Artist Interview: Cannon Dill

December 10, 2013

Your work is invested in the conflict between man and nature--what interests you about this conflict? Is there any environmental aspect to your illustrations?

I started drawing when I was obsessing over folk-tales and exploring nature growing up, so it’s formed a foundation in my style. Especially living in a city that confines me to a daily urban routine, daydreaming of nature helps me build a sense of comfort. In response to man and nature, it seems to be more common for me to have negative encounters with human interactions & lifestyle than with nature & animals. It’s only natural for me to feel fearful of human development. The environmental undertones that are present in my work are just reflections of what I hope to see in the future.

You're also a muralist. How do you approach large scale work, knowing that it will be in constant interaction with the urban population? How does this differ from your traditional illustration?

 Usually when approaching large-scale work, I will look for flaws in the wall that some people might disregard. By doing so I can utilize that for some figure to hide under – or create around the flawed space giving it more life for people to recognize. I try to keep sketching minimal, I’m comfortable working in the moment. There’s definitely a difference from my traditional illustrations vs. the mural work. I enjoy mural work more because it allows me to focus on senses, (Being able to talk with people on the street, weather conditions, city sounds) & movement (being able to throw gestural force into a line standing vs. sitting at a table drawing).

You often work in monochrome. What is your relationship with color? Is there a particular draw black and white holds for you?

 Ah well I wish I could work with color more… I’ve attempted. I’m partially colorblind, so black and white is easier for me to concentrate on. It helps me focus more texturally. Coming from a printmaking background really helped me develop a variety of line weights, which I tend to experiment with. Recently my drawings are becoming self-contained wrapping into itself, conjoined with separated levels of story telling. Personal symbolism is a huge part of my work; it helps define the levels of story telling. (Ex. specific animals, door ways, hands, key holes, fractals, houses) 

Where would you like to see your art if it could be presented anywhere, or on anything?

Probably inside of a book - Having a physical copy of years of work, for some reason is really important to me.

Are there any rituals you have when you do art?

I spend 30 minute sketching on found paper, which has led me storyboarding for a comic.  Fidgeting with music selections to find the right emotion.  Also the most important ritual! Trying to find pens that work.

If you were gifted with a superhuman power, what would it be? Would you use it for good or evil?

I’ve always fantasized about controlling water or mud. Having the power to control a giant orb of lake water and seeing fish swim, or summoning giant animals created from mud thrashing through the city are constant daydreams.


Interview by Lauren YS

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