in them, which can be very disappointing for a struggling artist. So, a close friend – who is also a visual artist – suggested I would do some self-study on illustration. After that, I went to bookstores, and did some research on a lot of children illustration books. It was at that moment that I felt inspired by those utterly brilliant illustrators, and artwork. Since then, I have started creating my own style. At present, I feel blessed, and happy, to be an illustrator, and visual artist, and that it has attracted a new range of clients.
2. What media do you work in and what do you like about working with these set of tools?
I normally use several mediums, from pencil and graphite to acrylic paints. However, I prefer to use pencil more than acrylic paints since it is easier and faster to make a drawing like this. Sometimes, I also make customized toys and sculptures which might require the use of different means. I rarely use watercolor though.
3. What are your favorite brands/tools of the trade?
For drawing, I use Blackwing, Staedtler, CretaColor and Mongol pencils. For painting, I use Golden and Liquitex acrylic paints. For custom toys, I use Magic Sculpt resin epoxy clay and other materials.
4. Can you share your creative process, from initial concept to the finished product?
I would love to. When I am commissioned for a painting, I like to follow closely the clients’ requirements regarding the type of medium, concept/ theme and size they have in mind. Afterwards, I make a few rough sketches or thumbnails, and then show the drawings to the clients so they may tell me what they prefer for the final concept. I only start creating the artwork after that stage is completed. Usually, I finish it within a few days, depending on the complexity of the clients’ wishes.
When I have exhibits with a particular theme or in fact any kind of themes for the paintings, I create personal artworks. However, there are times when I love to draw or paint my final artworks directly.
5. What are some influences and inspirations that have shaped your art?
I am inspired by several illustrators, like Hayao Miyazaki, Winsor McCay, Maurice Sendak, Helen Hyde, Mary Blair, Edward Gorey and Tatsuyuki Tanaka. But wonderful amazing people (family, relatives and friends) whom I love dearly, nature, music, nightmares, and of course God, are always my biggest sources of inspiration.
6. What current projects are you working on?
At this moment, I am working on my custom toy, and small paintings for a client, after I finished creating 21 artworks for my upcoming solo and group exhibition.
7. your images provoke a whimsical, dreamlike atmosphere, is this intentional or a subconscious product of your imagination?
They meant whether the kind of playful and dreamlike atmosphere that I create in my paintings is something that I do on purpose, or without intention, if it just happens while I am painting.
8. Do you have a spirit animal? If so, what is it and why?
Yes, I have, the fox spirit animal. According to spirit-animals.com, this symbol means that, “The solution to a problem is at hand. The Fox spirit is the grand problem solver. She will guide you to solitude and silence until the way out is shown. A healthy combination of persistence and patience will strike a balance that picks apart a problem until it is solved.” That is what has been happening to me for about many years, I have been dealing with some serious health issues, hearing problems, depression/anxiety, being bullied, and some other trials that sometimes we have to go through in life. My graphite drawings reflect these experiences that I have been through so far.
9. Are you superstitious, if so what are some of your superstitions?
No, I am not, actually. Even though my grandmothers, and aunties tell me about their superstitions, I find it hard to believe in these stories :)
You can check out more of May Ann Licudine’s art at http://www.mayannlicudine.com/