Interview with Club Member Joe MacGown

8 min read

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Member Interview #1

1. What is your inspiration when it comes to your artwork?

The inspiration for my surreal art is multi-faceted and includes anything that happens to cross my mind. However, science fiction and nature, especially entomology, are integral components of my art. Working as an entomologist for the past 21 years has given me the opportunity to view myriad insects and their structures, both in nature and under the microscope. Thus, it is not surprising that some of my more recent drawings include many entomological elements. Beyond the purely visual aspects that insects have to offer, their interactions with each other and with other organisms are equally fascinating. The underlying theme of my art is that all things are connected. Life is an incredibly complex, chaotic machine with all of its parts having to work harmoniously together to keep the system working efficiently. I attempt to illustrate this chaos and interconnectivity by drawing highly detailed crowded scenes with mutated beings, strange combinations of organic and inorganic matter melding together, or designs with a slightly Celtic or mystical flavor.

Ossiforestation by JoeMacGown Out of the Fold by JoeMacGown self searching 9 by JoeMacGown Echinodermatter by JoeMacGown Zabulation by JoeMacGown
self searching 8 by JoeMacGown

2. What is your favorite aspect of collaborating with another artist? In other words, what do like most about doing this, and why do you KEEP doing it?

Collaborating with other similar minded artists stimulates your brain in slightly different ways because you are trying to match the other artist’s style and way of thinking, while at the same time infusing the image with your own unique viewpoint. Another wonderful aspect of collaborating is that typically each artist does a piece for the other to work on and then each artist gets to keep something done in part by another artist. Additionally, it is a wonderful way to meet some very interesting artists. On the negative side, the time spent doing collabs could be spent doing your own work. It also means that the collabs tend to be somewhat small, so as not to occupy the other artist’s time too much, as many of us have very busy schedules. However, the positive experiences of doing artwork with the wonderful artists here on DA far outweighs the negatives.

3. What is your preferred media to collaborate in?

My favorite media is pen and ink, although graphite is fine as well. I have also enjoyed using other artists' abstract color works to "pull" things out of with ink.

4. How many years have you been a member of DA?
Two years.

5. How many (total) different artists’ have you collaborated with here on DA?

So far, I have collaborated with 9 artists and done at least 19 collaborations, with several more in various stages of progress.

6. Do you remember your first collaboration? Who was it with?

My first collaboration was called “Ancient Neogothic Eye”…

Its a graphite piece done with :iconchaoskatie: I drew the left side in pencil, covered in up except for a 1 inch strip and mailed it to her to finish the other side. It turned out quite nicely.

7. How did you approach the collaboration process? What is the first thing you do when it arrives in the mail? (Or on your computer, if digital?)

Usually, I don’t do anything in particular, but just start drawing. In general, I don’t like to think too much about the drawing process.

8. Can you leave us with a favorite quote or phrase that you like, or live by?

"Don’t think, it impedes the creative flow."

Thanks Joe for providing a little insight into your work and your collaborations!


:iconjanellemckain: :iconreality-must-die:


:iconbernardumaine::iconalmanegra::iconsalhunter::icongromyko::iconneedtobleed::iconjoemacgown::icontonharing::iconr-l-frisby::iconchelovek::iconchris10belgium::iconzyphryus::iconvanoostzanen::iconlarkin-art::iconhectorpineda::iconsheelasingla::iconamykollaranderson: :iconartistm0nk::iconiness69::iconblueburgstudios::iconartofthemystic::icongloriagypsy::icontimebush::iconvmoldavsky::iconmtrip82::iconbikini666:


Club Submissions must be....

1. Collaborative work between two (or more) artists at an advanced skill level.

2. Collaborative work which is digital,traditional, or mixed media

3. Collaborative work that is surreal in style.
(Not sure if your work is surreal??
More information on surrealism can be found…)

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MBKKR's avatar
Great interview!
I think his work is truly amazing and detailed.
The longer i look the more i see, it's a world on it's own.
gromyko's avatar
wonderful insight, i have been lucky to be one of those which joe have collaborated with.

great idea interviewing members!!!

CollaborativeCorpse's avatar
someday, you will be interviewed as well! :D
gromyko's avatar
Aww thank you jannele, that would be an honor to have an interview...btw i have a surprise for you...take a look at my new devs and you'll know what

JoeMacGown's avatar
thanks for the interview!
CollaborativeCorpse's avatar
Is a good one...THANK YOU!!!
HectorPineda's avatar
Bravo! :clap: great interview, I love the final quote about the creativity. Joe is one of the greatest!
CollaborativeCorpse's avatar
He most certainly is!!!!
Decarabia69's avatar
Very nice interview and I should have suspected that Joe was an entomologist, his work reflects his passion.
JoeMacGown's avatar
yeah, bug guy by day! Especially ants...
Decarabia69's avatar
I absolutely LOVE ants, except when they're on the march through my house. :)

Have you ever heard of a game called Sim Ant? It was based on actual ant behavior and the manual was about an inch and a half thick containing TONS of info about ants. It's an old game though, I remember my son and I playing it on my old Amiga 500 computer. It had a unique game viewpoint - you played the queen and determined how to run the nest, including the percentage of workers vs soldiers vs breeders that were born. The goal of the game was to take over the back yard from the red ants and to overrun the home. The dangers included lawn mowers, landowners with insecticide, ant lions, spiders, etc.
JoeMacGown's avatar
Yeah, ants are pretty cool at that. I am not familiar with that game, but I don't play many games...Have you looked at my ant web site [link]

It has a ways to go, but I have a bunch of stuff on there. If you go to Faunal Lists, and click on a species list for one of the southeastern states, you will see some clickable scientific names that lead to species pages (with photos) that I am developing.
Decarabia69's avatar
Thanks for the link, Joe! I've bookmarked it so I can read it at my leisure. I've always found ants fascinating and am proud to know a bona fide expert! I took a look at the Dolichoderus photos and they are spectacular! I'm really going to have to pay more attention to the influence of ants on your work.

Yeah ants are cool enough to base a game on! I'm not much of a gamer myself, but got my son used to playing somewhat educational games when he was young. Of course, he's given all that up now (he's 17) in favor of the World of Warcraft. :(

I ran a search to see if I could still find Sim Ant and here a website with a video of the gameplay. [link] Fortunately, the crappy music wasn't a part of the game.

I also found another website that features several different games about ants. I suppose it's good that kids are still intrigued by these little critters enough to play games based on their behavior. [link] I can imagine these inspiring some budding entomologists. :)
SalHunter's avatar
:clap: What a great interview!
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