Ok, Ok….. I know it’s been more than a month since the last time I posted, but this next contributor that I’ve been able to corner is well worth the wait! Browsing through Gallery_Bizzare’s products is just as stimulating as a trip through wonderland. My favorite part of his gallery would be the KittyBeast & Friends category. Anyways, I hit Gallery_Bizzare up with a barrage of quesitons and this is what he had to say…
Zazzle: Tell us a little about yourself and where you are from.
J.Riddle: I’ve lived in California my entire life; was born and raised in San Luis Obispo County, later moved to Monterey and Santa Cruz counties for many years and currently have lived in Sunnyvale for just over a year. I’ve been creating art for all of my life in some form or another. I spent my 20’s playing drums in several bands, recorded albums, toured the Country quite a bit etc. Eventually I tired of the lifestyle, trained myself using graphic software and got into web development. This is the field I have worked in for nearly a decade now.
Z: Hey, You’re in our neck of the woods! So I take it the weather is probably about the same. How is it today in Sunnyvale?
JR: Hot, although not as bad as yesterday. I’m not a big sun-worshipper so I make it a habit to seek out shade or AC when available. I have not fully adjusted to this heat in the Valley yet. Of course, everything is relative, but coming from Monterey where the weather is almost always mild this was quite a shock.
Z: Where do you get inspiration from for your weird & wondrous product designs?
JR: Most of my early work originated entirely from the dark recesses of my imagination. As I’ve gotten older I now incorporate techniques that I’ve picked up working in graphic design to make analog/digital hybrid art. Of course I am influenced by the work of others that I have encountered throughout virtually every different type of art-form and media, from fine art to the advertising world. The bulk of my inspiration though remains based in whatever random ideas I happen to snag out of the ether.
Z: Are you an animal person or vegetable person? (pets vs garden)?
JR: I hate to be a fence-sitter on this one but I really am both. I have two cats, a large aquarium of fish and frogs and care for dozens of plants (and one particularly beautiful potted Japanese maple).
Z: What other interests do you have besides art?
JR: Hmmm, well that’s rough as most of my interests involve art in some way.
I have to admit I’m quite a video game addict as well. Aside from such selfish pursuits, I enjoy spending time with friends and family, gardening, the usual stuff.
Z: Where do you design your work? Spare Room, Garage, Outside?
JR: My wife is an artist as well, so our garage acts as a makeshift studio. We have all our easels, paints, canvases, etc there. All our digital work is done in our office on dual computers that sit side-by-side. Of course, when it comes to drawing that occurs just about anywhere and everywhere.
Z: What’s the best ‘design’ product that you have seen out there? And don’t say the ‘iPod’ or ‘iFone’.
JR: Personally I think the coolest/best designed new product I’ve seen would have to be Microsoft Surface. I blogged about the “future of interactive computing” many months ago when the actual inventors of the technology showcased their work and made videos available to the public. I think this has revolutionary potential to completely change the way we interface with computers.
Z: If there were no budget constraints what would you want the next Zazzle customizable product to be?
JR: If there was a way we could produce 3D plush or vinyl toys I would really go to town making all manner of twisted characters. (Collect all 6,000 Gallery Bizarre Action Figures!) Of course this is utterly unrealistic, but you asked.
Z: Nothing is unrealistic my friend… nothing…
Z: Who are some of your favorite Zazzle contributors?
JR: Disclaimer alert: My top two happen to be my wife’s galleries. No, she didn’t make me say that and yes I really do love her work, but clearly I could be considered biased. If anyone is interested, you can check out her Tiny Citizens site at zazzle.com/dnizzle and zazzle.com/plainbrownwrapper. I’ve found there are a lot of tremendous artists on Zazzle and being part of that community is one of the reasons that I decide to go with Zazzle’s particular solution. Other top artists I admire would include justinaerni, mykajelina, leannem…really too many others to name.
Z: What advice do you have to new Zazzle Contributors?
JR: I’m pretty new myself, but so far I would have to say that I recommend making a habit of visiting other contributer’s galleries, see who’s winning awards, what products are hot. There is a lot of amazing work out there and you may just find mutual fans or even customers if you take the time to let them know you enjoy their work.
Z: Peanut Butter & Jam or Ham & Cheese?
JR: PB& J. Heavy on the peanut butter, light on the jam, please.
Z: PC or Mac?
JR: My wife and I have used both pc’s and macs for many, many years both in our professional work and at home for freelance or personal projects. Our current setup is her with the G5 and I use a heavily upgraded Dell. Wacom tablets are an absolute must for any serious digital artist, in my opinion. At work I use a G4, a G5 and two PCs. Blasphemy, I know.
Z: To you, what is more funny, Ikea’s Swedish meatballs or Canadian bacon on a Hawaiian Pizza?
JR: I’ll have to go with the Canadian bacon on Hawaiian pizza. That is pretty ridiculous, come to think of it. :]
Z: What’s the coolest place you’ve ever gone out side of your country?
JR: Sadly I haven’t traveled out of country as much as I would’ve liked. So my answer so far would have to be Vancouver B.C. I just absolutely love it up there.
Z: What do you do when you’re bored?
JR: Boredom indicates a lack of imagination. Truthfully, at this stage in my life I am always way too busy for boredom. When in doubt, create something.
Z: Well, that’s about does it. Did you have any final thoughts?
JR: Thanks for welcoming me to the Zazzle community and for featuring my work on your blog. It’s very much appreciated!
Check out all of Bizarre_Gallery’s weird and wondrous products: