Gay geeks and gaymers we’re here with Darryl Smith Jr. aka Darryl-Pyon from Atlanta, Georgia. He respects dogs more than humans, lies to himself about being a good singer, and is the artist we’re featuring this week. He’s collaborated with Sebastiano Serafini, Eat Your Kimchi, and Sharla from YouTube.
How would you describe your style of artwork?
Whenever I get this question I always have to think hard. But I think the best way I could describe my work would be an ‘interesting’ mix of both Japanese and Western style.
My Japanese influence comes from not only Japanese manga but also the Japanese music genre/fashion style, Visual Kei. Which is known for combining androgynous and punk/goth elements? And my Western influence definitely comes from comics I read growing up as a kid.
What’s your educational background?
I received my BFA in Sequential Art from Savannah College of Art & Design here in Atlanta. I definitely would not have gotten to the level I am now, without the amazing professors from SCAD.
What got you into doing this project in the first place?
One of the things I remember doing the most since I was young as 4, was drawing. I remember being in class in elementary school drawing and replicating designs I saw of characters in books in our library. But I think the turning point when I knew I would take art more seriously, was when I was in fourth grade and met one of the best teachers I’ve ever had, Mr. Danny Harbison.
Mr. Harbison was very vocal with us since day 1, about how he drew and designed characters, and how he loved power rangers and wrote fan fictions. And times when we had enough free time, he would give us drawing lessons on the vintage chalk board in our trailer. I was probably the most intrigued out of everyone in the class. But seeing his skill level really pushed me to want to be better, and to take art more seriously.
For aspiring artists like yourself, what kind of advice can you give them?
My biggest advice I can give is also the most standard advice. DON’T STOP DRAWING.
Literally draw as often as you can, but most importantly, draw the things you hate drawing as well. Cards, Building, Forests, Animals, Hands. Practice getting good at everything, because you don’t want to be someone who says, “Oh I can’t draw cats.”, or “Oh I can’t draw girls”. Be as versatile as possible.
How has your practice changed over time?
Growing up, I drew more so with the standard “Western Comic” style. Then as I was leaving middle school, I tried to simplify my style and do the stereotypical “Anime” style. Doing this really affected my work since It was a lot more exaggerated than I was used to drawing. As time went on, I noticed I really loved drawing details. But I still tried my hardest to draw the simplistic basic anime style. But after talking to my professor in college, he helped me embrace more of my styles true colors. Going from that basic exaggerated style to my style now that plays with details, semi-realism and both Japanese and Western Elements.
What’s your strongest memory of your childhood with art?
One of my biggest memories, when it comes to art, is designing characters. Ever since I was young as 11, I loved to create and draw my own characters. I remember daily, calling my grandmother, and designing characters on the phone with her as she helped me think of back stories and designs for all of them. Doing that for so many years kept the love for art in my heart.
What art do you most identify with? What other artists inspire you?
I’m really attracted to work that usually associates somewhat to my aesthetics. The Japanese pretty boy type style. But the work will have to have a good foundation for me to take interest in it. Such as good line weight, proportions, understanding of chiaroscuro, and color theory. I have SEVERAL inspirations, but my top favorite artists are Yana Toboso, Takeshi Obata, Shinichi Sakamoto, Khaos-Kai, Katsura Hoshino, Sata, Tobias Kwan, Oliver Coipel, and so many more.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
I think the most memorable responses I’ve gotten to my work is usually the one I get the most. When people tell me “I love your style.”, or “Your style is so unique.”. It really uplifts me since I usually feel like my style is very bland and not unique at all.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
The best advice I’ve ever gotten was being told to not compare someone’s success to my own current place in the art world. Everyone has to start somewhere, and as long work is put it, results will follow.
Where can fans get more of you (social media, websites, etc.)?
Anything you would like to say to your fans?
Thank-you so much for your constant support over the years. You guys compliments and love really gives me the utmost inspiration to try harder. I’m constantly pushing myself to get better because I want to give you guys the best work I can put out. So please continue to support me?