31 year old Indianapolis resident, Joseph Crone has mastered photorealism with Prismacolor Colored Pencils. With a BFA in illustraton and studio drawing from Herron School of Art and Design, Crone depicts scenes inspired by ”film noir
.” Creating a narrative, he “mimicks the idea of a still frame within a movie.” Previously inspired by David Lynch
films, capturing both the physiological and psychotic, he now focuses on creating subject matter that is more situational, such as suspense.
What inspired you to become an artist?
Actually, at a very young age when most impressionable, I followed my brother around in his footsteps, drawing whatever and whenever he did. Typically drawing from things such as action figures to videogame booklets since we lived in country and didn’t have the distraction of cable. I recreated the world around me that has remained an important factor in my work up to this point. As far as most influential artists go, both masters and contemporaries, include Caravaggio
, Kent Bellows
& Gregory Crewdson
Do you consider yourself an illustrator or fine artist? Is there a difference?
I personally feel that there is such a blurred line between the two categories since both create art. I would consider myself a fine artist if I had to choose a category only because of who purchases my work. In my view, illustrators create work specifically for their buyers usually for commercial use, whereas fine artists create their work that is then put on the market for purchase by any buyer. This question always seems to create tension, so hopefully I answered it without causing any. The word “fine” probably doesn’t help with the argument either.
Much of your work is in black and white, so when you use color does it play a specific role in your art?
Working in black & white is intentional 100% of the time in order to intensify the narrative while producing a certain nostalgia that goes along with the film noir genre. An added perk to working in this black & white fashion while drawing on frosted acetate is that it allows me to create a somewhat ghostly effect that also parallels the cinematic quality of old film. Rarely do I use color in my work for the reasons above, but when I have in the past, it is to test the limits of my drawing surface. The acetate that I use is frosted on both sides, so when I finish the black & white drawing on the front layer, I’m able to then decide whether I want to “colorize” it or not by using the back side. This also creates more depth in the drawing by layering additional blacks, whites, and/or color, especially when drawing in a circular fashion as I do.
Your work is hyper-realistic. What would you reply to those who say, “Why not just photograph?”
“Why not just photograph” is always an interesting conversation to have. I do start with a solid photograph before diving into the drawing, but tricking the eye has always been something that I’ve strived for, even at a young age. That “wow” effect never gets old to me. Looking at what you first believe is a photograph and then realizing that it is actually handmade gets me giddy. I want people to feel the same way when coming across my work. This is definitely a shortened answer to the question, but you get the general idea.
What is your dream job?
For the most part, what I’m doing now is my dream job; creating work on my own time. The only thing I would change is the need to earn supplemental income through server gigs and whatnot that interrupt the creative process. That’s a ways off though. I have however learned to appreciate every step of the way, keeping me grounded.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue a career in fine art/illustration?
Always be humble and never give up. I’m constantly reminding myself that there will always be someone greater at what I do. This keeps me hard at work and striving to better myself as an artist. There’s also a quote by Van Gogh that I have taped to my drawing board saying, “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” And lastly, take your work seriously. If you don’t, no one in the art world will. These are just a few things that float around in my noggin on a daily basis.
If you could have one super power what would it be and why?
Superman’s sight that would allow me to view things at an atomic level. I wouldn’t have any need for my silly jeweler’s magnifying glasses that fit uncomfortably on my head.
Favorite Prismacolor product:
By far Black Prismacolor Verithin colored pencil. The only pencil I live by.
Finish this sentence, “I am…”
I am in need of a good nap.
To see more work by Joseph Crone visit his website.