5×5: Warren Seranio

Warren Seranio is a Los Angeles-based artist and illustrator with a vivid imagination. His artwork is simultaneously thought-provoking and accessible, easily captivating the viewer’s attention and drawing them in for a closer look. Warren is adept at capturing scenes mid-action, lending his artwork a dynamic element of movement. We zapped Warren a bunch of questions and he delivered back a bunch of insightful answers:

1) How would you describe your artistic style, and what has had the largest influence on its development?

I try to translate my interpretation of the world and complexity of human nature onto a page in a way only an illustration could. The stronger my visual vocabulary becomes, the better the translation reveals my true intentions on the page. I wouldn’t say I’m very good at it yet, but that’s the idea. I find the most interesting way to tackle today’s issues is to place them in an alternate timeline of human existence in which they become exacerbated. My approach to art is influenced by my admiration for science fiction works of literature, film, and animation.

2) Your art seems to be very imaginative. How would you characterize the worlds portrayed?

The worlds I portray in my illustrations are primarily futuristic and dystopian. I use this setting in an attempt to create a serious allegory to real world issues but in a fantastical way inspired by the animations and films I consumed as a kid.

3) What does your process look like, from ideation to finished creation?

The first thing I do is to quickly sketch any initial thought that jumps into my head. This is in an attempt to create gestural line work. I then tackle design issues by knocking out as many thumbnails as I can while still retaining the excitement from the initial sketch. After a composition has been chosen, I collect the necessary reference and draw the final image with graphite or color pencil on bond paper. I don’t use light tables or inking since I like to keep the final drawing fairly messy. I love the process of drawing, so I attempt to keep the erased mistakes and construction lines present in my artwork to show the process at work. Finally, I scan my work onto the computer, clean it up a bit and paint digitally to create the final image.

4) Which artists and illustrators do you really admire?

There are so many to list, but if I had to choose the ones that really pushed me forward, I would have to pick Tomer Hanuka and James Jean. I’m also influenced by Japanese artists like Hayao Miyazaki, Masamune Shirow and Katsuhiro Otomo.

5) What kinds of projects get you the most excited? What will you be working on in the near future?

Recently, I’ve become really interested in animation. I am learning everything on my own, but it’s a fun and rewarding process. I’m looking forward to bringing future illustrations to life!

BONUS QUESTION: What kind of music do you like listening to music while you create?

When I’m sketching and designing how elements are placed on the page, I listen to calm music like Sigur Ros, M83 and Nujabes. When I’m adding the finishing touches or painting, I prefer hip-hop - the kind of hip-hop with heavy bass and vulgar lyrics. It keeps me alert on long nights as I literally dance in my seat!


Dance on over to Warren’s portfolio for a closer look at his artwork!

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