Multi award winning artist John Picacio was on campus discussing and presenting different aspects of the art industry to anyone who is inspiring to make a career out of art. Specializing in science fiction, fantasy, and horror, Picacio has won prestige awards in the art industry including a back-to-back selection of the Hugo Award for best professional artist.
About 50 people were in attendance to listen and speak with Picacio who was part of the Texas A&M University-Kingsville Presidential Performing &Visual Arts Series. The series focuses on bringing in performers and visual artist that are working as artist full time. “John Picacio is one of the best, he uses an array of processes to get to his final product. That’s what we try an teach our students here, what he was talking about.” Jesus De La Rosa said about why Picacio was selected to speak. Success is no stranger to Picacio with some of his most famous franchise works with Star Trek and X-Men.
Hoping to shed light on an industry many people try and get into but not many succeed at, the series started off with Picacio giving an hour-long lecture going into details on any subject or question presented with a workshop being presented later on in the day. “Thumbnails, taking photographs taking reference shots and then creating the piece you want to do. That’s what we try and teach in the classes. It’s real important to hear that from somebody who actually is working in the industry at the time.” De La Rosa said of the importance for young artist to hear information from successful artist in the industry.
Picacio presented pieces of his artwork while going into detail on the process of creating the art and personal stories that were relevant with each piece. At any time if audience members had a question they were encouraged to ask it on the spot instead of waiting for a Q&A portion like usual presentations. “I learned that we have a different process in creating our art. He does the opposite of me, so it was cool to see his process of how he works.” Rubie Contreras said about what she learned from the lecture.
Picacio also gave a couple looks and information on his upcoming work. The work will be a combination of stories and pictures based on “Loteria” or Mexican bingo but with a Picacio twist to them. The South Texan was able to sit and interview Picacio after his first lecture.
Bobby: What does it mean for you to be able to come and speak with young artist interested in the art industry?
John Picacio: “People gave to me very generously when I was starting out and the only thing to do is to make sure I’m giving it back. A lot of people reached out that didn’t have to reach out to me like Michael Moorcock people like Joe Lansdale who are some very high powered authors that had no business trusting a green rookie like me and they did. The only way I can truly say thank you for the kindnesses people did for me when I was starting is to try and somehow give some of it back to people who are in the same position as I was. Paying it forward. Trying to pay it forward.”
B: What is one of the main messages you try and get across to audiences interested in art?
JP: “Create a situation, know who you are, always remember it’s not just what’s coming out of your hand, it’s whats coming out of your head. It’s both of those things together.” Even though this free lance artworld is an amazing place and it’s a risky place and it’s a tumultuous place, it’s a place to be able to hold and maintain a niche to be someone who visualize ideas and trust in their own ideas and doesn’t just come in and say I’ll draw whatever you want. You have to bring the ideas to the table and have a point of view and take confidence in how you see the world and hold your ground, defend that and build it and evolve it.”
B: How do you think the first event went?
JP: “I was happy. Everybody was terrific, cool crowd. You know things are good when nobody walks out of the room and says I’m tired of this. I’m happy and looking forward to spending the rest of the time hanging out with the students the rest of the day.”
B: What will you be going over today during the workshop?
JP: “It’s supposedly like a drawing demo. But I always know with these kinds of things especially when it’s mostly students trying to develop a path and find their way. I can show them all sorts of stuff with drawing but they get that already from a good school like this one. A lot of the times what is taken away the most from workshops is career advice and talking about things I’ve been through. Take this and go forward and learn from it. Things that I could show or teach you that maybe you wouldn’t know until you’re out there in the working world, maybe I can shortcut for you. “Less about drawing and more about quest making and information and things that could help people build a career. “