A little conversation between Aloka and Jeremy Szuder
- Aloka: (Regarding artistic style) What makes a unique human face in your art?
J.S. It is hard to say what catches my eye when I draw my portraits. Sometimes symmetry is what excites me and sometimes it might be the suit, big ears, or even just the emotion I might catch on a person’s face. The human face is the place where architecture resides. I take on the challenge of visual creation with the help of the face and all of its parts as I revel in the satisfaction of bringing them all together inside of that wonderful oval- skull shaped void.
- Aloka: Which part of a human face gives you the most inspiration?
J.S. The eyes always give me the most energy, I want those to fit just right within the face of my portraits, but the eyelids and the eyebrows have just as important of a role too. Really good hair seems to carry the portrait a long way as well. I used to fear the process of drawing hair, but these days I consider it as much a joy as any other part of my work.
- Aloka: How would you like to alter our normal impression of a human face?
J.S. The human face is a canvas in itself. I always want to arrange the parts of the face to tell a different story than what might be there already. Subtlety really makes a huge difference as well, just that ever-so-slight touch of detail on a nose or the lips.
- Aloka: Are your portraits more about real humans, or the unseen parts of people, such as our hidden mentalities?
J.S. A portrait should be capable of representing more than what lies upon the surface of skin. I am content with drawing portraits, anything that comes to mind or anyone I seem to get my hands on. At the end of my shared experience, I just want people to be given the freedom of choosing how they best interpret my work based on their own personal feelings and emotions. My portraits are an attempt to catch a part of the spirit of humanity.
- Aloka: Your work seems to mix the cartoonish with the realistic: who, or what, would you say are your biggest influences?
J.S. I see so much portraiture with the help of social media, and everyone has the ability now to share their works more freely with the world at large. Because I get the chance to see so much art, I honestly believe that we all influence each other in one way or another, even if unintentionally so. I am even influenced by history, by the portraits on currency, the portraits on other peoples walls. It is all fair game.
Aloka: Your portraits have a tendency to look goofy or strange, is that a deliberate choice? Why is that?
J.S. I was raised watching a lot of cartoons on t.v. as a child, I always read comic books and Sunday funnies, I went to Disneyland a lot, I grew up appreciating graffiti culture, commercial art, I skated as a kid so that artwork also had a huge influence.
- Aloka: (Regarding intertextuality) You also work with poetry as well as visual art. How would you say the two feed into and inspire each other?
J.S. I do not think of how my poetry and my art interconnect. In this life, I feel that perhaps that might be an accomplishment better left to someone outside of myself to find the relationship between the two, however, this question has gotten me to thinking about that relationship of words with images and I cannot help but think of some of my favorite artists and how they have done this quite successfully. Therefore, I have made a note to myself upon finishing this very question, that I will begin to experiment with using more poetry into my drawn portraits. Why not?
Aloka: How do you measure the changes of your artistic styles in different forms of art (music, art, poetry, commercial graphic design)?
J.S. The changes happen very naturally. I am in search of a vibe, a strange feeling, a mood that may lean heavily upon the grey listlessness of clouded skies or an uncertain mystery floating in the back of the mind. These places feed the floodgates of my ideas and my energy. These tones of strange are veiled upon the surfaces of my music, art, poetry, and everything else I enjoy doing.
Aloka: (Regarding reality and art) Would you please introduce a city to us that has influenced your artistic style/growth the most? Do you think your professions, as you have tried various professions, help or hinder your creative work and in which way?
J.S. Because I know Los Angeles California, I feel that everything that makes up my DNA is all the same foundation that holds this strange city of angels in place. I have always pushed myself to be super versatile and to always be trying a great many creative things because there is so much of an abundance of creativity happening here in L.A. I work a full time job as a chef and I have been doing that for a long time, so my creative endeavors are all done in my spare time, almost like more of a hobby than a profession. And because I do not have to rely on my art to pay my bills, I feel like I have way more freedom to do my art the way I feel is best and not have to be controlled or told to do things someone else’s way. My art is not for problem solving. My art is for shedding layers of my brain and hopefully sharing those shavings with others who might enjoy understanding this artistic language with me.
Jeremy Szuder is a chef by night and creator of poetry and illustration work by day. His past track record in the arts includes; 15 years as a musician in various bands (drums, vocals), graphic design work for clothing/skateboard companies, 25 plus years of self published Zines, showings of fine art in the underground art scene, a 10 year plus stint spinning vinyl at various events all across the city, and at present time continues to have both illustrations and poems published by over a dozen fine art and literary publications all across the U.S.A. as well as Canada. Jeremy Szuder continues to call Los Angeles California via Glendale his home at present.