Thursday, September 17, 2009

J. David McKenney interview by Corbin Chamberlin

When I think of J. David McKenney, a distinguished NYC fashion illustrator who’s drawn countless celebrities and for numerous magazines and designers, I think of chic young ladies and the most impeccably drawn clothing and features. McKenney gives us fantasy in his work, unlike the trends fashion illustratiors can follow, drafting lifeless, quick, thoughtless sketches for designers and clients. In McKenney's pieces, mixed media designs made of watercolors, pencil, pens, pastel, colored pencils and digital manipulations, you can almost feel the fibers in the clothing and smell the Chanel perfume the subject is wearing. He keeps his work youthful and hip, but always gives a nod to romanticism and whimsy. He has drawn for Mariah Carey advertising campaigns, Heatherette, Elizabeth Arden, Scholastic Books, Women's Wear Daily, MAC Cosmetics, and the list goes on. I had the oppurtunity to interview J. David McKenney about his past, inspirations and more.

What made you decide to go into Illustration?
I don't think I could have done anything else, really. I'm just happy that I was able to create a career centered around fantasy and drawing beautiful women because I'd be doing that anyway. I've been putting out this same sort of imagery since I was about 2, It's in my blood.

Are their any particular hosts that you draw your inspiration from?
I like strong women that put a lot of effort into the way they look: Dita Von Teese, Grace Jones, Lady Gaga, Jerry Hall. I love a self-made beauty! I also like willowy women like Kate Moss. I think I've drawn her more than anyone else.

Which designers have you worked with before?
Most of the work that I do is for print and publication (so I'm not really hired by designers) but I used to do a bunch of stuff for Heatherette. I did a lot of their prints and T-shirt graphics for them. I even had one dress I did photographed by David Lachapelle.

Who are you favorite designers?
I like the visionary/showy ones: John Galliano, Alexander McQueen. Karl Lagerfeld, Tom Ford. I don't follow fashion very intensely...of course I love fashion magazines but I'm horrible with names. I like anything edgy and high glamor...I'm more about the fantasy of fashion than the practicality.

Who are your favorite artists?
Jean Paul Goude, Arther Rackman, Richard Gray, Jean James, Mucha, Patrick Nagel, Kay Nielsen, Edmund Dulac, Aubrey Beardsley, George Petty, Varga, and J. C. Leyendeckerr. I have an overwhelming number of artist coffee table books.

What do you do for fun?
I spend a lot of time on my art but when I'm not doing that I have a pretty active social life. I like to go to parties and hang out with my friends...New York stuff. I travel a lot....I'm very free spirited and I don't tend to plan much....

Favorite city in the world and why.
I have three: Tokyo, Rio, and New York. I love the culture of the Japanese and the perfection they all collectively seem to aspire to. It's very raw and refined all at the same time.....very open but also very private. I like that. Rio is just magical! You can fall in love in 10 minutes there. I have a purple Rio tattooed over my heart. New York is my home and the city that made me who I am. I owe a lot to living here for 10 years and I'd have a hard time picturing myself anywhere else.

For more on J. David McKenney, visit his Web site.

Until next time, Keep it chic.

Corbin Chamberlin

read it here:

ARIZONA FOOTHILLS: Fabulosity- J.David McKenney, Fashion Illustrator

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