Mike Hernandez is currently a third year student at the American Academy of Art, majoring in illustration. Originally born in Newwark, New Jersey, he currently resides in the Chicago area. Apart from keeping himself busy as a student, he is also a member of the Society of Illustrators Student Chapter – or the Illustration Club, for short – where his work has been featured in two of their gallery shows.
In simplest terms, I am a cartoonist.
What do you do?:
My artwork is characterized by a strong presence of line, a use of contrasting shapes and forms, and most conspicuously, a guiltless disregard for standard anatomy and/or perspective. Essentially, I take what I observe in the normal, everyday world and turn it inside-out – revealing its true character as I interpret it, or just adding a whole new spin on it altogether. Grazing sheep become voluptuous lingerie-clad bombshells, politicians become grisly squid-like parasites, braindead celebrities grow mile-long muzzles, annoying bus commuters become tainted slabs of meat, geisha women become Olympian wrestlers with impossibly wide bustlines – and so on.
On entering FluevogCreative contest:
My instructor had originally introduced the competition as an assignment. I admittedly had little prior knowledge, but lo and behold, I found myself enticed by the name alone. A title like “Kitschy Kitschy Boom Boom” just begs for something outlandish to go along with it – desperately so. What’s more, I was rather fond of the design of the shoes themselves; they’re the kind of shape I admire in a woman’s shoe, with a neat compactness and an alluring-yet-minimal colour scheme. Needless to say, I got crackin’.
On the inspiration behind his winning ad:
Given the shoe’s off-kilter name, I knew I could let my own imagination run amuck – and it did. It began when I imagined an odd juxtaposition of late 50s/early 60s stylistic sensibilities (the “Kitschy” might have had something to do with that…) and an 80s New Wave colour scheme. From there, my train of thought went something like this: “You know, a fun, kooky pair of shoes like these would definitely be enjoyed by a gal just as fun and kooky…maybe she’s even some kind of kitschy alien…with bizarrely coloured hair and skin. Yeah…that’s it! And maybe she has a sister too…wearing the OTHER pair of shoes...in fact, maybe they’re not separate at all, but one person! Conjoined! But where…?”
On how long the creative took:
Not very. As soon as the old creative juices kicked into full swing, it was more or less my usual process of completing an illustration. Thumbnails, references, finished sketches, more finished sketches, ironing out this compositional flaw, fixing that anatomy issue, inking, colouring, final touches. Generally tedious work, but never without that feeling of satisfaction or accomplishment – especially given how invested I was in this particular concept. From start to finish, it may have entailed between two to three solid days of work…the enjoyable kind, at that.
What the does the future hold for Mike:
I aspire to delve into the field of professional editorial cartooning and caricature within the near future. I also intend to try my hand at concept art and even some minor animation projects, building up my skills in that area when possible.
In more abstract terms, my dream is to continue doing what I love doing, preferably in an environment where I can count on finding support, a steady growth in knowledge and skill, and modest success in exchange for hard work – things I believe any artist should aspire to seek in their respective careers.
Feel free to email Mike for more info!