Romantic and mysterious are the words I can come up with when looking at Joshua David McKenney’s works. I have been following his work for some time now and other than illustration, the dolls he creates also fascinate me. Today, it is my pleasure to bring you into Joshua’s glamorous illustration world.
What made you want to become an illustrator?
I have been driven to create images for as long as I can remember. My mother tells me that I began drawing on any and every blank surface as soon as I was old enough to hold a crayon. I can recall pouring over beautifully illustrated children's books and fashion magazines throughout my childhood, and knowing that that was what I wanted to do, to tell stories through images.
I think one of the reasons why I like your works is every piece is telling a story, which requires my brain to think all the time. If you could only use 3 words to describe your illustration style, what will they be?
I would describe my style as romantic, whimsical, and glamorous. I like the idea of charming or seducing someone with an image. My aesthetic can be a bit moody and dark at times, but my goal is always to create something beautiful. I love beauty, and I hope my artwork adds more of it to the world.
Your works are without a doubt romantic, but I also find them to be very dark and mysterious. From what I have seen on your website, you also create dolls too. What made you want to create them and how are they related to your illustrations?
I do create dolls! I create them for the same reasons that I do illustrations--they allow me to play with fantasy and reality, and to express beauty. Because dolls are three-dimensional, doll-making requires a very different skill set from two-dimensional art. Dolls really grab attention in an incomparable way: you can never walk past a doll and not notice it. Even if you hate dolls, you are aware of their presence. I love that about them. Dolls are becoming a bigger and bigger part of my life. I'm currently in the final stages of developing my third doll, a modern porcelain fashion doll with her own name and character.
The dolls you have created are very true to your style and I am looking forward to see the release of your third doll. Now let’s get back to your illustration works. Out of all the works you have done till now, which piece is your most favorite? Why is that?
That's a difficult question. To be honest, I don't think about my work much after I've finished with it. I have so many projects going at once that when I'm done with a piece I just move on to whatever else I'm working on. I have a kind of manic need to be always working on something new and different. That said, I'm really happy with a piece I finished last month called "Moretta Mask." The illustration was technically difficult because of the scale and the new techniques I was trying out, but it makes me excited about the direction my work is taking.
I like that one but I think Jane Says is probably one of my favourites because of the colour combination and the composition. Last but not least, what do you think of the Dolce & Gabbana F/W 2013 collection?
I fell in love with this collection from the moment I saw those blue wedding cake shoes! I love everything about it--the romance, the sensuality, the colors, intricate details, and the quality of execution. I especially love the Italian and Russian influences, and the visual excitement of embroidery on top of lace or sheer fabric. I knew instantly that I wanted to draw this collection.
Where is the strangest place that you found inspiration?
Hmm...I don't know if I find inspirations in strange places, at least they don't seem strange to me. I get a lot of inspirations from floral and oceanic shapes. I love Art Nouveau. Women, of course, are a huge source of inspiration. A beautiful face casts a spell over me like nothing else. Also, I look at a lot of pictures all the time. I'm an active user on both Tumblr and Pinterest so if you want to know what inspires me, find me on Pinterest.
Do you have a specific muse in mind when you are illustrating your girls? If so, what features have you use from her?
I was obsessed with Kate Moss when I was a teenager and would cut out any photo of her for my scrapbook. I think her features often make their way onto the faces of my women. She has a way of looking dreamy and wistful that I've always responded to.
Lately I've been looking at a lot of the models from the 1970's and early 80's (Jerry Hall, Jane Forth, Grace Jones). Not only are they beautiful but you sense that they were really ambitious, independent, and free spirited women during those eras. At that time their lives were revolved around art, fashion, and glamor and I love that. I enjoy a woman who is her own creation.
If you were an animal, what kind would represent you best and why?
I've always thought that if I were a dog I would be a golden doodle (half golden retriever, half poodle). I think I'm pretty down to earth and wholesome but I have a prissy side too. I'm smart, loyal, usually kind, sometimes a bitch, and I'm all about my hair.
Discover more of Joshua David McKenney’s work, here.