Interview with Handleofiron – Myartisreal Magazine
Today we set down with digital collage artist Handleofiron who started making art only in March of this year. We learn what inspires him, how he makes his art, and what advice he would give to other artists.
What’s your name and Instagram handle?
I try to keep my real identity private for the most part since I enjoy being semi-anonymous online and being able to post whatever I want without caring what anyone else thinks. My instagram username is ‘@handleofiron’.
Why the name Handle of Iron?
To be honest there was never really a rhyme or reason for choosing my instagram name. I just wanted to make something that sounded sort of cool but was really simple. In the beginning my mentality was to always “keep the iron hot”.
Do you have a job outside of art and if so what is it?
Outside of my artwork I work a full-time job in finance. My workdays are typically pretty long, lasting from about 8am to 8pm so my art career really got the chance to begin during quarantine where things slowed down and I got to spend a lot of time at home.
How do you get into the creative mood?
Typically, I am always in kind of a creative mood. I will just find myself looking through photo catalogues or photography instagram pages just to see other art. When I see a photo I really like or I think would be good in a collage I almost just envision what I would do with it and then I would write it down. When I am sitting down and actually doing my artwork though, I like to put on some of my favorite indie music, open up a bottle of wine or have a nice cocktail. This type of environment kind of just allows me to let loose.
What was your very first experience with making art? / When did you start making collage art and when did you begin to post it on social media?
I can’t exactly pinpoint my very first experience with making art in my entire life, but I have always been sort of the artistic type deep inside. I always felt I was a bit better than my friends at drawing in elementary school, I loved art classes in middle school, but I never really made it into my priority. In high school and college, I honestly never really created anything – I was distracted by everything else that is associated with coming of age and I sort of lost touch until recently in quarantine. I had always followed some of the bigger collage artists such as howiewonder; I also followed art curators such as love.watts, trippy and thought the art they created was pretty cool. I never once thought I would be successful in the world or thought of really doing it until I lost my godfather to suicide in March of 2020. He was someone I always really respected for his outlook on life and the fact he was always there for me in my times of need. I almost glorified him because I thought he had it all figured out and had a level head, but I came to realize that nobody is perfect, everyone needs help, and life is too short not to do the things you have a passion for. I decided that I wanted to follow my dreams of creating and I just started grinding things out in GIMP – and then I moved to photoshop. So I first got my start in March of 2020 and spent a lot of time just creating during the day and night.
How long did it take you to get the number of followers you have now? Did you expect people to like your works as much as they do?
I currently have almost 21,000 followers on instagram and I started in late March of 2020 – I think somewhere between the 22nd and 26th. To be quite honest I never really expected anyone to like my works as much as some people do now. Once I started getting into the community though, I saw some people who had a pretty good following that I thought I was a bit better than so I just kept working to really grow my exposure and improve the quality of my works. Even today I am still shocked at some of the positive feedback I receive and am flattered by being allowed to become a part of someone’s room through my art.
How do you find the images to use in your collages?
I typically just go on commonly used websites like Unsplash, Pixabay, and then I’ll look through old magazines sometimes but that isn’t really my style.
How do you come up with ideas for your works?
I just look through photographs and see what could be worked into them. At this point, when I see a photograph I typically already know what it could be used for or what could look nice but sometimes that original idea is completely transformed by the end or just dies in photoshop.
What’s your biggest inspiration?
To be honest, my biggest inspiration is some of the artists such as howiewonder, mr.babies, and slimesunday. Those guys are responsible for really bringing out collage art into the mainstream art world and have shown me that people do have an appetite for this type of work.
What are your favorite tv shows, or movies?
My favorite TV shows really vary – I would say I don’t really have a distinct taste or spend too much time watching television. If a motion picture or series is made well, has intricacy and provokes thought, then I will typically enjoy watching it. However, for the sake of an example I would say that I like science fiction, mystery (not crime though), and documentaries.
What would a musical playlist from you look like?
My musical playlist would be a whole lot of indie and alternative music – that is pretty much all I listen to. I would throw in some classic rock every once in a while, but that would be only if I was playing the music for other people as well. I am completely in love with everything indie right now and the sound the community has kind of built itself around. It would include a lot of Mac DeMarco, Tame Impala, Vampire Weekend, Mt. Joy, Weezer, and other similar bands that aren’t as well known.
How do you make your art?
I make my art using photoshop and I pass it through Afterlight, which is a photo editing application on the apple store. I will source my images from the web, but I also will work directly with photographers and models.
How do you get passed a creative block?
Currently I am in a creative block right now – actually my first one since I started this account and I kind of am trying to let it pass by taking time off and posting older, unpublished works until I am ready.
If you could give advice to any other artists what would it be?
I would say to make sure that you create art that you really enjoy making – Don’t go out of your way to make something that you know other people are going to enjoy because then it becomes a job. Don’t aim for likes or followers unless that is your goal, but don’t let that consume you. Don’t become discouraged just because you feel like your art isn’t recognized. So many talented artists and athletes give up on such promising careers because they don’t see immediate results. If you’re not getting what you want, then you should change what you’re doing – plain and simple. Keep on grinding with your craft.
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