Imaging blinking for half a second and finding the world painted with a twist in a magical wonderful way which provides you with a different perspective than what you have known all your life. It was an ordinary day when one of our staff members noticed an instagram heart “liking” one of our images… and what do you know, it was Mr. Clifford Faust! We felt honored! It was interesting because we get thousands of likes and inquiries to our account but it was that specific one which captured our staff member’s attention. Human Diaries wrote to Mr. Faust and he was generous and kind enough to allow us to interview him.
Mr. Faust was born in Oklahoma, raised in Oregon, and now works and lives in New York City. He is inspired by many artists such as Bernie Fuchs, Mark English, the French Impressionists, Van Gogh, Gustav Klimt, and Egon Schiele, and especially his idol Mr. Jack Potter. Mr. Faust’s art? Vivid & genuinely astonishing to say the least. We invite you to join us in this fascinating interview with Mr. Faust.
Hi Clifford. Thank you for agreeing to interview and share your story with our readers.
Q: How long have you been an artist, and what inspired you to become one? Do you enjoy it?
A: I have always loved to draw. I broke my leg in the 3rd grade, so while I was laid up in bed I would entertain myself by drawing. (from magazine; from life) mostly people doing things.
I loved the early Disney animated films like Peter Pan, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and was inspired by many of Disney’s films. I became The kid in school who decorated the blackboard for the Holidays (like drawing a turkey and the Pilgrims for Thanksgiving)
I love being an artist. It makes me happy.
Q: What type of education and training did you need to do what you do?
A: I took art classes in grade school, studied drawing and painting in college, and went to an art school (Art Center College of Design) where I found “my people” (interested in the same things I was interested in). I majored in Illustration at Art Center and had some marvelous instructors and was turned on to some of the fabulous artists of the past. (DeGas, Lautrec, Bonnard, Klimt, Shiele, Vallatton) It was at Art Center where I became aware of some of the great illustrators of the day. (Bernie Fuchs, Mark English, Bob Peak).
When I started my career as an illustrator in New York, I discovered Jack Potter teaching evening classes at the School of Visual Arts. Through Jack’s classes I really improved my drawing and developed a style of my own (mixed media cut-paper collage) He made me aware of Fashion Illustration and turned me on to some of the greats (Eric, Bouche, Gruau, Block, Greenhill, Blossac).
Q: What role does an artist have in society today?
A: I think the role of the artist is to observe and inspire. Turn people on to something beautiful.
Share your vision.
Q: What differentiates your art?
A: I hope my art is different because of my drawing. I love color and good composition, but it is the drawing that captures a little bit of soul and makes the art interesting.
Also I like to combine traditional art skills with digital (photoshop).
Q: Do you enjoy some art forms more than others?
A: I love the great Fashion Illustrators as well as some of the great painters of the past.
Q: What is your favorite place to work?
A: I like working in my apartment. I have several work areas (turned my kitchen into a painting room).
Almost every morning I like to have my coffee in a hotel lobby and sketch people. Hotel lobbies are filled with all kinds of activity (Business meetings, job interviews, tourists waiting for the shuttle bus, ladies having lunch).
Also on nice days Central Park is a great place to draw.
Q: Do you have any advice for someone thinking of becoming an artist?
A: My advice to someone thinking about becoming an artist is that you must enjoy the journey!
It is not about just making money. Enjoy your art! Enjoy the little discoveries you make every day about drawing, about trying a new design, about using a new media. Enjoy discovering new artists. It is what turns me on and keeps me interested in art and illustration.
Q: Are you a member of any organization?
A: I go to the Society of Illustrators sketch groups. I especially like Thursday evenings when they have a theme (Burlesque performers, Fashion models and designers, street musicians, “Vanity and Friends” is this man with outrageous costumes).
Q: What have you learned from being an artist all these years?
A: I have learned over the years that being an artist is what makes me happy. Just one sketch can make my day. Even if it is a bad one I can learn from it. I ask myself “What is it that I don’t like about it? What would make it better? What would make it fantastic?” and that is how I learn, and that is what makes me happy.
Q: How has the art business changed since you first started?
A: The art business has changed dramatically since I first started as an illustrator. There is less of it and so much is digital today. That is fine but I really miss the artists who could really draw and paint well with real art supplies. I wish there was more Fashion Illustration. We see thousands of photographs every day and how refreshing it is to see something different – like a wonderful line drawing or some simple splashes of color.
Q: Any humorous stories you want to share with our readers?
A: I remember at one of Jack Potters’s evening classes there was a summer thunderstorm about to hit. Jack announced the premise for the night and suddenly Lighting and Thunder bombarded everything outside. You would have thought God had spoken!
Q: What do you think of Human Diaries?
A: Human Diaries is new to me, but how wonderful it is to see other peoples’ visions and share their joy!