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Zara Alfonso is a Canadian artist with a passion for the environment, who will be attending college to get a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts in September 2012. Aside from the adorable illustrations in Zara’s DeviantART gallery, she has also started to work with another artist on Memoir du Lune, a role-playing game that is still a work in progress.
ToonariPost (TP): How and when did you first start practicing your art (are you traditionally trained or self-taught)?
Zara Alfonso (ZA): I’ve been drawing and doing other artistic things for as long as I can remember. I probably started when I was around two or three years old. I’m mostly self-taught, but have taken various art classes throughout my life and am going to be getting my bachelors in fine arts.
TP: What mediums do you use for your art work? Which is your favorite and why?
ZA: I generally draw and paint digitally with Paint Tool Sai and Adobe Photoshop, and do my concept work and sketches with pencil. I never limit myself to one medium though, I love to paint with watercolors and acrylics, use pencil crayons, sculpt with clay and wood, and pretty much make artwork with anything I can get my hands on.
That being said, my favorite medium is pencils. The concept, the initial sketches and all the ideas that go into a finished piece of artwork are, for me, all done with pencil, and are my favorite part, and so I’ve come to love pencils equally as much!
TP: What piece of your work is your favorite and why? Which one are you most proud of?
ZA: I’m always falling in love with my newest pieces of artwork and the ones that are still in progress. Right now I’m most proud of a piece that I finished a few days ago titled “Unless”. I’m proud that I was able to spread awareness and information about little everyday things people can do to help take better care of the planet.
I’m also really proud that I inspired four other artists to draw pieces and share the information as well. I’m also very happy with how the piece itself turned out! My favorite piece of mine at the moment is “Hello There Little One”. Even though it’s doesn’t have any color, I fell in love with the contrast and composition of it.
TP: When you first started did you ever hit any bumps in your art process. What were they and how did you overcome them?
ZA: About two years ago is when I decided I wanted to become serious about my artwork, to improve as much as I could and possibly follow it as a career path. So after making that decision I’d say my art process was nothing but bumps. I don’t think I’d be able to go through that process of artistic growth again, so I’d say the enthusiasm of youth helped me overcome it! I’m much more confident now, but I’m always trying out new techniques and improving, it’s still a very big work in progress for me.
TP: Who or what are your inspirations and why?
ZA: I get inspired by so many different things that have powerful messages; music, books, movies, friends, family, other artists and especially nature. I’d say that Yenqing Yan‘s artwork and messages, and Peter Tennant, who is a very good friend of mine, are my two biggest inspirations right now. I get inspired by so many different things that I always have hundreds of times the amount of ideas that I could ever use.
TP: Have you ever had to deal with a situation where someone else took credit for your work? What did you do to resolve it? How did this art theft make you feel?
ZA: Unfortunately, this has happened on a pretty regular basis for me. For more minor things like a person uploading my art to or on a site, I can usually ask them or the site to take it down. I have had a few occasions where I’ve had to contact companies and commercial sites, but luckily nothing too big has happened. Whenever somebody takes credit for something I’ve done, or tries to make a profit from my work, it makes me feel pretty sad.
TP: What is your favorite subject to draw and why?
ZA: I love to design new characters, creatures and environments and I’m especially fond of the fantasy genre at the moment. I also really love to draw things with strong concepts, especially ones involving environmental issues.
TP: What has sparked your interest in environmental issues? Any ones in particular that you feel strongly for?
ZA: Peter Tennant is my biggest inspiration; he’s a local musician, hobby photographer, environmentalist and also my half-sister’s father. He’s always trying to make the world a better place, and he never gets discouraged, even when people don’t share his views. When I was little, he always encouraged my love for art, and as I’ve gotten older he’s been my inspiration to try to make positive changes through my artwork. As for the environmental issues that I feel strongly for, deforestation and ocean pollution are the two that I am particularly passionate about.
Image Courtesy of Hirukio