There are many talented artists in the world who are little appreciated despite their awe-inspiring abilities. Noting the lack of outlets for up-and-coming, underground, or outside artists to showcase their work, I decided to start an “Artist Spotlight” series where I will interview various artists to gain a deeper insight into what inspires their creativity and what they plan to do with their careers.
Cartoonist and illustrator Greg Kletsel is one of the first artists who agreed to be interviewed for this series. Greg Kletsel was raised in Florida but currently resides in New York. After earning a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the University of Florida, Greg embarked on a career of design across a spectrum ranging from luxury goods to corporate branding. Now working in his own business—Greg Kletsel dot com—Greg offers a number of services including illustration, character development, album artwork and apparel design.
Recently, I had a chance to interview Greg about his experiences with illustration:
Q: What influenced you to become a cartoonist?
Like most illustrators or cartoonists, I've been drawing all my life. I think my biggest influences as a kid were the cartoons, comics and characters I was surrounded by. I would copy Marvel comics and trading cards and draw my favorite characters from Saturday morning cartoons and Disney movies.
Q: In terms of subject matter, what are your cartoons about and what inspired the ideas for them?
I really love drawing characters, and my sketchbooks are filled with them. They are slightly awkward, funny-looking, naive and exaggerated, like the comic and cartoon characters of my childhood. A lot of my work is about that time period, the weird innocence of youth. I think the characters fit well within that world, and I try to keep that in mind when coming up with ideas for projects or illustrations.
Q: As far as working in comics and illustration, what has been your most rewarding experience so far?
Although I've been drawing throughout my life, my professional training was in graphic design. I was a designer for about five years before pursuing my own freelance illustration work. It's been challenging to make that transition, but I've had two great experiences that have helped me realize I'm on the right track: getting my work accepted into the Society of Illustrators Annual Exhibition and winning an Award of Excellence at MoCCA Fest.
Q: How has MoCCA helped your career?
MoCCA has been helpful in many ways. I've been attending MoCCA Fest since moving to the city in 2008, and was lucky to participate in the 2012 and 2014 festivals. It's such an inspiring and motivating event, and a place where new talent can display and sell their work alongside established professionals. The months leading up to the festival are a really chaotic and productive time, where I push myself to make new zines, prints and comics, while learning a lot about the kind of work I'm presenting to an audience. I think MoCCA Fest provides this same experience to many of the artists who participate.
Q: What are your ultimate goals for the future?
As far as art and illustration, I think my ultimate goal is to make as much work as possible. I think that's the best way to grow as an artist, and it leads to exciting and original ideas. Hopefully the end-result of that work will be exposure to larger and larger audiences, and a demand to keep making.
Q: Are there any up and coming projects that you would like to mention?
I'm currently preparing some new work for the Small Press Expo in September. It'll be my first time attending and exhibiting, so I'm looking forward to that. I'll also be launching my own press/label soon, where I'll be collaborating with some of my favorite artists to release their comics, zines, prints and products.
* * * * *
To find out more about Greg’s artwork visit his official website: