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An Interview with Robert Lee Jordan, Netherlands

RK : Please Say something about you.

My name is Robert Lee Jordan and I'm a 34-year-old pencil artist from the Netherlands. My passions are my family and my art, and I am crazy about rockmusic. This often translates itself to my drawings as I mainly draw portraits of rock 'n rollstars I admire.

RK : When did you first realize that you really loved drawing? Were there any instances that you can recall in particular that made you choose to concentrate on creating art?

I'm not sure where I got my interest in drawing from, but as a child I would draw all the time. Both my granddads were creative, so I guess I inherited this from them. I never took any lessons and still to this day I find it hard to take the time to learn from tutorials or YouTube videos. I guess I'm pretty stubborn and like to do things my way. It's not the smartest or easiest way to take, but it's just how I am and I don't think it will change any time soon.

I haven't been drawing all my life. As a young teenager my interests changed and I ended up not drawing for almost 20 years. It isn't until recently I started drawing again. I collect autographs from rock 'n roll stars and I found a way to get Rolling Stones' drummer Charlie Watts to sign something. I thought it would be cool to have him sign a drawing, so I drew a simple portrait of Charlie Watts. It was my first serious drawing in 20 years and I have it framed on the wall in my home, signed by Charlie Watts. This was last December and I have been drawing almost daily ever since. This is the reason I always say Charlie Watts gave me back my joy in drawing, and I am very thankful for him for that. In a short time, I have come a quite a long way since that Charlie Watts drawing. Nine months ago I was drawing with pencils and paper from the local toystore and I didn't have a clue what materials I should be using. I drew my first drawings completely with one pencil. When I started doing a little research in what materials I should be using a whole new world opened up for me and it gave me the chance to create exactly what I have envisioned in my mind. I have huge respect for artists who are able to create beautiful art with lesser tools. I realize it's not a given for everyone to be able to purchase fancy pencils and professional tools and it's something I'll never take for granted.

RK : Was there any particular moments that you feel launched your art career for you? Has anybody guided you along your career path as an artist and if so who?

I think my real breakthrough has yet to come. I'm taking it slowly and taking it all one step at a time. I don't really know much people who have similar artistic interests like me, so I can't really say I'm getting much guidance. That's oke though, I beleive in what I am doing and I beleive strongly, hard work will get me where I want to be.

RK : Tell us about your work? What are you currently working on?

I'm trying new things lately. I'm still learning each day. I like to experiment with my drawings. Try new techniques and styles. I mostly draw realistic, but I like to give my drawings a bit of a raw edge sometimes. I don't like to just copy a drawing 1:1 of a photo reference, so I try to make each drawing I make unique. Usually I will have a couple of photos I like and in my mind, I will start shaping the photos in how I want them to be. Then I use Photoshop to visualize the idea I have in my mind and use the resulted creation as a reference for my drawing. I love working this way, because I know every piece I make is unique and I take a lot of pride from that.

RK : What subjects do you mostly like to draw and paint about and why?

At the moment I mainly draw rockstars. I'm crazy about rock 'n roll and I just love drawing these interesting charismatic characters. I'm slowly shifting my interests to other subjects as well. My latest piece is a drawing of Heath Ledger's The Joker. He put down such an iconic part with that role and I really enjoyed translating that into a drawing. My next piece is a Metallica piece I have had in mind for a while now. I don't want to tell too much about it but expect James Hetfield, skulls and metal. It's going to be pretty cool I think!

RK : What is your favourite medium to work in?

Pencil on paper.

RK : Who are some artists you admire?

There are a lot of artists on instagram I admire. There are so many young unknown artists to be found and I love it when I come across their work by a coincidence.

RK : What’s your favorite piece of art that you’ve created?

I would have to say my Chris Cornell tribute drawing and the Metallica drawing I'm working on right now. I got some amazing reactions on the Chris Cornell drawing and many people were moved by it. For an artist, having your work strike an emotional chord is a great compliment.

RK : What goes through your mind while you draw, is there a calm silence, do you listen to music or do you experience doubt, fear or any emotions at all?

I usually draw in the late hours when everyone is asleep. Depending on my mood I'll be listening to the Stones, Pearl Jam, Bowie or Faith No More and I'll be drawing till morning. Almost every drawing I make ends up being a roller coaster of emotions. I start of confident, then I doubt till the point I'm not sure about finishing it and eventually after a lot of work I get it the way I want it to be and I'm usually satisfied. It's probably the reason after I finish a drawing I Always need a few days to recharge myself for my next drawing. I end up using this time to work on my ideas in Photoshop for my next drawings.

RK : Your pieces are incredibly detailed. How long does it take to create a single piece and what is the process like?

I never keep track of the time I spend on my pieces. But if I would have to guess it is probably between 20 till 30 hours.

RK : Tell us about the struggles you have endured as an artist.

I can't really say I'm having any struggles to be honest. I'm taking it slowly and I still have a long way to go for where I want to be, but I'm oke with that. I am working on my style and my work is slowly gaining in popularity which is nice. I would be lying if I said I didn't care about that, because I do. It's always nice to receive recognition for your hard work.

RK : If you were not an artist, what would you rather be?

Marketing has always interested me, but I don't think I could work in an office all day.

RK : What’s one art tip/technique you can share with us that you find really helpful?

If I could give any advice to other artists it would be this: practice the way you look at things. When you draw, really focus on the smallest details. It really is the smallest details that make your work stand out.

RK : We (Retro Kolkata) are trying to make a bridge between National and International Art & Culture By featuring some National & International personalities who already have made their own path in their respective fields and we think your story and tips might help the newcomers to build their career. Please say something about our initiative and any special message for your Indian followers.

Lastly, I would like to thank my Indian followers for all their support. I have never been to India but I can tell from the many arts I have seen online how alive the Indian art is. I foresee a bright future for the Indian art culture and I can therefor only applaud this initiative Retro Kolkata has started.


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