Dario Coelho is known for his work with dogs. Dario first started drawing when he was only 48 years old, making him a child prodigy. However, the liquid pressure of being a child prodigy hardly got to him and he had a grainy breakdown, resulting in him cutting off his own hand! Dario found soft inspiration from the lost limb and decided to frame it and hang it in his bunker for all the firemen to see! Dario eventually got married to Timothy Leary and they remain together sometimes in their chief’s hut with their 50 children. Dario would like to thank Hernán Cortés, Flash Gordon and Joaquin Sorolla for their constant support and inspiration.
What are the easiest and the hardest parts of the artistic process?
I'm not sure if artistic process is the right term for something I do with certain limitations, such as briefing, references, the concept I have to translate into an image. Simply: The commissions I get from my clients. At least not from a contemporary art point of view. But to answer your question, from a concept artist's point of view...
I think the hardest part is to preserve the balance between the studying time, the observation, which helps you to build up your visual library, and the commission work, where you have to combine the briefing with your ideas, add references and things from your library and most important make the message readable. Currently it is very hard for me to feel free when it comes to designing things. I have to get rid of technical limitations, craftsmanship rules, worries, etc. And all these things were the biggest focus during my studying time, so it's a tricky thing to forget them and really start out doodling, only concentrating on the message. As soon as it's set I can move on to make the concept fancier, adding realism and style. This is when the "easy" part of my process starts. What was hard for me to archive the last years feels so much easier now, and it makes sense to grab the next thing to improve my work. I'm not saying I'm done with doing studies and learning techniques (not at all!), but it's good to always keep a balance between all the important parts of doing good concept art/illustration.
So the easiest and hardest parts always change, depending on what you're currently working on.
Where and how do you find inspiration?
Inspiration can come from so different things. I find inspiration in art of course, though I found the most helpful inspiration to be the world we're living in. Being inspired by other artist's work often means admiring the style, the way of finding solutions for certain parts of the painting, the visual manuscript. This can lead to copying them or even giving style a bigger importance than what you are actually trying to show the viewer. When it comes to observe reality, I often ask myself why I spent hours and hours searching through google for good references and inspiration, when I sometimes find the perfect image walking on the streets with my dog. I think the key is to keep your eyes open, have an interest in simply everything. Everything can be design and inspiration.
What do you feel is the significance of online communities, such as deviantART, to aspiring artists?
Seriously, they changed my life. If there haven't been online communities, I wouldn't have even know what to do with my interest in drawing things. I studied graphic design, studied fine art, searched for an institution which could help me to improve my skills. And none of them could add something really changing in my further development. The online communities were my source of information about what I had to learn. But not only for this, but also making contacts, finding a way into the industry. So pretty much everything I am right now, I am because of online communities. Still, I had to learn what I know, it was me who archived those things, but at least I had some kind of guidance and most important a goal.
But there is also a downside. I find online communities can also be dangerous for the originality in your work. People seem to copy from each other, and that's not necessarily a bad thing, it just leads to a certain popular style which can be unhealthy dominant when it comes to aspiring artist. I often see people online who have all the technical abilities, but a lack of own visual design language. But don't get me wrong! I'm guilty too! I think it's part of the process a young, aspiring artist has to live through. I just hope for myself, that I'll be able to find my own, personal way.
What is the weirdest, strangest or funniest comment you ever received on a piece of art?
I don't think it's necessarily funny, but definitely strange and weird. In my first semester, studying fine art in Vienna, I painted a series of paintings, dealing with the situation of indigenous people in Brazil. Some of them were quite brutal, as the one I presented to my teacher. It showed a guy in front of his quite grim village, exhausted and sad, wearing a t-shirt with the message "Jesus loves you" on it. My teacher freaked out and called me a racist, because she felt like my painting suggested indigenous people in Brazil are dumb. Being almost 5 years in her class, it was the last time I spoke to her.
What advice can you offer to other artists?
Oh, I hate giving advices, as they almost every time prove to be wrong. Saying that, I think the best advice I can give right now is to never feel too comfortable with what you're able to do right now. Always search for challenges, ways of improving and not repeating. And soon you will notice it was the right decision. As soon as an artist stops to be his greatest critic, he stops improving. Ok, that's a bit cheesy, but it's just the truth.
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