Our fourth Illustration West 61 interview is with Robert St. Pierre. Board member Jon Messer, Secretary and Program Chair, conducted the interview with Robert.
What inspired you to become an illustrator?
I studied Illustration and found my inspiration with some of the classic American Illustrators and artists such as Rockwell, Sergent, Cornwall, Loomis, Lyndecker
Where did you grow up and did that have an influence on your artwork?
New England. Some of the architectural design aesthetics have influenced some of the work I’ve done on various shows. I’m fond of New England shipping ports and commercial boats.
What genre of illustration holds your imagination and can you say why?
Children’s Book Illustration, for the images that inspired me while growing up. I was attracted to the fanciful worlds that the narratives and illustrations swept me off to. I also enjoyed Magazine illustrations when they relied more heavily on Illustrative work rather than photography.
Is there a cultural component to your love of illustration?
I appreciate how images can address challenging issues such as the works of Keith Haring or the aggressive works of Marshall Arisman.
Where did you get your training?
Paier College of Art and Art Center College of Design, Pasadena
Do you feel the fundamental skills are still important in professional illustration?
Absolutely critical. It provides a basis on which we can all fall back on. Learn the fundamentals and we can always resort to or springboard off of.
When did you get your first paying commission?
While studying in Art Center. Otherwise, I became a studio artist for animation studios including Disney, Warner Brothers, Nickelodeon, etc.
Was there a particular assignment that changed your trajectory? If so how?
Initially learning environment design. Following that, taking more challenging roles in studios as a background supervisor and production designer for films. Finding the balances of design and good compositional staging, all to the service of the needs of the film and the narrative.
Can you share some highlights from your career?
Production Designer for Disney and Focus Films Studios, living and working on films in four international studios.
What forms of media do you use and enjoy? Are there any that you avoid?
Everything I do is digital, Photoshop.
Do you have career or training advice for artists?
Learn the basics. Always make every assignment, no matter how mundane, portfolio worthy (it’s your approach and mindset)…always challenge yourself. Meet your deadlines. Look at the world around you and study/observe it ruthlessly. Mentor others.
Do you create in other forms of art?