Artist Gene Ploss
About Gene Ploss
Gene G. Ploss Jr. was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1969. Son of a third generation dairy farmer, he was raised in a rural farming community in Western New York.
In 1993 he graduated from SUNY Fredonia with a Bachelor of Fine Art Degree. He now resides in Buffalo, New York where he works as a sign maker, fine artist and illustrator. Gene works mainly in graphite, colored pencil, ink, watercolor and acrylic with a focus on figures and portraits.
Interview with the Artist
How did you interpret using the Strathmore Thistle for the pad cover artwork? Anything else you'd like to share about your piece?
I wanted to create an image that would show someone quietly and thoughtfully studying the thistle. They are looking past the façade of sharp thorns to see the vibrant colors and graceful shapes beneath.
As I often do, I chose an elderly person as my subject. I have always been fascinated with old faces because they are so rich with character and so full of detail. It's very satisfying to draw them. I can't get enough.
How did the Strathmore paper you used for the project affect your drawing (or painting) techniques?
This paper made drawing worry-free and more enjoyable. The surface is smooth, but still has a nice tooth. I usually apply several layers of colored pencil and graphite on my drawings. Some papers don't react well to this treatment and won't accept all the layers of color. This Strathmore product is a thick, fine quality paper and it performed very well. I didn't have to adjust my technique because I thought the paper might buckle or tear. It holds up well even under heavy pencil pressure and repeated erasure use.
Which artists inspire you?
Here are some artists that have definitely influenced me over the years: Norman Rockwell, Alphonse Mucha, David Lance Goines, Sebastian Kruger, Chris Wahl, Bruce Sereta, Travis Loui &, Fred Harper.
What advise would you give to beginning artists?
I tell beginners to do three things.
- Practice! Draw every day. Do it as much as you can. Always carry a sketch book with you and when you see something that strikes you, draw it! Something that doesn't seem too important at the time can become great when you look back on your drawings from that moment.
- Search out inspiration constantly. It is so important to stay inspired. It is very easy to get in a rut and become indifferent. Go to galleries and look at other artists work. Spend time at the library looking at books and magazines. Take note of advertising, greeting cards, road signs, anything that gets your creative juices flowing. Get out of your house and explore the world around you. You'll never know what will inspire your next series.
- Don't get discouraged. I was lucky enough to have encouraging people around me when I began developing my interest in making art. It's very easy to let criticism throw you off your chosen path. Don't let anyone steer you away. Persevere and you will succeed!