Artist Interview: Cam Floyd on Being an Artist in LA and The Emotions of Gabi Gabril

From "The Emotions of Gabi Garil"

From "The Emotions of Gabi Garil"

Cam Floyd is the creator of today's newest collection, "The Emotions of Gabi Gabril." Like the mysterious title, the pieces in Floyd's collection are appropriately intriguing and enigmatic. The animated characters in "Gabri Gabril" come straight from the beyond – sci-fi figures in technicolor palettes and mesmerizing patterns. But something about them feels a bit ancient and reverential, too. 

I spoke with the Los Angeles-based artist to uncover more about his collection and find out more about the person  behind the art. 

The man himself, Cam Floyd

The man himself, Cam Floyd

What's your NeonMob collection about? Why did you decide to make an animated collection?

My collection is a series of masks and headpieces for an imagined futuristic culture. It was an open subject and I felt like I could experiment and get some unexpected results. I was experimenting with .gifs at the time and liked how they can bring an extra layer of life and dimension to a still image. 

From "The Emotions of Gabi Garil"

From "The Emotions of Gabi Garil"

It seems like the art scene in LA is pretty strong these days. Lots of artists from all over are moving there – is that a good or bad thing for you, personally? What do you like about living in LA and what's it like being an artist in LA?

I personally really like living and working as an artist in LA. There are a lot of factions of the art world present here, which keeps things interesting. I like the mix of fine art and commercial art – there seems to be a healthy balance between the two rather than any competitiveness and it makes for a vibrant community. Working as a freelance illustrator and concept artist I really value being around others working in my field, either for inspiration or commiseration. 

"Kabegami"

"Kabegami"

Who are your main artistic influences?

My artistic influences change all the time and there are truly too many to name. One of the challenges of making a career in art is constantly pushing and incorporating new knowledge and approaches into the work. This makes finding new inspiration crucial. Recently I've been influenced by the 3D work of Vitaly Bulgarov and others. I'm also really enjoying the work of Japanese Horror-Manga artists Junji Ito and Suehiro Maruo. I love the interaction of the beautifully drawn black and white line work with such terrifying imagery – it makes for a very powerful experience. Mix that with a little Caspar David-Friedrich and you'll get an idea of what I've been into recently. 

You've done work for editorial publications like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Portland Mercury. How did you first start getting editorial jobs? Do you have advice or words of wisdom for other artists who are interested in creating artwork for publications or media? 

Working in editorial illustration has been a goal of mine since attending college at MICA. I originally went to school with the intention of being a concept artist but was really drawn to the real-world application of editorial work. It became clear to me that I wanted to contribute and work with real stories and news. In terms of getting work, it's hard to beat face-to-face interactions with Art Directors. It's much easier to trust someone you've spoken to than a faceless entity on the internet. When I can't do that I send out postcards as well as personal emails to clients I'd like to work with. It's vital to keep making work regardless of the feedback you get from promotion. Don't get discouraged if nobody has a parade because you sent out a promo.

Your style varies across your portfolio. Some work looks more handdrawn, some work looks more digital. How do you decide what style to use for certain work – especially for client work?

Clients typically want to hire you based off a particular piece you've already made. Often they'll tell you what work of yours they responded to or what they think would work best for the job. It's risky to do something completely new for a client job so I make time to experiment on my own and incorporate my more successful ventures into client work. I remember being so hung up on the idea of "style" in school – I think it can be poisonous to concentrate on too much. It's simply a combination of your natural hand, the materials you choose, and what subjects you typically like to work with. The only important thing is to continue creating, your style will work itself out.

"Reflection"

"Reflection"

What are you working on these days that you're really excited about? 

Freelancing is always exciting because there's such a mix of different subjects and media. Every job is unique. Right now I'm really excited to start sketching and planning for a new painting for Supersonic's 5th Annual Invitational show which goes up January 2016 at Spoke Art is San Francisco. I've participated every year and it's always a good opportunity to get back to my traditional roots and do a big, labor-intensive, everything-I-got oil painting. I've also spent a lot of time this past year working with a friend, Orpheus Collar, to adapt Rick Riordian's "The Throne of Fire" to graphic novel for Disney-Hyperion. Finally, I'm finishing up an album cover as well as a few smaller editorial jobs I'm excited to share. It's hectic but very rewarding work.