Van Heusen X MR
WHAT ELEMENTS INSPIRE YOUR EXUBERANT ARTWORKS?
It might sound weird but the works come naturally to me, they’re very spur of the moment, there’s always the ocean, surfing and skating, and a sense of humour. They are a mashup of all the things that make me, me. Colour is vital to me. It started as pastel shades that my childhood, now as I evolve the colours are changing.
WHEN YOU ARE DEVELOPING YOUR OWN STYLE, HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN YOU’RE ON THE RIGHT TRACK?
That’s the hardest part, to find a distinct style, but when you do find your niche, that’s the success of art, that’s when the journey begins. You want to put all your heart and soul into it. Like a lot of kids, I always had this attachment to Where’s Wally, and I found myself drawing these little cartoon figures surfing and skating. It just felt so right because it had a connection to my childhood and to what I do today.
IS YOUR ARTISTIC STYLE ECHOED IN YOUR FASHION CHOICES?
Maybe, I don’t know. My fashion sense is a little weird, I tend to follow a 90’s surf vibe, and sometimes run things by my girlfriend. I like basic pieces, like white T-shirts and black jeans, paired with colourful socks, caps and maybe even a bright bow tie for a dressier occasion. I’ve never really worn suits, but these ones feel pretty good.
WHO DO YOU LOOK TO FOR ADVICE?
My dad, if only for the fact that he always tends to disagree with what I say. As a mentor, he has never held back from offering constructive criticism of my work, which motivates me to go back to the drawing table and make it better. He’s led me down the right path for sure.
IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF BEING A MENTOR TO CHALLENGE THAT PERSON?
I think so. Many people see mentors as someone who always feeds them positive energy and tells them what they want to hear. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I find the honesty better.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
It’s a cliché but follow your dreams. It’s a good one because a lot of us have dreams about pursuing creative endeavours. Many people feel like they don’t have a creative bone in their body, but they just don’t know how to use it. When I started out, making art wasn’t something that I viewed as a career. It was just fun until I figured out that it could be more. It’s important to do what feels right, to go with your gut instinct, to follow your dreams.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS?
For me, it’s about being happy with what you’re doing. It’s about seeing the world in colour and trying to make other people happy as well. All of my friends, whether they’re pro-surfers, pro-skaters or creatives making movies, are following their dreams. In my definition of success, creativity is key and it pushes you to want to do more.