Composed by – TANYSHA BOLGER
Having developed her love for drawing at a very early stage in her childhood, artist PeeMonster has been immersed with a childish spirit ever since. Her drawings generally focus around children characters, but an alternate version of them. After giving up her day job at Google, artist PeeMonster decided to pursue her passion for drawing, which meant more freedom and happiness.
In 2013, it is extremely rare to hear about someone leaving their ‘day job’ to pursue a passion they have. People who are stuck in office jobs, working hours they don’t like and mixing with people they hate, not only has negative influences on our bodies physically, but it is also mentally straining. PeeMonster is a perfect example of someone who understood what their passion was, and accepted it as alternate career path – which is one of the reasons we had a chat with them about why they left Google, and what ignited their passion for drawing in the first place.
Hi there, how are you?
I’m doing really well! I hope you are too.
Tell us a bit about yourself…
I have lived in California my whole life.. art wasn’t a huge thing in my family growing up, but it was something each of us dabbled in some way or another. I bonded a lot with my brother through art, because we both did it as an escape and pursued it to a greater extent.
How did you come across the creative medium of drawing?
I started drawing around age eight when I made up some characters.. I wrote and illustrated stories and comics about the little characters to share with my friends and developed dreams of creating animated television shows for kids.
Do you think living in California has influenced your drawing in any way?
California has always had plenty of mental escapes for me, so I’d say yes. I’ve always loved the sun and the water close by. I used to love drawing outside while people watching at the beach or theme parks. I think I would not feel as alive if I had to live in cold and cloudy weather all year. I would like pursue the future of my career in California for sure.
In making the permanent decision to leave Google and pursue your art career, what went through your mind?
It was an odd situation really. I knew it was going to happen before it did, and so I felt calm about it the whole way through as the process began. Not only did I want more than anything to pursue happiness, but I think the happiness wanted me to pursue it as well in presenting this opportunity for me. I felt it, and though it manifested in what could be perceived as a stressful situation, it was actually me receiving this amazing gift and chance to fall in love with every day of my life, living out my passion in art. Before it happened, I did worry about what my family would think, but I think because of the way it did happen in the end, it was inevitable.
Are you happy that you made that decision?
How did you develop the idea to draw the series of children?
Looking back, I realize I have only ever drawn children, even as a child. It just made sense to me and still does to this day. I do feel now that it might have a lot to do with my own inner feelings of vulnerability, feeling small and inferior, and maybe not quite knowing how to exist in this world yet.
Do you think your childhood has influenced your drawings?
Yes, very, very much. I have had to struggle with anxiety for my entire conscious childhood, then through to adulthood. I used to be so scared in school that I would hide and even then, could still never eat. I think when I began to draw my children that you see now, they gave me safe places to store all of the feelings I’d held inside during so many years of hiding and being that awkward kid.
Your works such as ‘The Giver’ ‘Darjeeling IV’ and ‘The Porridge Thief’ to name a few, all evoke a sense of an underlying story and incorporate thematic elements. Do you plan each drawing beforehand or do you draw what comes to mind then and there?
Some of my pieces do have stories (including those very ones you mentioned, in fact), mostly unspoken. I don’t do much planning for most of my work.. I have found that trying to plan something usually ends up in the drawing doing its own thing anyway, or me losing interest from trying to be in control. To me, I would rather be open and surrender to a freedom of vibrations and influences as I am creating, rather than restricting myself to a set plan or outline limited by my own immediate mindset and imagination. It’s a lot like translating a feeling you can’t explain into an image that you don’t/can’t quite anticipate.
How long does a piece usually take to complete?
It’s a bit hard to gauge, as I am usually drawing while doing a billion other things (I have a preschooler here at home, laughs). On good days, I can usually have a 5×7” piece completed over the course of two to three active days, interruptions of meditation, normal life, and business included. I often switch between various pieces, especially when I need to clear my mind and stop having expectations of a certain piece. The break from that piece can go on for days, weeks, some months. (Some had even been waiting for years before completion, such as “Sundown”.)
What is your favourite image of the series?
Wow, good question. I feel connections with all of them, probably none more than another because they are all kind of like friends to me. One I’ve grown quite fond of is a small one called “Genndy”, a boy hiding behind a teddy bear. I think that’s how I feel deep down inside every day.
Have you ever experimented with other art forms such as photography, or used a different medium?
I have done some minor photography, mostly of my doll collection and my daughter.. As far as other mediums, I’ve attempted painting but couldn’t quite get around the interruptions of having to stop and mix colors and clean up and such (laughs). I was ultimately unhappy with the use of the colors because I felt it implied things I wasn’t even feeling and/or hadn’t found necessary. Sometimes on the go, I will make drawings with BIC pens and any random paper. As far as other art forms, I have done a few years of professional voice-over (mostly from the safety of my own closet, but sometimes in actual recording studios) for both commercials and characters.. My biggest acting role was the voice of a boy, “Zi”, the main character in a feature-length animated film called “White Tiger Legend” (2014)
If you could summarise your collection of work in under a sentence, what would you call it?
“Thoughts through image manifest”.
Ezra Magazine’s: ‘Quirky Two’
If you had once chance to speak to everyone on the planet at the same time through a P.A system, what would you say?
“You’re O.K., and you’re beautiful, and you’re going to do great things.”
If you could sit down for coffee and chat with a person of interest (celebrity, actor, writer, designer, photographer, artist etc) dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I would sit with Jesus because I don’t really think he could have been all that bad of a guy, and I also think that if his ideas weren’t so horribly misconstrued by mainstream religion (and society as a whole) that people would be more quick to find that they actually agree with a lot of what he stood for on a basic human level rather than disagree. I’d also like to find out from him if those neat sandals come in my size.