Every artist is the sum of their experiences and influences: in our regular Spotlight section, we ask up and coming artists to share with us their process and their inspiration.
To start at the beginning, I was blessed with being born with a rare joint condition called congenital hip dysplasia that had me in and out of hospitals and surgical procedures throughout my early years, leading up to a total hip replacement procedure a few years back. Without this challenge, I would have likely followed the path of those before me, winding up in some sort of manual labor or construction job after school. Because of this, I remember always thinking about alternative ways to survive that didn’t involve strenuous, physical work. This lead me to discovering the realm of graphic design way back in a time when neither I, nor my friends even had computers in our homes. I saw this as my best shot at a career where I could earn a living while sitting at a desk and not want to kill myself from the boredom of a desk job. I plunged into the Adobe software, learning it in and out during high school and eventually enrolling at the Ringling College of Art to earn my degree. After graduation I was hired at a product design agency where learned the ropes professionally, while creating artwork for bands, surf/skate companies and street wear brands during my nights and weekends.
My studio has made it’s home in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida going on twelve years now. While I’ve always earned much of my income working with clients and commissions outside of my hometown, this area has always had a uniquely bohemian, creative and bubbling art and music scene that has certainly influenced my career. Over time, I found myself making the transition from graphic designer into professional illustrator after being invited to create work for various pop-up group exhibitions, where I challenged myself to find interesting ways to transform my digital creations into large format gallery works, using whatever production technologies I could get my hands on at the moment. I also started hosting gallery exhibitions at my first studio space that I shared with my business partner at the time who was a tattoo artist. This was a highly inspirational time in my career where I absorbed a lot of influence from all of the gallery work and tattooing going on around me and applying it to my digital illustration process. I’ve also had the opportunity to curate and host 3 international mural festivals here in St. Petersburg, where we’ve worked with the best local talent and flown in top traveling artists from around the globe to paint more than 50 murals right here in the heart of our downtown since 2015. This project has put our city on the map as a renown destination for art and culture and has me moving into the next phase of my career as a mural artist.
Inspiration has always come to me most intensely when traveling. There is something magical that happens when I find myself in a strange, new environment where everything feels fresh, electric and full of novelty. I also have a daily meditation practice where I purposefully train my mind to receive creative insights from the unseen forces that are constantly flowing through everything in the universe. It removes lot of pressure when I can trust the inspiration to visit me when I need it.
Over 15 years ago I took my first trip to Bangkok, Thailand where I visited its sacred temples with guardian Yaksha demons standing at the entrances, enormous Buddha statues and insanely detailed mural paintings found within. The murals depicted scenes from the originally Hindu epic, known in Thailand as the Ramakien, where Hanuman and his army of courageous monkeys, battle against the forces of evil lead by the demon king Ravana. The beauty and power that emanated from these temples has never left me and has lead me to an ever- growing interest to practice and explore and the deeper truths contained within the beauty of the artwork and it’s esoteric mythology. The artistic depictions of gods and demons that I absorbed during those trips so long ago are now the main drive for my current creative explorations.
I primarily work digitally, creating my illustrations with a 24HD Wacom Cintiq tablet in Adobe Photoshop. I also create typography and graphic work in Adobe Illustrator and I use my iPad Pro for concept sketching. My work is often produced as screen-printed posters, skateboards, laser engravings, T-shirts, artist products, packaging and digital output for web and animation, so I utilize a range of techniques for each. I’ve also begun to dabble in painting wall murals and experimenting with hand-drawn calligraphy lettering.
I post daily updates to my Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/palehorsedesign/
My portfolio site and online store can be found at:
And I send out a monthly email packed with my favorite audiobooks, podcasts and music that I am constantly digging up to listen to while I draw.
You might also like...