Astropad Maker Spotlight, Maker Spotlight

Exploring Role Reversals Between Humans and Animals

Maker Spotlight: Dylan Goldberger

Where do you live?

I grew up just outside New York City in New Rochelle. I moved to Brooklyn in 2007 to go to Pratt and have lived there ever since working as an illustrator.

Does your art follow a theme or motif?

I do a lot of work exploring human and animal role reversal. It was originally developed as a theme for my first solo show titled “Retribution” and I’ve kind of just stuck with it. The first piece I created for the series was a woodcut titled “Last Supper” — it was my take on the Da Vinci painting where a bunch of animals are feasting on a human. I started out doing these pieces because I thought they were funny, but a lot of people see them as awareness of animal cruelty; they are often very surprised to find out I’m not a vegetarian.

What is your relationship with animals like, and how does that fit into your art?

I love dogs! (and all the other animals too). I actually have a separate instagram account that’s just me taking selfies with dogs. I made and self published a skateboarding dog alphabet book — See Spot Shred — where there is a different dog breed performing a skateboard trick for each letter of the alphabet. I also do a lot of woodcuts, and when I work digitally, I try to mimic the same look. I find that that technique works really well for all the fur and scales you normally come across when illustrating animals.

Can you tell me a little bit about the work you’ve done for skate shops and board art?

I’ve been drawing and skateboarding pretty much my whole life. I find a lot of creative similarities between the two. My first illustration job was doing a skateboard graphic for my local skate shop before I even knew that it was a possibility to make art for a living. Being an illustrator can be a pretty antisocial job, so skateboarding helps me balance it out by getting me out of the studio and into the world. I’d be a completely different person without all the friends and opportunities that have come from skateboarding.

How does your art challenge you?

It challenges me every day. It’s never easy, and sometimes, there are days where my floor is filled with crumpled up paper and broken pencils. I had to learn how to pretty much run a business on my own. I did no digital illustration in school, so I ended up teaching myself how use Photoshop and a tablet. Now, I do at least half my work digitally and couldn’t work without those tools. But at the end of most days, I’ve made something I’m proud of. Not too many jobs are that satisfying.

What words do you live by?

Make more of what you want to make, don’t worry about everyone else.

Check out more of Dylan Goldberger’s work on his website and on Instagram @dylanjg

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