DO YOU HAVE ANY FORMAL ARTISTIC TRAINING? IF SO, WHERE?
I took summer art workshops during high school and studied fine arts in college.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ARTISTIC TOOL?
HAVE YOU ALWAYS KEPT A SKETCHBOOK, OR WAS CREATING YOUR SKETCHBOOK A TOTALLY NEW ENDEAVOR FOR YOU? DID YOU ENTER THE SKETCHBOOK PROJECT WITH CERTAIN GOALS, OR WAS IT MORE OF AN EXPERIMENTAL EXPERIENCE?
I’ve kept some sketchbooks, but the Sketchbook Project experience was something different. It was like I was trying to complete a whole picture book, filling it up with drawings on one theme. It was fun and challenging, and knowing that a stranger would be looking at my sketchbook, I really had to make each page look interesting and fun.
WHAT DOES YOUR ARTISTIC PROCESS ENTAIL? ARE THERE CERTAIN INSPIRATIONS YOU HOLD DEAR, OR MATERIALS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?
It’s easy for me to get inspired by random things I see and experience every day. Dreaming is another thing I couldn’t live without; I get some of my ideas from dreams. Daydreaming also helps me create stories inside my head and put them on a blank sheet. I usually do this while walking or commuting, like my brain is having a different kind of joyride.
ARE THERE CERTAIN THEMES THAT RECUR THROUGHOUT YOUR WORK? DESCRIBE ANY VISUAL OR CONCEPTUAL ELEMENTS THAT YOU FIND CENTRAL TO YOUR PROCESS.
The weird stuff, zombies, and strange creatures can be seen in most of my work. I feel like it’s more fun and easy to create these if you only have pens and a sketchbook with you, playing with details, creating your own weird patterns for your zombie or weird skin for your creatures. It’s pretty rad experimenting with your skills and style with these subjects.
HOW DOES YOUR PERSONAL BACKGROUND OR GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION TIE INTO YOUR ARTISTIC PRACTICE?
I think my personal background has more to do with my artistic practice than my geographic location. I can live in different places and still do the same thing over and over again. Maybe there will be a few changes, but not that many. I’m an expat. I’ve been doing this since before I came here to Dubai. I just love to create and see my imagination come to life through drawing. There are times when I’m out and I can’t wait to go home and sketch what my head just popped out. I love to draw.
The Sketchbook Project World Tour by Steven Peterman and Sara Elands Peterman is available from:
The Williamsburg Brooklyn-based Sketchbook Project boasts a community of seventy thousand active artists. It has been featured by the New York Times, New York magazine, CNN, the Washington Post, Flavorpill and PBS, among others.