Today is Monkey + Seal's 7 year anniversary, so we'll be taking the day off to celebrate. We've decided to massage our own egos by writing up this little FAQ to appease all your burning Monkey + Seal questions!
PS - It's also Seal's birthday! Happy birthday Seal!
Question: How long have you been painting?
Seal: I started dabbling about twelve years ago, but I didn't really paint seriously until about three years ago as of this Spring.
Monkey: I used to draw on my face with crayola markers when I was three, but I didn't start seriously pursuing painting until my Still Life class in 2009.
Q: How did you get to where you are? Did you go to school?
M: A long, round-about way of going to UC Berkeley to study chemical engineering, then realizing that I loved theater, then realizing that I love visual arts and storytelling even more, then going back to school for a second Bachelor's degree in illustration at the Academy of Art in SF. Along the way, I switched my major to Biology (which influences how I think of anatomy and creature design), got a job at a craft store that got me into the SF Zine Fest and the crafting world, and found out how cool silkscreen printing is. Also, lots and lots of support and help from friends who I've met along the way.
Actually, this is such a formidable question that I might post a lengthier answer in the near future.
S: I always knew I wanted to be an artist - I was a big fan of animation and film. After giving up my dream several times, I finally went back to art school in 2007, and finished in 2010.
Q: What made you go back to school?
S: I felt, at that time, that it was "now or never" and wasn't happy where I was. I didn't want to regret not pursuing art, so I made the choice to return to school. I needed structure in my learning because I really didn't have the foundation skills to really learn on my own.
M: My drawing skills were totally lame. I nearly BS'd my way into a painting MFA program without having painted in my life, but I ended up opting for the longer, harder route of actually learning how to use color, render form, tell a story, learn composition, etc. etc. etc. Thus, I knew I needed an ass-kicking structure that would teach me how to put what I see in my head down on paper.
Q: Why do you call it a "Art Cave?"
S: Because our house is cold!
M: Our apartment is dark (we get no direct sun at all) and we live on the bottom floor of a two-story Victorian. Upstairs sounds like there are rabid beasts trampling around, so I imagine this is what it is like to be in a cave. Also, we have so much stuff it sometimes feels like we're in this dark cavern of art supplies.
Additionally, our Art Cave is also the place in our head where we hide from life, as it can be easier sometimes to just squirrel away and make art rather than deal with people, obligations, work, etc. etc. etc.
Q: Seal, what is Monkey like at home? Monkey, what is Seal like away from the public?
S: Monkey does silly dances and grows six tentacles and is typing and screenprinting and is reading a book all at the same time.
M: Seal likes to play in the bath, and likes her chai tea while she paints and plays Japanese television shows in the background. She also makes cute, funny noises.
Q: Who is Monkey? Who is Seal? Why?
S: It's always the other one.
M: What does that even mean Seal? Anyway, I'm Rick, Eve is Seal, or vice-versa, whatever, and it's because I (Rick) looked like a Monkey in his baby pictures. Eve looked like a baby seal when she was little. Thus, Monkey + Seal.
Q: Does Seal like fish? Does Monkey eat bananas?
S: I like goldfish (the crackers) only. Save the tuna!
M: Surprisingly, I'm not a huge fan of bananas. I love banana-flavored candy and artificial flavoring, but I'm not huge of bananas. I do eat them, as they're a great source of Potassium and are great for being on-the-go, but yeah, I like lots of other fruit way more.
Q: What was your biggest challenge to being an artist?
S: Feeling like I want to master everything quickly but realizing that you're at the level that you are at, and that there is always more for you to learn.
M: Learning that there are no short-cuts. You just have to practice, practice, and practice some more. Then, when you're all exhausted from practicing, you gotta do it again. And again. And again...
Q: What mediums do you use?
S: Acrylic, gouache, pastels, and my favorite being Painter X. Wait, that's not true, it's Painter and acrylics together.
M: I primarily use acrylics (with gloss medium) for all my fine art stuff, and digital (Photoshop) for most of my illustration and design work. I actually really don't like Illustrator, but I am slowly learning to embrace Painter. I'm also starting to try and use acrylics for my illustrations, but have yet to really finish a piece that way.
Q: How do I get an art job?
S: Learn the foundations, and practice. Reach out. The world doesn't know what you're doing unless you tell them and surprisingly, someone will hear you.
M: Practice like a nutjob. Read as much as you can on marketing. Learn how to sell yourself. Constantly look for opportunities and take as many as you can without killing yourself. Oh yeah, and never stop the practicing.
Q: Any last thoughts?
S: If you choose to pursue art, it's a long road, but it's rewarding. You have a unique voice, so there is always something to contribute to this world - to art.
M: I really talk a lot. I also like watermelon, and regardless of what I like, you should embrace your inner artist and make sure that you do something creative today. Small steps make a big difference, and remember: there are no shortcuts to greatness.