Artist Denis Mayer Jr - AIC Interview

Artist Denis Mayer Jr. paints wildlife art of animals in their environment, with incredible realism.
His favourite quote is “Nature never goes out of style” – Unknown author.

Denis is a professional artist, living in British Columbia. In a world where technology and stress goes at full speed nature will always bring good feeling to our mind and soul. He says, “Wildlife has always been fascinating for me, the perfection of each element is beyond what humans can comprehend. I love nature the way it was created and for me realism is the best way I can return respect to the creator and it’s nature.”

Denis Mayer Jr. has a personal website to view all his art. Please click here: DenisMayerJr.com


Question:
When did you realize you had the need to create and develop your skills?
Answer:
I would say since the day I was old enough to realize that I could make some doodling on a piece of paper and this would be left up to my imagination and creativity to create whatever I wanted to. I believe I never decided to be an artist, this is how I was born and what I was meant to be.

Question:
Right now, what is your medium of choice and what is your favourite subject matter?
Answer:
I have used Gouache for many years. I started using gouache at the beginning of my career when I used to do architectural renderings and needed an opaque medium that would work best and gouache was the solution for me. So it was natural for me to keep using gouache for my wildlife art. For me it is the very best medium to create great textures at it's best that we see in nature. Gouache[p](/ɡuːˈæʃ/; French: [ˈɡwaʃ]), also spelled guache, is a type of paint in the category watermedia consisting of pigment, a binding agent (usually gum arabic), and sometimes added inert material, designed to be used in an opaque method. It also refers to paintings that use this opaque method. Wildlife has always been fascinating for me, the perfection of each element is beyond what humans can comprehend. I love nature the way it was created and for me realism is the best way I can return respect to the creator and it's nature.

Question:
All artists at all stages of their career want to try something new, what other medium or subject matter do you see yourself experimenting with?
Answer:
I've always wanted to try using color pencil. I love using graphite and therefore I think I could be good at it. Most of the time it's just a matter of getting off our comfort zone and try it.

Question:
Continuing education, do you partake and if so what did you learn?
Answer:
N/A

Question:
Have you ever taught a class or done an artist talk? If so, what did you talk about or teach? Can people sign up for your workshops and how?
Answer:
I have taught an art class of 17 students through Airbrush Action in Las Vegas years ago but I have to admit I did not like my experience too much outside of visiting Vegas. It was the kind of experience that I promised myself I'd never do again for the simple reason that I love to paint in my studio and prefer not doing too much of the public teaching. However I enjoy teaching one on one at my studio when the occasion rise. I find it more comfortable and I also can go straight to the point without trying using fancy words or being someone else.

Question:
Have you ever painted en plein air? What was the biggest hurdle for you? Environmental challenges, wildlife, people, weather?
Answer:
I have never painted in plein air yet. My style of painting requires a good comfortable work place to paint and a lot of time. For me plein air is great to make some quick study sketches and to absorb the moment to influence my paintings. However I always had in mind to go in plein air and do a quick knife painting of an old barn just to brake loose and be free with the paint.

Question:
Do you do commissions? If so, what is your process?
Answer:
This is my commission process: Denis is happy to accept commissions and in fact most of his original work is commissioned. However, please be aware that there are certain guidelines that must be accepted by potential clients. The client can decide on the subject matter in relation to the animal(s) required as the main subject(s) and can discuss with Denis what kind of setting would be preferred and from that Denis will create a rough-up/montage which he feels is appropriate and with which he is comfortable for presentation to the client. Both parties can then discuss any changes required and hopefully come to an agreement. Since Denis’s name will be on the finished product, he retains the right to disagree with suggestions that in his view will spoil the picture and reduce its value both aesthetically and monetarily. Once the two parties reach an agreement on the presentation in general terms, a deposit will be required before the work can proceed. The timeline to completion will be very approximate since Denis will take whatever time he feels is necessary to produce a work of art with which he is completely satisfied. As the work progresses he will make any changes he feels necessary to portray the work in the best possible light and so the client must agree to give Denis the artistic licence he needs since he is the expert in these things and that is why his work is in great demand. In no way must he feel pressured to complete the work within a set period of time, because pressure would spoil the whole experience and result in an inferior work that Denis would rather destroy than release. Depending on the size and composition of the work, it can take from six months to a year to complete but when it is, you the client have in your possession a true work of art that others will envy. Upon completion of the work, Denis will present it to the client and at that time get a signed release from the client along with the remainder of the monies owed. The release form will include an acknowledgement that the copyright is retained by Denis and therefore the client cannot copy/reproduce the work in any form by any means whereas Denis can. The original will belong entirely to the client and Denis will no longer have any claim on it. The client may at his/her discretion lend the original for exhibition purposes if so asked.

Question:
What is your favourite art related quote?
Answer:
"Nature never goes out of style" - Unknown author. In a world where technology and stress goes at full speed nature will always bring good feeling to our mind and soul.

Question:
Do you have a favourite artist and what do you like about their art? Have you ever met them?
Answer:
I discovered the art of Mr.Carl Brenders in 1992 and I was so impressed on how he would paint every single blade of grass. Being young at the time I would make a detour on my way to work early in the morning just to stand in front of the gallery window and would study every square inch of the red fox painting called " Full House". It was hard for me at the time to comprehend such skill but at the same time something inside me knew that this was the kind of realism I would be comfortable with it was just a matter of time and tons of practice of course. I got to meet Mr. Brenders for the first time in 2003 and I was honored to receive his critics on my painting. And will always keep his beautiful quotes about how much he loved my work. I also still remember when he turned his head looking at me and said "O la la! We think the same"

Question:
Where do you gather your inspiration from?
Answer:
Mr. Brenders' art has been the greatest influence to my work until I started to fly on my own and develop my own style. As an artist it is good to be inspired by other great art but the key it to be yourself and to not limit your skill by trying to be someone else.

Question:
Where do you typically create art?
Answer:
I created a very nice rustic studio in my house where I create my art. I love being able to have the privilege in working at home and also be close for my family at all time. I like to keep my studio very clean and organized and sometime I need to stop working and spend time cleaning before I go back to my painting.

Question:
How do you know when your art is complete?
Answer:
A painting is never really finished but I reach a point where I need to call it DONE. I get to a level when I know that I've been honest with myself in doing the best I can do and the rest is evolution as years goes by.

Question:
What is most challenging to you when starting a new project?
Answer:
The most challenging part for me when I start a painting is to get rid of the white from the board. Simply because white is not always inspiring and it's hard at time to control the values against such a strong white background. Once the board is somewhat covered then I can really start creating the painting and feel good about the harmony of colors.

Question:
What advice would you give to an artist starting out?
Answer:
I guess it depends of the style but first of all it requires a lot of passion, love, patience and observation.

Question:
What keeps you going forward with your art in this very competitive industry?
Answer:
Well I can't really say that my work is more original than anyone else out on the market. I simply paint nature because I love it and I would say details is my strength. I don't really worry about competition when I paint.

Question:
In your studio, right now, what is your most important tool that you would be lost without?
Answer:
The airbrush is the tool that I use the least and yet I really need to use it for what it brings in my work. It gives great under layers effects for the fur texture.

Question:
What is your favourite piece of work you have created, thus far?
Answer:
Very hard to say but so far none of my original paintings has hurt me to let go except the large painting of the lion called "Fearless Warrior" Something about that original painting that got me and still does.

Question:
What is the most well received piece of art you have created?
Answer:
"Patience is Rewarding" This was the most well received original painting so far. I was commissioned by an older couple who could really appreciate the details in this piece, and up to this day they believe that he's got the best painting I have ever created so far. We actually became good friends and have great time when we get to meet.

Question:
Do you have a favourite gallery or museum that you visit?
Answer:
Not really.