Interview with Djembe & Canvas, an Up and Coming Artist

I met Djembe the second to last day of CES at a booth, which was showing his art on their product. I was walking around and just looking at random products and I noticed a painting of Raijin, Japanese God of Thunder and Storm. And those that know me, I am a big fan of Japanese culture. I was amazed at the picture and I was glad to know that the artist was there and found out that he is an otaku. I had a chance to interview him, so here it is.

Nerd Reactor: How did you get your start?

Djembe & Canvas: It all started with teaching. I began teaching children art a few years back.  From their unrestricted creativity I discovered growth and possibilities.  I’ve started painting more ever since.  Children are truly free artists and I find a lot of inspiration in supporting and encouraging their imagination.

Who or what is your influence for your art?

Gustav Klimt & Utagawa Kuniyoshi to name a few.  Plants influence me a great deal.  I like to observe flowers.

Traveling also influences my direction a great deal.  For the paintings of Fujin & Raijin, I visited temples in Kyoto & Nikko and explored how artists back then expressed the energy embodied in these larger-than-life deities.  I looked into the famous painting by Ogata Korin as a source of inspiration.  While visiting the burial of Tokugawa Ieyasu, I encountered these magnificent sculptures of the two gods.  From that point on I decided to paint my own interpretation.

How did you get introduced to your influence?

Mostly through books & traveling.  But I prefer the latter because art moves you so much more when you’re standing in front of it.  From artists of the past & today I draw inspirations for my personal development.  So in a way, all those who dedicate their lives to creating & expressing art influence my canvas in some way.

Have you thought of starting a book of your art?

For that I believe I have to earn my way.  That’ll take time.  But I feel a book is more a retrospect of an artist’s full body of work, from the early days to the full, mature form.  And I’ve barely just started!  I’m still young and have so much room for improvement.

But that’d be nice if one day others can appreciate my work that way.

Have we seen your work in books or ads?

No.  But hopefully soon 😉

Did you always want to be an artist?

I believe so.  I can’t say for sure if I always did but I definitely have always gravitated towards anything that involved creativity, design, and sensible aesthetics.

And then I learned it’s more of a lifestyle.  Ever since I’ve been more content.

If you were not an artist today, what would you be doing now?

I’d be learning how to paint so I can grow into one.

Are you a geek, nerd, or other? I ask this because when we last spoke at CES, we talked about mangas and animes.

Haha, how about a freak!?

Speaking of mangas and animes, do you attend conventions?

Yes, I usually attend E3 & Comic Con.  When we met at CES, I’ve only started painting at conventions.

Also during our talk at CES we spoke of tattoos. You had a couple on you and I just got my first one. Do you design all your tattoos?

Yes, I feel they have to be personal.  I designed them, and my mentor RED inked them in.

Thank you for your time and best of luck to you. I will definitely keep and eye on you.

If you are interested more of his work please visit his website: www.djembeandcanvas.com. And I want to thank Djembe & Canvas for his time.

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Jose Gutierrez III
Jose Gutierrez III 705 posts

Jose Gutierrez III is an IT tech by day and nerd by night.