MMA SQUARED: 20 questions to the artist behind these four years of editorial cartoons

Hi everyone, I came across this artist quiz and thought it would be fun to share some personal details with you. I hope you will enjoy it.

1. Do you prefer traditional or digital drawing?

I am a traditional artist at heart, pen and pencil or painting on canvas is my way of working.

2. How long have you been drawing?

Drawing since day one, I remember being annoyed that a He-Man vs a Dragon I did in kindergarten wasn’t self-explanatory for the teacher.

3. How many courses have you taken?

I spent five years at two colleges earning a BFA in Studio Art with a minor in Art History. FIT was the Wild West, if you worked, a lot of teachers let you do whatever you wanted. Hunter College was more academically challenging and competitive.

19 years old. So young and innocent.

4. What is your favorite thing to draw?

I love drawing people and using MMA as a theme turns my work into this cool mix of Life Drawing + Court Reporter through the filter of an Animation Keyframe Artist.

5. How often do you use referrals?

I use a ton of reference material for MMA Squared, from Hentai to Leather Daddys to Dorito Chip Texture.

6. What is your least favorite thing to draw?

My least favorite thing to draw are cars. I feel like a child again, stumbling through all angles and shapes.

7. Do you prefer to keep your own art or like to draw for others?

My work is 90% personal. It may not be about my feelings, but it’s what I want to draw. I am more Beethoven than Mozart.

8. Do you sometimes collaborate?

Yes, I collaborate. Early in this cartoon series, Case Harts animated the cartoons and had a big influence on the tone and delivery. Now I mainly collaborate with Josh Rosenblatt who writes essays based on my MMA pieces that relate to art history. We recently compared Rory MacDonald’s PFL race to Auguste Rodin’s Burghers of Calais sculpture.

9. Show a WIP/skit that never saw the light of day

From my series of trees.

10. How long does it take on average to complete a piece?

My best work comes when I do a lot of art and don’t overwork. Probably in the 2-4 hour range for a lot of drawings.

11. Do you draw more today than in the past?

I do more work now than ever before. With MMA Squared I now publish an annual series of art books and essays, the third will be out soon.

12. What are you currently trying to improve?

I am currently trying to improve my portraits and aim to do one a week this year.

13. What is the hardest thing to draw?

The hardest thing for me to draw is beautiful people.

14. What is the easiest thing to draw?

The easiest thing to draw is Dana White. Lately, I drew it like Jean Michel-Basquiat, just for fun.

15. Do you like to challenge yourself?

Even if I feel cowardly some days, yes I challenge myself on a daily basis. If I don’t continue to grow as a person, I am subject to vice.

16. Are you sure you are improving regularly?

I’m at a stage where improvement is happening on a less noticeable level, but it’s leading to breakthroughs. In 2021 I exceeded a personal plateau with this piece.

17. Do you draw in silence or to music?

When I’m very determined, I work in silence, but the music of Charles Mingus is great battle music. I usually listen to it when I do the Live Drawing Threads on Twitter. The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady album, as well as tracks like Moanin and Haitian Fight Song are some of my favorites.

18. For digital art, what program(s) do you use?

Digitally, I’m using Procreate on a refurbished iPad pro with Apple Pencil.

19. For traditional art, which medium do you prefer?

Traditionally, I use storytelling pencil (similar to charcoal) on newsprint to develop ideas. For the finished pieces I use Micron pens and Copic markers for color.

20. Drop your questions in the comments below and I’ll answer them.

Thank you for checking out my work, jokes and drawings, BE has been a wonderful place to become a better artist and supports the production of my The Fine Art of Violence book series. Take care and I’ll talk to you on Monday.


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