Trip Park, along with his wife and fellow artist Laura, are two artists we’ve followed at the Shain Gallery for the past several years and before their latest show I had the opportunity to interview Trip. In this interview, Trip shares about his life before becoming an artist and about his inspirations and artistic process.
When during your time as an Art Director (Leo Burnett/Saatchi & Saatchi) did you realize you wanted to become an artist yourself?
In that biz, I drifted towards animation (and wanting to work with clients that would let us use animation for their commercials), then little by little those studios kept suggesting I do more with my illustration. That led me to testing out an audience with a postcard or two. Slowly I got hired to illustrate for magazine’s and papers. That led to children’s books, which led to editorial cartoons, which led back to animation.
You’ve illustrated children’s books and helped develop characters for animated features and commercials (including ads for The Crazy Ones) What did you enjoy most about this aspect of your artistic career?
We had a great first creative director for our first boss at Chicago’s Leo Burnett. He gave the training program candidates placed with him a great essay on “advice for young creatives.” One such epiphany was “(when you are) creating something from nothing, it’s God-like, you know?” His words not mine, but we all got it. You start with a blank page, a napkin, a doodle…and eventually, what is put on it made people want to buy a bar of soap, box of cereal, or even a brand new car. That’s just nuts? Creating something from nothing; nothing’s more addicting.
Is there an artist or artists who inspire you?
Yes! Editorial Cartoonists Jeff MacNelly & Ralph Steadman, to name a couple. I love animation character designers (too many to count), they are some of the most talented people out there. I just hope to be that person that might inspire someone else one day?
How does a typical day in your studio begin?
I just want to top yesterday. Paint better, more efficiently and on better concepts. I’m my own worst critic.
Tell me a bit about the process that goes into creating one of your pieces?
I have an assembly line of sorts, and I set up with about five ideas at a time I’d like to paint. I constantly keep them lying in a row and hit one at a time at least every day, replacing the finished ones with new ones to keep the pacing up.
Do you have a painting or paintings that is/are favorite?
One day maybe…I’m still not where I want to be.
If you need inspiration, is there a particular place you like to go?
I get jazzed from food, a movie, a live band, etc.. I just hope to realize when concepts come to me enough to jot it/them down.
We loved the turtle paintings that you did for the Shain Gallery, especially the one that featured the ‘tower of turtles’. What did you enjoy most about creating those particular pieces?
Really? I thought that was one of my biggest (cricket shows) of an epic fail. What I got from that was to learn from it and move on.
What is your favorite part about working with Sybil and the team at the Shain?
The constant audience. The constant feedback in my head of, “that really sold?” Theirs is a solid creative/business relationship, and I love the marketing of seeing which pieces sell, and why.
Your work is featured alongside your wife’s for the current show, what do you enjoy most about having a fellow artist in the family?
We both are non-stop, pretty much inspiring each other in both energizing ways and pacing. We both started painting late in in our lives so it’s all just really, really weird. Really weird.
Thanks for sharing with us, Trip!